No Hair Diffuser? No Problem! 5 Alternatives To Use Instead

If you're a curly girl, you know how challenging it is to keep that mane looking fresh and frizz-free. Many curly-haired babes swear by hair diffusers to dry curly hair, leaving those curls looking their best. If you didn't already know, hair diffusers work by diffusing the air — that is, distributing the air to more of your hair rather than the blow dryer's normal funneling of air onto one central spot —from the dryer to leave you with a frizz-free blow dry. But we don't all always have a diffuser handy. Not to mention, a trip to the salon isn't easy on the pocket. So what do you do then? 


Whether you're air-drying your hair or using unconventional tools like a pasta strainer, there are a few tips that will help to preserve your hair's natural curl pattern, doing the diffuser's job for you. Though diffusers and their alternatives work the best on natural curls, they can be used on any texture to bring the best out of the hair. 

Regardless of which tip you go with, it's important that your curly hair is washed the right way. Make sure you are using a shampoo and conditioner designed and purpose-built for curly hair. Also, if you can use lukewarm or room temperature water to wash rather than scalding hot water, your hair will thank you. These simple yet effective haircare basics will ensure that your locks are primed to curl at their best, with or without a diffuser.


The plopping technique

Hair plopping is another excellent, underrated technique for when you don't have a diffuser handy. This technique also uses no heat, so your hair won't suffer heat damage, and it is a great everyday choice. However, plopping your curly hair requires a microfiber towel. If you can't find one, a regular cotton piece of cloth like a T-shirt could work, too. You'll want to avoid a regular towel because they often have a texture that is too hard on your curls and will strip them of the moisture that needs to be preserved.


To "plop" your hair, make sure you put your preferred styling product in it and scrunch it after you've rinsed it. This will ensure your curls are hydrated and ready to be styled. Lay your drying cloth on a flat surface, and in one swift motion, while bending over towards your drying cloth, wrap your curls in the middle of it. Make sure you don't twist or pull on your hair in the process. Your goal is to wrap the cloth around it, preserving the natural plop as best as possible. Leave it to dry, then gently remove the cloth and enjoy those beautiful, bouncy curls!

Braids can give you easy curls with no fancy tools needed

Overnight braiding is another great technique for beautiful curls, and you can wake up with defined, perfect tresses if you use this technique correctly. The easiest way is to braid your hair into pigtails, parting it down the middle before you hop in bed. In fact, your hair doesn't even have to be wet for this to work! Alternatively, if you want tighter curls or have more hair to work with, boxer braids might be what works for you.


You can also use techniques for beautiful curls that require you to dampen your hair beforehand. Dampening hair before sleeping with braids will result in tighter curls that last longer and have a more defined curl pattern.

Braids aren't the only hairstyle that will have you waking up to great curls. If you're a curly girl, put your hair up in a pineapple up-do before bed to wake up to defined curls. 

The strainer method

Another unorthodox method that really works, strangely enough, involves a common household item: a pasta strainer. A sieve or sift also works. All you have to do is put your hair in the strainer before drying it using a regular hair dryer from the outside. This is easiest when you flip your hair upside down, otherwise your strands will fall out of the strainer before it can work its magic. 


The mesh will help recreate how a diffuser works, leaving you with beautifully dried luscious curls. Make sure you use the lowest heat setting on your dryer and if possible, put heat protectant in your hair prior to the drying. This will ensure your hair stays protected from the heat, avoiding at least some if not all the heat damage. 

Yes, using a kitchen tool to dry your hair does sound a bit kooky, but we promise it works. 

Air-dry your hair without disturbing the curl pattern

It sounds too good to be true, but one of the best methods to dry your curly hair is to simply let it air-dry on its own without disturbing the curl pattern. However, for this method, you have to have plenty of time on your hands. To dry your hair right out of the shower, you can use a cotton T-shirt or a microfibre towel, gently squeezing out the excess water. Afterwards, follow up with your regular styling products if you use any, and then leave it to dry and let the magic work itself. Resist the temptation to braid it, scrunch it, or comb it while it's drying.


To eliminate the knots, make sure to comb it when it's still wet. Although most hair gurus will advise you to comb your hair once it's dry, as it's less prone to damage this way, Carol's Daughter explains that curly-haired girls should remove knots on wet hair because dry combing can harm the integrity of the curls. 

Get in the car — yes, really

Another quirky method for when you're in a crunch without a diffuser is to simply get in your car and turn on the air conditioning while your hair dries. This method, detailed by Naturally Curly, is fast and you can even dry your hair on your commute. Just make sure you put your car air conditioner on the warmest setting and let it work its magic. The heat stream will ensure that your curly hair dries just right. Make sure you don't brush your hair out once it's done, or you'll ruin the curl pattern!


Don't be too discouraged if not every tip works for you. Remember, different tricks work for different people, as no head of hair is the same. So try things out for yourself to find out what the perfect routine for you might be. Once you do find it, practice makes perfect, so with time you'll have the ideal curly mane.