Here's How to Safely Blow-Dry Your Hair
We all know that heat styling can take a toll on our hair, and this includes blow-drying. While air-drying saves our strands from being subjected to heat, it can take a while for our hair to completely dry, leaving our scalps damp for longer and susceptible to irritation and fungal and bacterial growth. The best way to dry your hair without damaging it is to do a little bit of both: Air-dry your hair briefly and follow up with a quality blow-dryer.
So, what are the healthiest steps for blow-drying your hair? How do we actually minimize any damage? We dug into the best ways to dry your hair without damaging it and compiled a list of products and techniques to help you dry your hair safely. Read on to learn how to blow-dry your hair safely and prevent heat damage!
How to Prep Your Hair for Everyday Blow-Drying
Prepping your hair before a blow-dry is crucial for drying your hair without damaging it. And this starts the moment you step into the shower. Choosing a shampoo and conditioner suited to your hair’s needs is key to ensuring you’re setting your strands up for success. Once out of the shower, use a soft microfiber towel to absorb excess water in your hair—no vigorous drying or rubbing your hair in the towel! Roughly drying your tresses can cause frizz, breakage and flyaways.
Next, comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb and apply any post-wash styling and leave-in conditioning products like gels, oils and creams. Let your hair partially air-dry to help reduce the time your hair is exposed to heat drying. When your hair is approximately 25% dry, it's time to add a heat protectant as your final prep before blow-drying! We love our No Remorse Heat Protection & Taming Spray because it does double-duty as a frizz tamer and a heat protectant, using nourishing vitamin E and avocado oil to smooth and protect hair up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit!
Once you've partially dried your freshly-washed locks and applied your styling products (including a heat protectant!), you're ready to start blow-drying!
Ceramic vs Ionic Hair Dryers: What's the Healthiest Way to Dry Hair?
When it comes to blow-dryers, the best choice will depend on your hair texture and hair concerns. Two of the most common options are ceramic and ionic dryers. Before we dig into which option might be best for you, remember that you will want to use one of two attachments: a diffuser or a concentrator nozzle.
If you have curly locks, a blow-dryer with a diffuser attachment will help curls stay bouncy, defined and frizz-free. Diffusers help spread the hot hair from the blow-dryer over a wider area to prevent direct blasts of air that can disrupt your natural curl pattern and cause frizz and flyaways. Diffusers are wide and often rounded, so you can scoop your damp curls onto the attachment and dry your hair by gently pressing the dryer upward. This technique helps shape and define your curls without causing limp, frizzy curls.
Concentrator Nozzle Attachments
If you have straight or wavy hair, a blow-dryer with a concentrator nozzle attachment will help your tresses look glossy and vibrant. The flat vent on these nozzle attachments concentrates the dryer's airflow in one area and direction, allowing you more control. This concentrated, angled airflow helps prevent frizz and static and supports smooth, manageable hair.
So, should you choose an ionic or ceramic hair dryer? The answer depends on your specific hair texture and concerns, so let's dig into how both types of blow-dryers work, plus their pros and cons:
Ionic Hair Dryers
These dryers are charged with millions of negative ions that neutralize the positively charged water molecules on your hair, which helps fight frizz and hair static. Ionic hair dryers are great for smoothing frizz and taming thick, unruly locks. They also help your hair dry faster because of their impact on water molecules, so if you blow-dry your hair every day, the shorter drying time means you'll expose your hair to less heat! But if your hair is oily or tends to fall flat, an ionic hair dryer won't give you the same lift as a ceramic dryer.
Ceramic Hair Dryers
These dryers also emit a tiny amount of negative ions, but they are minimal compared to ionic dryers—so if frizz control is your primary concern, you might want to go the ionic route. Ceramic blow-dryers, however, work well for all hair types and textures, and their ceramic coating helps more evenly distribute heat to your hair, which is important for delicate, aging hair. These dryers are perfect for fine or thin locks that might fall flat with an ionic dryer—ceramic blow-dryers help retain lift and movement without sacrificing sleekness.
The Best Ways to Blow-Dry Your Hair Without Damaging It
1. Split Your Hair into Sections
Blow-drying your hair in sections helps you control the direction of the heat and its angle on your locks. In addition to helping you keep track of the strands you’ve already dried, it can also help to prevent strands from getting all tangled during the drying process. Where you start drying first—the underneath sections or at the front of your head at your hairline—is subject to personal preference and the technique that works best for you. How many sections your hair will need depends on the length and thickness of your hair, but 5 or 6 sections should work for most blow-drying sessions!
2. Keep the Heat on Medium
Medium heat is hot enough to smooth and style your locks without scorching them. Low heat prolongs drying time and can lead to frizz and flyaways. Always apply a heat protectant like No Remorse, no matter the heat setting, because research shows that heat damage and bubble hair can happen at standard heat levels on blow-dryers, curling irons and flat irons!
3. Dry from Root to Tip to Seal Cuticles
When we were young, many of us were taught to flip our heads upside down and blow-dry to get volume. While this technique may work well with curly hair that’s being gently dried with a diffuser (especially since curls can easily fall victim to the loosening effects of gravity), if you’re using a flat nozzle, this technique will surely cause frizz without adding volume and body that lasts.
To prevent lifted, rough cuticles, dry your hair starting at the root and working down the hair shaft. You can use a boar bristle brush, a wet brush, comb or even your fingers to gently pull your hair taut while angling the blow-dryer down your hair, moving one section at a time. Be sure to keep the blow-dryer about 5 inches away from your hair and gradually reduce the heat—from medium to low to cool—as you work through the drying process.
Pro tip: Aim the blow-dryer at your roots while lifting your hair for an added boost of volume. The angle of the heat creates lift at the root and prevents the flatness caused by pulling your hair in a downward motion as you dry it. (Think about how your stylist gently pulls your strands up and away from your scalp when blow-drying—you want the same effect here!)
Try adding a volumizing hair thickener like our Lift Me Up Hair Thickener to add body and lift as you blow-dry. This lightweight spray wraps around thin hair strands, lifting hair at the roots and nourishing the scalp and follicles for healthier- and thicker-looking hair instantly and over time!
4. Avoid Over-Drying
Once your hair feels dry to the touch, it's time to turn off the blow-dryer. Over-drying your hair (especially on high heat!) can lead to damage, breakage and frizz. At the end of your blow-dry, switch your dryer to its cold air setting to quickly cool down your hair to lock in the style. Once your style is set, spritz on a light-hold hairspray or setting spray, and that's a wrap on your gorgeous, no-damage blow-dry!
Pro tip: If you've got freshly-dried curls, try adding a curl enhancer like our License to Curl: Curl Revival Boost Spray at the end of your blow-dry! This lightweight spray helps refresh, redefine and revive curls between washes and provides up to 24 hours of definition and frizz control!
Tell Us: Do you have a favorite way to blow dry your hair without damaging it? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!
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Better Not Younger has all the products you need—from heat protectors to frizz fighters to volumizing hair thickeners—to get a gorgeous, damage-free blowout every time! Plus, we share our favorite tips and tricks along the way, including the best ways to blow dry your hair without damaging it. Let us help you achieve your healthiest, most vibrant hair yet! Reach out to us on Facebook and Instagram, or keep reading our blog for more hair-care info!