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."
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.
"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
"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, senior beauty writer
Perfect Hair Day In-Shower Styler, $24, available at
“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
Perfect Putty, $21, available at
"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
Hydrate Air Dry Cream,
"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
Polish Unfrizz Cream,
"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
Coconut Curling Cream, $5.99, available at
"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
Rockaway Salt Spray,
"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, senior beauty writer
Frizz Ease Air-Dry Waves,
"The Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment is really amazing. Having
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 writer
Perfect Hair Day 5-In-1 Styling Treatment,
"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
Sunday Funday Texture Foam,
"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
Ghost Oil, $16, available at
"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
Light Elements Smoothing Fluid, $29, available at
"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, lifestyle writer
Bumble and bumble
Don’t Blow It Thick (H)air Styler, $31, available at
"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, lifestyle writer
No Blow Dry Just Right Cream For Medium Hair, $24, available at
"Jen Atkin is already the patron saint of cool-girl waves that, while seemingly effortless, are most definitely styled to perfection. With this new air-dry product, though, she's helping the non-Kardashians among us nail the look without her expert touch — or so much as a blowdryer, for that matter. This weightless foam is perfect for enhancing natural waves and curls without turning to heat tools, and like all things Ouai, it smells downright dreamy, too."
— Rachel Krause
Air Dry Foam,