20 Products Our Editors Swear By For Perfectly Air-Dried Hair

If red carpets have taught us anything, it's that leaving the house with wet hair may just be the smartest trend to follow right now. At one star-studded event alone — the MTV Music Video Awards, in case you were wondering — model Ashley Graham and Kim Kardashian both arrived with wet waves. Not only is a just-out-of-the-shower look perfectly en vogue, it also gives way to an even bigger trend: undone, soft, natural texture that screams "too cool to be bothered with an iron."

We can all agree that air-dried hair can be very chic, but it also appeals to the lazy side in all of us — not to mention it gives strands a much-needed break from the toils of constant heat-styling. Moral of the story? Stow those tools, stat!

That being said, not all of us can hop out of the shower expecting lust-worthy locks to materialize. To wit: Our editors each rely on a few clutch products to help us get there. In an effort to convert everyone to the rinse, comb, scrunch-and-go lifestyle, R29 editors are sharing the products that ensure a foolproof air-dry in the slides ahead.

Here's to planning a breakup talk with your blowdryer...

This story was originally published on October 20, 2016.

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"This wave spray is formulated with rice protein (read: not salt) which means it doesn't dry out my hair. After towel-drying, I mist it through my mid-lengths and ends, twisting and scrunching sections as I go. It doesn't make my hair curly, or uniformly wavy by any means, but it gives me the texture and natural-looking bends I wish I'd been born with."

— Mi-Anne Chan, beauty writer
Ouai Wave Spray, $26.00 Buy
"The thick, slightly gummy cream serves a unique purpose, one you might have gleaned from the name: It’s a styling product that you use in the shower, while your hair’s still wet. Just slather it on, rinse off lightly (so that there’s still some product left on the hair), towel-dry, scrunch, and live your life with great texture."

— Rachel Krause, beauty writer

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day In-Shower Styler, $24, available at Sephora
“I only pull out the blow-dryer when I’m running late and can’t leave the house with wet hair, so good air-drying products are of the essence to me. My long, wavy hair loves this putty: After towel-drying, I separate out three sections on both sides of my head, rub a little bit of product between my fingers, and twist each area tightly away from my face. Once my hair is mostly dry, I shake it out and am left with loose, natural-looking waves that are so well-formed, you’d almost think a Beachwaver was involved.”

— Rachel Krause

Fatboy Perfect Putty, $21, available at Fatboy Hair.
"We all know that air-drying is incredibly cool right now — everyone wants to bring out their natural texture, plus, no blow-drying! — but I admit I was skeptical when more and more formulas branded as 'air-drying creams' started crossing my desk. This one, however, is more than a fad.

"I apply a nickel-sized amount to the bottom half of my hair, comb through with a wide-tooth comb, and let my hair dry overnight. My strands are crazy shiny and smooth after — and no tangles!"

— Lexy Lebsack, senior beauty editor
Pureology Hydrate Air Dry Cream, $28.00 Buy
"When I'm too lazy to dry my hair before work, I like to pull it into a low, sleek bun with some gel or a smoothing cream. But what this usually means is that when I take it out, I have slicked-down roots from all the product. Not with this stuff. It smooths my hairline frizz while still leaving my hair soft and manageable. Now, I take out the bun, add a few waves with a curling iron to clean things up, spritz with texturizing spray, and I'm ready to go."

— Cat Quinn, beauty director
Virtue Labs Polish Unfrizz Cream, $40.00 Buy
"I’ve tried a number of curling creams in my two months of embracing my natural hair, but one of my favorites has to be Cantu’s Coconut Curling Cream. My ’fro is thick, and this stuff binds to my hair to sculpt my coils like none other.

"After detangling, I spritz my hair with a leave-in, seal with oil, and coat small sections with the cream before twisting. And instead of sitting underneath the dryer, I’ll keep my twists in for a few days before letting them loose."

— Khalea Underwood, beauty writer

Cantu Coconut Curling Cream, $5.99, available at Target.
"Of all the air-drying products I've ever tried, this one is the best. Hands down. No contest. This deliciously scented balm from Hairstory is lightweight and molds my curls into their most gorgeous versions — no frizz, no fuzz, no fuss.”

— Maria Del Russo, senior sex and relationships writer
Hairstory Dressed Up, $36.00 Buy
"Immediately after I get out of the shower and without combing my hair — and that's important — I spritz this salt spray through my locks. I go to sleep without touching it and awake to soft, not-sticky, beachy waves. I don't fully understand the process, but I respect it. It works every time."

— Cat Quinn
R+Co Rockaway Salt Spray, $25.00 Buy
"My favorite air-dry product is John Frieda Air-Dry Waves Styling Foam. My hair has natural waves and since this formula is super-lightweight, the foam helps bring out my natural texture without the crunch you can get from mousse."

— Kelsey Castanon, beauty news editor
John Frieda Frizz Ease Air-Dry Waves, $9.99 Buy
"Most dry sprays I've tried serve as a dry shampoo, texturizer, and volumizer, and they get all those jobs done well enough, but sometimes you just want one product that does one thing really, really well. This spray's specialty is making your hair look 10x thicker than it really is — that's it. If you want to soak up oil or get cool-girl gritty texture, there are better options out there. If you want hair that looks like you've been OD-ing on biotin for years, get this. I use it every day after my beachwaver and it gives me big blowout waves all day." —Alix Tunell, senior editor

Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast, $29, available at Sephora.
"While I normally veer exclusively towards dry texturizing products, I find that my medium-weight, slightly wavy hair dries best on its own when I give my ends a little hydration while wet. Now, I know that leave-in conditioner can be heavy, but this is lighter than most.

"I simply spray two or three pumps in my hand, diffuse it (tip: pretend it's hand cream and rub it all over your hands), then rake my hands through the bottom half of my wet hair. Then, I just go to bed and wake up with knot-free, smooth strands."

— Lexy Lebsack
"This is a combination I love to use in the warmer months to mimic that perfect beachy wave we all lust over. First, I put about five drops of Uma's hair oil in the palm of my hand and run in through my strands from root to tip. Next, I douse my hair in R+Co's Rockaway Salt Spray. The result is waves that are beachy, but soft (thanks to the oil). Trust me. This is one cocktail you'll keep going back to."

— Maria Del Russo, senior sex and relationships writer
UMA Intensely Nourishing Hair Oil, $70.00 Buy
"The Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment is really amazing. Having one cream that is lightweight, heat-protects, adds gloss, and smooths frizz is almost too good to be true. I squeeze a quarter-size amount into my palm, warm it up in my hands, then run the product from my roots to my ends. It still lets my natural texture come through, but with a controlled movement, so I can go without breaking out hot tools."

— Sam Sasso, beauty editorial assistant
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-In-1 Styling Treatment, $27.00 Buy
"I have what I like to call 'indecisive hair.' It lives somewhere between straight and wavy, often curling in awkward ways toward the ends. That's why I'm obsessed with trying new texturizing, air-dry products — since I hardly ever blowdry my hair. This one from IGK is the best mousse I've ever tried. It's definitely a little stickier than some options on the market, but it has great hold.

"I dispense a dollop of the frothy foam into my hands and work it through the mid-lengths and ends of my hair, scrunching and twisting my strands as I go. Then, I make sure to wait for my hair to completely dry before touching it or lying down. The result? Slightly messy, enhanced waves."

— Mi-Anne Chan, beauty writer
IKG Sunday Funday Texture Foam, $29.00 Buy
"I'm obsessed with this hair oil. My hair tends to go frizzy, and if I lather this stuff on my damp strands post-shower, it dries super smooth, without that annoying halo. Also, I got my roommate hooked on this product, and she actually uses it on her dry hair to add shine — so, it's dual-purpose."

— Megan Decker, beauty production assistant

Verb Ghost Oil, $16, available at Sephora.
"When I can drag myself out of bed, I like to go for a run early in the morning before work. When I get home, super sweaty, I have to take a quick shower, and I usually don't have 20 minutes fuss with a hair dryer — so I head out with wet hair. Before I go, I work two pumps of this serum through my wet strands. It's super lightweight, and helps my thin, wavy hair air-dry with softness and shine."

— Megan Decker, beauty production assistant

Aveda Light Elements Smoothing Fluid, $29, available at Aveda.
"I do not currently own a blowdryer, so I’m all about the air-dry lifestyle and have tried my fair share of products. This one is hands-down my favorite, and it requires very little effort. I just work two pumps through my damp hair, combined with a tiny drop of Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil on particularly humid (and hence, particularly frizzy) hair days and go."

— Caroline Ammarell, content strategy editor

Oribe Matte Waves Texture Lotion, $42, available at Oribe.
"This just might be my favorite hair product — ever! I don't heat style on a daily basis, so this provides the right combination of hold, texture, and bounce that my naturally wavy hair needs while it's air-drying."

— Jen Anderson, editorial assistant

Bumble and bumble Don’t Blow It Thick (H)air Styler, $31, available at Sephora.
"When I'm feeling especially lazy on the weekends, I usually gravitate towards using Redken's No Blow Dry Just Right Cream. The light consistency makes it easy to distribute through my layers, and it leaves my hair feeling touchable and effortlessly styled."

— Jen Anderson, editorial assistant

Redken No Blow Dry Just Right Cream For Medium Hair, $24, available at Ulta Beauty.
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