Nothing beats that “I just walked out of the salon with a professional blow out” look, but indulging in that habit can wreak havoc on your budget. It’s possible to get the same results at home, once you have a few tools in your cabinet and a bit of practice under your wing. The first step to a great looking blow dry is to know what you want for a finished product. Are you looking to straighten your hair, add volume, beat frizz or create soft waves? Know where you want to go, then follow these steps to salon quality blow out:
1. Pre-dry your hair. No matter what your end goal is, don’t skip this step. Trying to style sopping-wet hair is a waste of time and energy. Proper pre drying will go along way to achieving your goal of healthy hair. Start by blotting your hair dry quickly with a microfiber towel, or let it air dry while you get dressed. Always dry your hair a bit before you start the styling process. Most styling (smoothing or curling) takes place when hair is about 90 percent dry, and the less time your hair is exposed to the heat of the dryer, the better.
2. Pick a styling creme, gel or mousse. If you want volume or hold from your blow out, you’ll need to start with a styling product. The same goes for controlling frizz and reducing or enhancing your curl. Once your hair has had a chance to slightly dry, rub a bit of product between your hands and distribute it throughout your hair. This will help your hair go in the style direction you want, which of course will shorten the style time and lengthen the time your blow out lasts.
3. Choose the right tools: The right brush can make a big difference in getting the look you’re after. Use a paddle brush for blow drying super-straight styles. Use a large-barrel, round brush to give hair volume and curves. Natural boar bristles are gentle on fine hair and good for smoothing styles. A mix of boar and nylon bristles grabs the hair well if your hair is medium or thick. Your dryer should be as high quality as you can afford. The ideal is an ionic-ceramic blow-dryer with hot, warm and cool settings. Ionic and ceramic technologies in blow-dryers allow the hair to retain more moisture. You will feel and see the difference!
4. Work in sections: Sectioning your hair beforehand makes the work easier and keeps you from over-drying areas. Clip into manageable sections and start by dropping down one section at a time. Work your way to the sides and crown of your head.
5. For smooth, straight blow-outs, start with a smoothing serum. Work in sections. Use a medium or hot setting with a nozzle attachment and dry from roots to ends, keeping dryer 6 to 8 inches from hair with the airflow angled toward the ends. This will make the cuticle lay flat, which will make your hair both smoother and shinier. Add lift on top and around your face by lightly spraying roots with a root lifter, flipping your head upside and massaging the roots with heat. Finish off with a blast of cool air to set the style.
6. If your hair is fine, start with a light mousse or gel and rough dry lightly on a medium setting, until slightly damp. For maximum body and fullness, roll the top layers back on three or four velcro rollers and spritz the roots lightly with a root-lifting spray, then blow heat to dry and set. Let hair cool before unrolling and use your fingers to style. If your hair is very short, apply styling gel or creme for a textured look, then using a warm setting on your dryer, use your fingers to style your hair into place.
7. Curly hair can look touchable with well formed curls if you use the right approach. Give your curls and waves direction when they are wet, and don’t touch them when they are dry! Start with a curl enhancing styling product, and then twist small sections of hair from scalp to ends to create smooth, uniform curls. Using a diffuser on low speed with medium heat, dry your hair in sections. When your hair is almost dry, flip your head upside down to loosen the curls and blast your look with cool air to set the style.
Once you have finished your blow dry, spray a light mist of shine spray or gloss serum to make your hair shine and reflect the light. You’ll look like you just stepped out of a salon!