If you've ever looked at someone who always has a fresh blowout and thought, "Damn, how do they do that?" you're not alone! A lot of people don’t actually know how to blow dry their own hair and reserve the experience exclusively for the salon.
Sure, doing it yourself seems straightforward enough. You pick up a hairdryer, turn it on full blast and fluff it around your head until your hair is pretty much dry, right? No? And while that is the general gist, there are actually a few more steps (and styling tricks) if you're looking for a salon-quality finish at home.
As two people who have never really learnt to blow dry their hair properly, both myself and fellow writer Bianca, decided to enlist the help of Dyson Ambassador and Hair Stylist Renya Xydis, who walked us through the process of how to blow-dry both straight and curly hair.
Before we get started, Renya explains the two cardinal rules for anyone who plans on regularly blow-drying their hair:
1. Invest in a good hairdryer
While hairdryers might be on the more expensive side when it comes to beauty tools, they're absolutely worth it if you plan on blow-drying your hair regularly. "A good hair dryer can make all the difference," swears Renya. "You want a hairdryer that’s going to minimise heat damage to your hair and get the job done quickly, like the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer."
2. Always prep the hair
To get the most out of your blow-dry, you’re going to need to prep the hair correctly. This starts when you first jump out of the shower for both curly and straight hair.
For straight hair:
You’re going to towel dry your hair to soak up most of the moisture before applying a small amount of product. You can use a serum, balm, mousse or cream — whatever works best for your hair.
For curly hair:
Prepping the hair is slightly different for curly hair, Renya explains. “Fresh out of the shower, you’re going to want to dry off any excess moisture in your hair and put a little extra conditioner, balm, serum or mousse just through the ends to give your curls more weight. No touching the roots just yet.” For curls in particular, “you're going to what to separate it into one-to-three inch sections. Then, starting from the front (because it dries the fastest), you’re going to want to shape your curls by twirling them around your fingers, holding and releasing them. When you release them, be sure to stretch them down to avoid additional frizz.” Renya recommends doing this for your whole head, especially where you find thicker, chunkier curls.
How To Blow Dry Straight Hair
1. Start blow-drying without a brush
First, you’re going to want to get your hair as dry as possible without using a brush, explains Renya. “Once you’ve sectioned the hair, take your hairdryer (without a nozzle), and blast each section of the hair, working from front to back until you start to feel it dry.”
Depending on what kind of look you’re going for, the technique you use while blow-drying your hair will change, explains Renya.
“If you want the hair to have volume and body, use your fingers at the roots to separate the hair and let the air move in an upward direction through the roots. And if you want your hair straight and slicked down, angle the hairdryer in a downwards direction coming from the top of the head to help sort of flattening it while you dry it.” Work your way around the head until your hair starts to feel reasonably dry.
2. Now add a brush
Grab your preferred brush and start blow-drying it in the same downwards motion, says Renya. “I’d recommend using a bigger paddle brush for a smooth, straight look.”
When you think you’re just about done, give your hair a blast with cold air to lock it in place. Renya recommends finishing off this part of the blow dry by adding your prefered serum, cream or hairspray through the ends.
3. Finishing the look
If you've got one, here’s where the new Dyson flyaway attachment comes in to give hair that sleekness and shine that you can’t get from a regular blow-dry, explains Renya.
“There are two ways to use the attachment, depending on how much time you have. The first is to you just look at your hair in the mirror, and you go, “Oh, it's really frizzy, mid-lengths," so you do the middle. “Oh, it's frizzy at the root,” so you just do the roots. And the same goes for the ends, so you don't have to go through your entire head.
“If you have the time and you want to go from root to tip, you simply start at the roots and then glide it down the head towards the ends and work your way around your head.”
We ask Bianca, our writer who swears she’s never been any good at blow-drying her hair, to follow the above how-to and see if she could finally master a sleek blowout by herself.
“I’ve never been great at blow-drying (or blow waving) my hair. Growing up with thick, slightly wavy and long hair, it was a luxury I reserved for hairdresser appointments only, letting my hair dry naturally and enduring plenty of nights sleep with a wet mop. I really never liked how frizzy my hair got after blow-drying, and usually, this made the whole ordeal of styling it or straightening more strenuous than it had to be.
My usual hair routine involves washing it, placing a little product in, letting it dry out and then straightening it. I know for a fact that years of using a straightener daily has definitely impacted the health of my strands - however, after learning how to blow dry my hair properly, I will happily put the straightener to bed.
After washing my hair, I patted it dry with a towel, wrung it out and used the Dyson (without any attachments) to dry it off for about 5 minutes. The temperature control was simply sublime - it didn’t feel overheated at all. I separated my hair into four sections, the flyaway attachment and in a downward motion went over the hair strand to get the desired smooth, shiny finish I was after. I generally like the way my hair looks a day or two after the wash and straighten, but using the Dyson gave it that sleek-but-not-too sleek look with a little more personality (especially when it’s shorter - lockdown RIP). It also cut the process in half. My hair was straight and styled within 20 minutes, which has genuinely never happened before. It also didn’t require using a brush — separating hair strands with my fingers worked perfectly well for the look I was going for.
How To Blow Dry Curly Hair
1. Grab your diffuser, but don’t flip your hair upside down yet
When it comes to curly hair, you never want to blow dry it back and forth, explains Renya, because this will only make it go frizzy. “You want to keep it in its form. The best way to do this is to find your natural part and then work your way around the head using the diffuser but just tilting your head.”
Whichever side you’re tilting to, you’re going to use the diffuser to cup your curls, making sure that you lift them upwards to your roots. “While diffusing, you’re going to utilise the hot and cold button, so you let it go hot, and you cool it down for each section,” recommends Renya. You keep repeating this process for each section until your hair is at least 40-50% dry.
Repeat the process on the other side and then the back of your hair. When it comes to drying the back of your hair, you’re going to sort of lean back over your shoulder and diffuse it that way.
2. Now, flip it and reverse it
“Once you’ve reached 40-50% dry all over, you gently tilt your head upside down and dry it another 10-15% before letting it dry naturally,” says Renya. “You can always add a little bit of serum to the end post-blow dry to help re-coil your hair and give it that beautiful glossy shine.”
Now it was time to see if Bree, our writer and resident curly-haired girl (Hi, me!), could wrangle a diffuser following the above how-to guide.
"I’ve never really picked up a blow-dryer before in my life! I always went to school with wet hair and still come into the office (pre-WFH) with wet hair. I’ve never liked the way hairdressers blowdried because it always went so unbelievably fluffy. That's why I’ve spent most of my life just avoiding hair dryers. Funnily, this little tutorial has changed all that."
"I decided to put the Dyson Supersonic to the test after freshly washing my hair. That’s typically when it’s at its fluffiest, and I'm not too fond of the way it curls until it gets dirty again. Before reading Renya’s step by step guide, I honestly just assumed blow-drying my hair would be a simple case of flipping my head over, turning the thing on full blast and shimmying it around my head (diffuser who?). Well, I found the diffuser to be an absolute gamechanger. It dried my hair surprisingly quickly and didn’t separate my curls like I thought it would when I used that scrunching motion by bringing the curl up to the root."
"The only tricky part was doing the back of my head. That took some real gymnastics. But if you use the over the shoulder trick and lean into it, I imagine it would get easier to do over time (and feel more natural).
Overall, I found the Dyson a breeze to use, and it didn’t make my curls go fluffy. That said, I still love the way my curls air dry, so I would probably reserve the diffuser for when I’m in a real rush and don’t want to leave the house with wringing wet hair — and definitely in winter!
Considering we've both always struggled to blow dry our hair, I'd say that both myself and Bianca had pretty successful first attempts using the above methods for our respective hair types. As with all good things, practice makes perfect. Why not give it a crack yourself?