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Pro Tips for Drying Curly Hair

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Drying your hair is an inevitable step for anyone who gets their curly hair wet. Let’s talk about two primary techniques for drying curly hair: air drying and diffusing. I’m here to share some game-changing tips on drying your curly hair in surprising ways to minimize frizz!
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An Introduction to Air Drying and Diffusing

Air drying is simply letting your hair dry naturally, while diffusing involves using a tool like a hair dryer with a diffuser attachment or other accessories to speed up your drying process.

In this blog post, I will explore the advantages and disadvantages of these two techniques. Additionally, I will share my specific drying routine, which you may find intriguing as every blogger has a unique approach to drying their hair.

To illustrate this, I will compare how other popular bloggers dry their hair. There are no rules here, just explore some of these options because ultimately how you decide to dry your curly hair depends entirely on your personal preference!

Air Drying: Tips & Benefits

Let’s first talk about air drying. While it may take a bit longer, air-drying curly hair is perfect for those with coarse, thick textures like mine, or for individuals with bleached or extensively color-treated hair who’s goal is to maximize moisture in their routine. Here’s a fun fact: since water adds moisture, air-drying will help you moisturize your hair.

Air drying can be gentler on your curls, minimizing heat damage and preserving moisture. The steps you take before drying your hair greatly impact the final outcome. To achieve smoother, frizz-free results and reduce drying time, consider implementing the following techniques:

  1. Plopping: If air drying takes too long for you especially after styling your hair, then try plopping your hair into a microfiber towel to remove excess water. Learn more on plopping in this article.
  2. Micro-plopping: If you don’t have time to plop your hair or if it leads to scalp issues or increased frizz, consider using the micro-plopping method. This technique involves gently squeezing out excess water with a microfiber towel. I use the one from Manetain (promo code: HONESTLIZ)
  3. Product Application: Apply your products to damp hair to reduce water weight immediately.
  4. Timing: Allow your hair to air dry for a minimum of 15 minutes before using a tool to let the products settle in.
  5. Positioning: Sit or lie near a ceiling fan for 15 minutes; change positions every five minutes to boost volume.
  6. Heat Protection: Remember to spray on a Heat Protectant Spray even if you are air drying – especially if you have the habit of air drying in the sun! I use one from Only Curls London (promo code: HONESTLIZ)
  7. Root Clipping: For more volume, use salon clips to lift roots while air drying to avoid flat-root issues.

The Best Time to Air Dry Curly Hair

Air drying your hair when going product-free can be a refreshing change that benefits the health of your hair. Going for air drying 1-2x a month not only saves time but can also minimize damage to your hair.

Extremely bleached, color-treated, or heat damaged hair may find air drying hydrating. This is because water is moisturizing and the more it stays on your hair, higher chances it’s moisturizing your hair!

This is why we use styling products so that after the water evaporates, the products continue to moisturize and protect your hair.

Is Air Drying Damaging to Hair?

Research has shown that prolonged air drying can actually harm hair health. Specifically, the study reveals that air drying can cause more damage to the hair’s interior, whereas using high heat on a dryer can damage the outer layer of your hair. The study concludes that diffusing from a distance is a better option to minimize hair damage. [source]

How to Diffuse Your Hair

If you find yourself without a ceiling or table fan, and the dryer-diffuser is your only option, don’t worry. This clever tool can be a game-changer for curly hair, helping to speed up drying time while enhancing your natural curl pattern. But it’s not as simple as just blasting hot air at your hair. Avoid diffusing wet dripping hair right away to minimize frizz. The key is to use low heat and low speed settings to avoid frizz and maintain definition.

Hover Diffusing

Begin by hovering the diffuser around your hair to simulate the air drying process. This method can help you achieve more definition. While ManesbyMell swears by this technique, I do not find it productive at all times. This is time consuming for my thick coarse hair. If you have lower density hair or finer texture then hover diffusing can be a quick process for you.

Direct Diffusing

Many girls believe that diffusing hair consumes more time than air drying, but the opposite is actually the case. My curl friend Victoria uses a diffuser and dries her hair completely within 5-7minutes! This is when you use a dryer with a cup-like attachments. This is called the diffuser. You cup a section of your hair inside the diffuser and dry your hair in up and down motion. I find this technique labor-intensive for my thick hair. That’s why I prefer hands-free diffusing above all other methods.

Hands-Free Diffusing

Not only does hands-free diffusing with a hooded dryer attachment save you time, but it also allows you to multitask while your hair dries effortlessly. This method is not only convenient but also ensures even heat distribution, resulting in beautifully defined curls with minimal effort! Here are two options for this attachment:

  1. Hooded Dryer (plastic) – Buy from Amazon
  2. Satin Diffusing Cap – Buy from Soulta Global (use code: HONESTLIZ and get disocunt!)

My Drying Process

  1. After micro-plopping and removing excess water,
  2. I plop into the hooded dryer attachment and let my hair and scalp dry first. High speed and medium heat. Sometimes I go all the way to get easy drying, more length in my hair.
  3. Sometimes when I want my curls to look tighter, I diffuse directly for 5minutes in the end.

Sometimes I rotate between this and air drying or diffusing directly. Direct diffusing creates tighter curls. Either way, remember to use a heat protection spray before drying and always keep the dryer moving to prevent overheating any one section of hair. I recommend two:

  1. Cantu Heat Protection Spray (protein-free) – Buy on Amazon
  2. Only Curls London Heat Protection Spray (protein) – Buy in UK use code: HONESTLIZ

So, whether you’re a diffusing diva or an air-drying aficionado, remember to listen to your curls and find what works best for you. And if you’re ready to dive deeper into the world of curly hair care, check out my online curly hair mastery course for everything you need to know to improve your curly routine today.

Thank you for reading & watching!

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