Who wants to blow dry their hair every single day, especially come summer? No one. The only issue is that hair tends to frizz in humid weather and can look unkempt if not heat-styled. When done correctly, though, the air-drying technique — yes, it’s a technique! — can leave strands with a soft bend or in pretty spirals. “Since you’re not manipulating the hair with a dryer and other hot tools, the finished result is a bit more natural looking,” says Andrew Fitzsimons, a celebrity hairstylist whose client list includes the Kardashians and the NatureLab Tokyo brand ambassador.
Want in? We asked top hairstylists to share their secrets on how to air dry hair – the right way. If you’re looking for a fuss- and frizz-free hairstyle that requires little-to-no effort, try their helpful hacks below.
Nelson Chan, a celebrity hairstylist and founder of Nelson j Salon Beverly Hills, recommends keeping your hair in the shape or style that you want and then leaving it alone completely — meaning hands off — until it’s completely dry. Otherwise, you risk ruining the end result. “Yes, it will take long time, but it will be worth the wait,” he says. He also suggests using cream- or water-based styling products, as those that are alcohol-based wick away moisture and can leave strands rough and frizzy.
Apply a conditioning mask
Celebrity hairstylist Kyle Hennessy, who has worked with stars like Bella Hadid and Rita Ora, likes to apply a conditioning mask after washing hair. But here’s the catch: He doesn’t rinse it out. “I like to shake it out or maybe scrunch it up a little bit,” he says. “Your hair will dry over time and have the nicest, frizz-free beachy texture.” Once it dries, he simply suggests running your fingers through to break up the texture a bit.
Do the tousle and flip
If you want lived-in waves, Lauren Paglionico, hair colorist and owner of LRN BEAUTY, recommends flipping your head over and generously spraying Rahua Enchanted Island Salt Spray ($32) throughout wet hair. “Lightly tousle and twist your strands away from your face, and then do alternating twists throughout,” she says. “Let hair dry completely before gently breaking apart the twists with your fingers.”
Trade fancy products for aloe vera
Penny James, hair stylist, trichologist, and owner of Penny James Salon in New York City, says her go-to product for an air-dried style is aloe vera gel. Shocking, right? “Apply it all over very wet hair, place the hair into the shape you want, and let the aloe vera work its magic,” she says. “It will reduce the swelling and smooth the cuticle, giving it an amazing shine.” This works especially well for curly hair types, she adds.
Thoroughly towel dry hair…
Gently squeezing out the moisture so that your hair is no longer dripping wet is key to an air-dried hairstyle, says celebrity hairstylist Kendall Dorsey. Just be sure to use a smooth-textured towel, so that it doesn’t disrupt the cuticle and cause frizz. “I love to add in a high-quality leave-in conditioner such as BRIOGEO Farewell Frizz Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioning Spray ($20) to keep strands looking soft and shiny,” he adds.
…But not if your hair is curly
Try to avoid towels if your hair is naturally curly or coarse. “Scrunch out excess water with your hands,” suggests Dorsey. “Then, work products through your hair and immediately twist it into spirals.” He suggests CURLS Lavish Curl Moisturizer ($10). “The more attention you pay to twisting your curls, the better your outcome will be,” he adds.
Use creaseless hair ties
To get the look you want without causing creases, celebrity hairstylist Daniel Koye recommends putting your hair into a twisted bun before bedtime. His pick: Invisibobble Hair Ties ($8). “Before heading to bed, apply a leave-in treatment to wet hair, and then twist it up however you wish,” he says.
Apply a pomade
New York City-based hairstylist Tenisha F. Sweet finds it helpful to use a light pomade, like Kerastase Baume Double Je Styling Balm ($37), on wet hair before twisting it up in a topknot. “Pull your hair up to the very top of your head, secure it, and then wrap it to create a messy bun,” she explains. “Sleep on it or go about your day; take it down when you think it’s dry, and you’ll have the bounce and volume that you’re looking for!”
Stretch your curls with a pony
If your hair is naturally curly, Fitzsimons suggests coating combed, towel-dried hair with a nourishing cream, then tying it up into a high ponytail. This will help stretch and elongate the curl pattern. Once the hair is partially dry, simply let it down and run your fingers through to separate strands. Voila!
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