Whether you want to wear your super-straight locks down, braided, swept up, or curled, you need to start with silky-smooth base of hair…and that means blow drying, most of the time. Salon stylists can usually wash and blow-dry your tresses, but in this economy, that kind of pampering may be best left done only occasionally. You can get the same results at home by following a few surefire guidelines:
Tips #1-4: Prepare Yourself
As always, start with clean, well-conditioned hair, primed with a heat-protecting conditioner or serum. This will keep your strands from getting too hot and starting to fray or frizz, and many formulas also add shine to your final hairstyle. Women with naturally curly or kinky (Type 3c or 4) hair may want to use a blow-drying product that helps straighten locks out in addition to protecting them from heat, like TCB’s Bone Straight lotion. Make sure to comb this product throughout hair, to coat and protect every strand as well as work out any tangles in advance.
Once tresses have been primed, let them air dry a bit, since damp tresses demand less heat than sopping-wet ones, reducing the amount of stress and damage inflicted. You can also wrap locks in a towel to soak up the excess water before applying your heat-protectant.
While hair is air-drying, make sure to gather together all your tools. For those with naturally straighter hair, your simply need a few clips, a round brush (preferably with boar bristles instead of rubber or plastic ones), and your blow dryer. Tighter coils and curls call for a slightly different tool chest: try using a comb or brush attachment that clamps onto your blow dryer, and have a second wide-toothed comb and flat boar-bristle brush on hand along with large clips or ponytail holders.
Make sure to find a well-ventilated space to blow-dry your hair. Increased air flow not only helps your hair dry faster, but also keeps you cool and comfortable and cuts down on humidity in the room, reducing the likelihood of frizz.
Tips #5-7: Work Section by Section
Now you’re ready to get to work! Start by dividing hair into large sections and securing them in place with hair clips or ponytail holders. Part hair down the middle from front to back and ear to ear; you should have four equal sections now. For extra control, you may create six sections by dividing your strands from temple to temple and earlobe to earlobe, as well as front to back.
The next step is to start blow drying these sections. Turn your blow dryer onto its High or Hot setting, as these will take less time to get the job done, and work through each large portion patiently. For best results, divide each big section into smaller ones; always blow dry the amount of hair that will fit on your round brush or comb attachment – no more! Clip the rest of the hair out of the way.
Pointing the nozzle of the blow dryer straight down, pull the section of hair being dried taut – but not too taut – with your brush or comb attachment. Thoroughly dry each strand from root to tip, starting at the back of the head and working your way forward. Finish each section with a blast of cool or cold air to seal out moisture and prevent frizz, as well as to keep your dryer from overheating.
Tip #8: Settle It In
Once you’ve thoroughly dried your whole head, make sure to give it a break. Let all your tresses cool and calm down from all the handling and stress they’ve just experienced, then finish up by brushing and combing hair into its final style. Extra shine or styling products shouldn’t be needed and are not recommended, but if you feel compelled to add them, use a light hand.
And that’s it! Your hair should now be shiny, straight, and blowing in the wind – just ready for whatever other style paces you’ll put it through!
Take care of yourselves,