The Ultimate Blow Dry Tutorial
The Blow Dry Tutorial That Blow Dry Bars Don’t Want You to Know About
The best thing for your hair is to let it dry naturally. But of course, that’s not realistic . . . especially for women with fine hair, most of whom are addicted to the master blaster, with good reason; it’s the ultimate volumizer. If you do blow-dry all the time, at least take a break on the weekend, when you can condition your hair and give it special care. Leave-in conditioners everyday and a deep conditioning treatment or hot oil treatments also help to take the strain off over-processed hair.
To do as little damage as possible, follow these ground rules. If your hair is curly, use a diffuser, which not only helps hold the curl but also diffuses the heat. Also, keep the blower at a low cool setting as much as possible, and hold it four to six inches from your head.
Get the Right Hair Dryer
Not all hair dryers are not created equally. So what makes the grade in my book? The size, the weight and a cool button. A hair dryer that’s light, not too heavy is important. I don’t like hair dryers that are too big. A cool button is important to me . . . you can touch up your look by pumping air back into the hair. A 1,200 to 1,500-watt dryer is powerful enough for most women: if your hair is thick or coarse. You may need 1,700 watts. Experiment with a diffuser or nozzle attachment, I’m addicted to nozzles! They direct the heat when I want to get the hair really straight and smooth, and they don’t ruffle the cuticle.
Buy a Good Hair Brush
I use mostly round brushes on myself, I prefer a Denman brush, which boasts rubber-coated bristles. If I want the hair to be really, really straight, I use the brush at the roots. The rubber grips the hair and allows you to really pull it taut. If you are able to get the first two inches from the roots straight, the rest of the hair will follow. And if you don’t, watch for that mid-morning natural wave to bounce back!
Use a Really Good Volumizing Product
But, take inventory of your hair texture and pick a volumizer that best suits your hair type.
Section Your Hair Off
There’s a reason why stylists section their clients’ hair when blow-drying . . . it provides more control with the brush as well as tension, heat and airflow. Here’s how to achieve smooth, shiny results, just like you get in the salon.
- Divide your head into four quadrants and use large clips to hold each section in place as you blow-dry.
- Hold the brush in your writing hand and the blow dryer in the other on, keeping them about 1/2″ apart.
- Position the dryer parallel to the brush . . . Never put the nozzle directly on the brush, as it will burn the blower motor out, damage the brush’s bristles and burn your hair.
Be Careful Not to Over Dry Your Hair or Style Too Soon
85% is the magic number, over drying can strip your hair of essential moisture, bounce and elasticity. Don’t start styling your hair with a round brush when blow drying until you get about 85% of the moisture out of your hair first, so it’s just damp. One result of over drying hair is a lot of static.
Blow Dry From Roots to Ends
Start by gently blotting your wet hair with a towel. Then, hang your head upside down as you blow dry from roots to ends. Don’t blow into the hair, or you’ll ruffle the hair cuticle. You want to keep your cuticle lying down smoothly. As you are turned upside down, you are giving your hair added volume, and when hair is 85% dry, get out that brush and put some shape in that style.
Dry the Bottom Layers First
Start at the back and dry the under layers first. For straight hair, always direct the blow-dryer down toward the floor: this smooths the hair and prevents frizz. Lean over and blow-dry at the roots to give your hair volume. To add height or volume to the top of your hair, lift the hair from the roots with your fingers (or use your round vent brush or paddle brush) and blow-dry at the roots. For wavy or curly hair, hold the diffuser into the hair (with your head straight up) and work your way around your head, from bottom to top (do not use a brush).
Smooth the Top
When the under layers are dry, use your brush to shape the top layer. Put the bristles against your scalp, turn and lift back small sections of hair, and curl them under until dry.
Curl the Ends
Take your brush and curl the ends under. Brush through and follow with the blow-dryer directed toward your hair. Finish styling with a shot of cold air, which “sets” the style and makes your hair shinier.
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