Yes, You Can Air-Dry Your Hair In Cold Weather

Photographed by Winnie Au.
Thanks to our obsession with model-off-duty hair, plenty of us have started to both embrace our natural textures and air-dry our hair. All summer long, we reveled in our ability to wake up an hour later than usual, roll out of bed, and step out the door without so much as glancing at a hot tool. But now that winter is upon us, you may be wondering: Can I still air-dry or will I be forced to lose precious sleep due to my necessary blowdry jail sentence?

Well, don't you worry. Air-drying in the winter is harder, but it's definitely doable. We chatted with two pros to figure out how to keep your strands looking fly when it's cold out — without blasting them with heat.

Just two things to keep in mind. First, air-drying in the winter is preferably a do-it-while-you-sleep activity. Meaning, if you simply transition your hair routine from a.m. to p.m., you're less likely to inflict damage on your hair (or risk it freezing). Second, a microfiber towel is going to be your new BFF. It's perfect for blotting moisture out of any hair type without wrecking its texture.

Cool with all that? Then, onward! Winter-approved, lazy-girl hair awaits.
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"The big problem with curly hair is that the more you touch it, the frizzier it gets," says Bumble and Bumble stylist Alisha "Roz" Murray. Depending on how frizzy your hair tends to get, there are two ways to air-dry. If you don't mind a little fuzz, or your strands seem to be impervious to pouf, you may choose to twist it up. In that case, Mia Santiago, a hairstylist at Sally Hershberger, suggests the brand's Curvaceous curl cream. "It moisturizes your curls without leaving them crunchy," she says.

Apply from root to tip, twist, and then plop a scarf or a hat on your head to fight the elements.

Sally Hershberger Curvaceous Curl Cream, $13.55, available at
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If your hair does tend to frizz, Murray suggests blotting out as much moisture as possible with your handy-dandy microfiber towel and spraying in an oil. "They're great, because they don't require you to muss with your hair too much," Murray says. "You're just misting it in."

She suggests giving your hair a healthy spritz and then forgoing a hat. Instead, reach for a big scarf or a high-collared coat to protect yourself from the elements. "Wrap it around your head to keep your hair in place without over-manipulating it or matting it down," she says.

Moroccanoil Frizz Control, $36, available at Moroccanoil.
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The chilly air can suck a ton of moisture from your dryness-prone strands,
so try a leave-in hair milk for protection from the wintery elements. SheaMoisture's Curl & Style Milk stocks (you guessed it) coconut oil and shea butter — to moisturize and nourish your hair — along with silk proteins to detangle and define curls. Just scrunch some onto towel-dried hair before you head out the door and get ready for a great hair day.

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk, $10.99, available at SheaMoisture
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Want your hair to actually dry as straight as possible? Santiago says to spray this stuff in as a primer. "It will help cut frizz and allow for a smoother dry," she says. Avoid hats or anything that could muss your strands while they're in drying mode. But if you do find your hair has gotten out of place, Santiago says to brush it periodically as it's drying. "It will help keep it straight," she says.

Sally Hershberger Kertain RX, available in-salon only.
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Murray is a fan of embracing the subtle bends. "Tucking your hair behind your ears [as its drying] will give you that cool, model-off-duty bend," she says.

If you're looking to pull your hair up for a slight wave, her one piece of advice is to reach for hair ties that aren't elastic. "They'll leave dents in the hair that won't go with the rest of the texture," she explains. These coil hair bands are perfect for just that.

Kodo Hair Bobble Pack of Three, $4, available at Amazon.
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Once your hair is dry, you want to spritz on something that's going to cut down on flyaways, says Murray. She suggests this anti-humidity spray from Living Proof. "Anything that's going to add a little weight to your hair is helpful," she says.

Living Proof No Frizz Humidity Shield, $22, available at Sephora.
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Thick hair is actually the hardest to air-dry in the cold. Why? Because there's so much of it to get through. So, Santiago says to reach for lightweight serums to work through your hair — you don't want anything too heavy, which will slow down dry time significantly. "Sectioning your hair is going to be key," Santiago says.

There are a few things you could do here: If you air-dry before bed, you can pigtail your strands and then wrap those sections in a microfiber towel. "You can also sleep with a loose braid or a loose bun on top of your head for volume," Santiago says. "But make sure it's actually loose — the air needs to get through."

Garrett Markenson Milk Anti-Frizz Leave-In Nourishing Treatment, $42, available at Reverie.
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But what if you don't want to air-dry before bed? Santiago says the trick is to loosen it up with a wide-tooth comb: "It opens up the hair to allow air to penetrate it," she says. Just make sure to bundle up before you head out into the cold and that you're getting as much moisture out as possible beforehand.

Sephora Collection Tidy: Detangling Comb, $8, available at Sephora.
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"If you're someone who has thick hair that becomes puffy, you'll want to use something like Bumble and Bumble's Don't Blow It," she says. It's a lightweight cream that doesn't add too much mass, but helps add definition to the hair. Since your hair is thick, you can then twist it into a bun, braid, or whatever to give extra texture.

Bumble and Bumble Don't Blow It, $30, available at Bumble and Bumble.
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As it's drying, you can also work a styling cream, like R+Co's Mannequin, into your hair. "It's a mix of a paste and a cream, so it helps you manipulate your hair into the style you want," Murray says.

R+Co Mannequin Styling Paste, $28, available at Birchbox.
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While air-drying is a good option for normal-to-thick textures, Murray says its the worst thing you could do for fine hair. "All you're doing is matting it against your head," she says. So, you need to work in a thickening product. "Your best friend is going to be anything that adds weight and texture." She suggests using a lightweight mousse. "It can add lift and volume, but it can also add a thickness to the hair," she says.

Shu Uemura Ample Angora Mousse, $39, available at Shu Uemura.
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When it's dry, Murray suggests misting in a texturizing spray. Typically, this type of product would be used alongside your blow dryer, but can do the trick sans heat. "Drier-texture products are better for thin hair," she says.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, $42, available at Birchbox.
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