DIY Blow Dry

Tuesday, May 25, 2010
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The one comment I hear from clients more than any other is that they don't know how to round brush blow dry their own hair. There really is no "right" way but I thought I'd share how I do it. First, here are a few  tips:

  • It helps to understand how it works. Water and heat both break chemical bonds in your hair and the object is to force the bonds to reform in a new pattern. When you are blow drying, you need two things to accomplish this: heat and tension. If your hair is pretty well-behaved, you may be able to get enough tension from just your fingers. If your hair is coarse, thick, curly, or full of strong growth patterns (cowlicks, whirls...) then you may need something with more grip, like a boar bristle brush. The bonds have not completely reformed until your hair is completely dry and cooled, so it's helpful to hit it with a the cold shot button when your done.
  • The bigger the barrel of your round brush, the more volume you can achieve. Additionally, you will also boost volume if you elevate the hair while you are drying. In other words, if you don't want volume, pull the brush straight down towards the floor. If you want more volume, lift it up toward the ceiling. It also helps to make a "C" shape with your brush hand -- the bigger the "C" the more volume. (Remember, the bonds are still reforming until the hair cools, so if you like volume, let your hair cool down while it's elevated by hitting it with your cold button.)
  • Boar bristles and ceramic brushes are both great for smoothing the hair and imparting shine. I prefer to use a combination boar bristle and plastic bristle brush because 100% boar bristle brushes provide too much tension for me.
  • Always keep the nozzle of your dryer pointed down the shaft of your hair. Blow drying toward your scalp will rough up the cuticle (outer layer) and leave your hair looking dull.
  • Products! I like something with some heat protection like Loreal Professional Force Vector, Kerastase Ciment Thermique, and Paul Mitchell Quick Slip.  If your hair needs to be straightened and tamed, try Loreal Professional Smooth Velours, S Factor Seriously Straight, or Redken Align. If your looking for volume, use a light mousse like Loreal Professional Expansion Body or Kerastase Volumactive for fine hair or a root-lifter like Catwalk Root Boost or MOP Lemongrass Lift for medium to coarse hair.
  • If your arms get tired, alternate blow drying with other tasks you need to get done. Blow dry a section, then brush your teeth. Blow dry another section, then put your contacts in. It's ok to let your arms rest a little.

OK, let's do this thing.

1. After washing, apply the styling products of your choice.

2. Blow dry your bangs first. They dry the fastest and once they are dry, they can be hard to reshape.

3. Shake dry the rest of your hair until it's almost dry, about 90% dry.

4. Section off about 2 to 3 inches at the nape. If your hair is coarse, curly, or thick, make the section smaller.

5. Blow dry being sure your nozzle is pointing down the shaft. I find that it helps to turn the concentrator nozzle so that it's perpendicular to the handle. Elevate as much as desired.

6. Keep sectioning and drying, working your way up.

7. When you get to the top, blow dry the remaining sections straight up or straight back.

8. Apply little finishing product to tame flyaways and add a little shine. You're done!

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5 Responses

  1. Very cool. Looks great!

    How long do you think that takes? I’m kinda fascinated by it all.

  2. when people say they can’t do a blowout they mean they don’t want to spend the time. the truth.

    michael seales
  3. Liz – maybe 10 to 15 mins? But I don’t have a lot of hair and it’s pretty straight to begin with. Sometimes it can take me up to a half hour to dry someone’s hair if it’s super thick and curly.

    Absolutely, Michael. I totally agree! I used to be one of those people who said that and in part it was laziness but I also truly had no idea how to go about it. This kind of instruction is periodically in just about every woman’s magazine but I just never took the time to do it. It feels really awkward at first and I never knew to rough shake dry it first so my arms would KILL me. Now I could do it in my sleep. I wish more people would take the time because I know from personal experience that it quickly gets easier.

  4. @Michael – no, I really am just all thumbs, but this page’s, step by step makes it very clear what I need to do – yes it took a lot of time & I wasn’t getting results – but I understand now the sectioning (which I wasn’t doing) blowing down rather than up (I’m frizzy – makes sense). I never thought of taking breaks. I’m not lazy – just an accoutant & a tomboy who’s never done anything more than flip her ends under with a 1.5″ curling iron. My hair dresser said the same thing – while you have to take the time – that’s fine if You’re getting results – hopefully these tricks will pay off – excited to try tomorrow!

    Tara houser
  5. […] round brushing your hair but it’s surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it. Check out my tutorial to […]

  6. I have been looking for weeks for a 16 mm hot air dryer as I have very short hair. I also wanted one with natural bristles. As they gripp the hair better as I am quite elderly .I have now bought three different types and although they say they are for short hair the barrels are to big. I have searched through several websites but cannot find one anywhere. I bought a Babyliss one but it has the plastic teeth and do not grip the hair I thought I might find some information on your website but looking at the pictures they all appear to be for long hair. Can you help please as I am in despair and ending up with a lot of dryers that I cannot use


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