Wondering how to air dry hair in a way that looks polished and purposeful – not like you simply ran out of time in the morning? Perfectly air-dried hair may be easier to achieve than you think. Admittedly, it takes a little more work than simply stepping out of the shower and heading out the door. But not much. Read on for tips on how to air-dry your hair for every hair type.
Why Should I Try Air-Drying My Hair?
Maybe you need some convincing to jump on the air-drying train. If so, here are the main benefits of skipping the hairdryer:
- Excessive heat may cause hair color to fade.
- Heat styling might dry out your locks.
- Some hot tools, like flatiron straighteners, can break down your hair’s protein fibers.
- Heat styling may cause surface damage to your hair shaft.1,2,3
- Use of hot tools might damage the hair cuticle.4
- Regular heat styling could damage the scalp and hair follicles.
- Over time, hot tools can lead to frizz.5
Heat styling damage may be irreversible.6 To avoid issues, you may want to take a break from the hairdryer when you can. With the right products and technique, air-dried hair can look just as chic and polished as a fresh blowout.
Concerns With Air Drying Your Hair
Air drying is low-fuss, and it may help to protect your hair from damage. What’s not to love, right? If you’ve ever run out the door with wet hair, you can probably name a few things. If you let your hair dry on its own without any product or plan, you may find:
- Your hair lacks volume
- Your hair has a lot more volume than you’d like
- Frizz, frizz, and more frizz
- Unruly, hard to control hair
- Undefined curls or limp texture7
Sound familiar? If this is what you’re imagining when you think of air-dried hair, it may be time to update your image. With the right products and a bit of planning, you can combat these issues.
Essential Air-Drying Products For Smooth, Frizz-Free Hair
If you don’t usually air-dry your hair, know this: there’s more to it than simply stepping out of the shower and starting your day. There’s a whole arsenal of products that are specifically designed to tame wet strands.
From styling cream to air-dry cream and silicone-y styling products, here’s what you’ll need for perfectly air-dried hair.
Moisturizing Shampoo And Conditioner
When it comes to air-drying your hair, the type of shampoo and conditioner you use matters. With air-dried hair, a big concern is frizz. One way to avoid frizz is to keep your hair hydrated.
A great way to do this is to use a moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. This will help your scalp stay hydrated by maintaining its natural oils. When it comes to air-dried hair, hydration is your friend, and moisture loss is the enemy.8
Hair Masks And Leave-In Conditioner
Hair types that tend to run dry – like coarse hair, coily hair, and naturally curly hair – may benefit from a big dose of hydration before they are left to dry. A hair mask or leave-in conditioner can help.
Go for a moisture-rich product that is free from sulfates. You’ll leave this in your hair for 3-5 minutes before you shampoo, and then continue on with your regular hair care routine.9
Styling Cream Or Serum
If you’re after a smooth, soft texture you’ll want to use a styling cream or serum. Creams and serums are great for thick hair, straight hair, and soft waves. A cream or oil-based serum will smooth down the cuticle and help prevent frizz.10
Gals with straight hair and fine hair can typically benefit from a boost of volume when they let their hair dry naturally. A spritz of volumizing spray or root lifting spray can add lots of volume that you would otherwise get from a blow dryer.11
Curl Definer Or Texturizing Cream
For curly hair or super curly hair, you’ll want to define your curls. Applying a product with a bit of hold, like a curling gel or texturizing cream, can help define texture and cut down on frizz.12
Salt spray is another great option for a textured look. Spraying hair with salt spray can give wavy hair-defined beach waves.13
How To Air Dry Hair, Step By Step
1. Apply A Moisturizing Hair Mask Or A Dollop Of Conditioner
Here’s an initial extra step for curly hair, coily hair, kinky hair, and other types that need a ton of moisture. Start by applying a conditioner or a hair mask to damp hair before you shampoo. This can add extra moisture and set the foundation for beautiful air-dried locks.14
2. Wash Your Hair With Shampoo And A Daily Conditioner
Many hair types benefit from a moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo. Follow up the shampoo with a moisturizing conditioner. Generally, you’ll only want to skip applying conditioner on your scalp (avoid your roots). Instead, concentrate on the mid length of your hair to the ends.15
3. Detangle Your Hair With A Wide-Toothed Comb
After shampooing and conditioning, gently remove tangles while your hair is still wet. Brushing may lead to frizz or broken hair, so do this with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb.16
4. Use A Microfiber Towel To Gently Dry Hair
A regular towel can cause frizz. Try a microfiber hair towel or an old t-shirt to squeeze out excess moisture from your hair. Squeeze – don’t rub – sections of hair to gently dry it.17
5. Apply Hair Products
Now you’ll want to apply a product to prevent frizz, add volume, or tame whatever habit your hair has if left to its own devices.
- Spritz on a conditioning spray to seal the cuticle around the hair shaft and prevent frizz
- Apply a leave-in scalp spray to your roots to add volume and bounce to your hair
- Add a styling treatment serum to add moisture and lightweight, flexible hold
6. Add Twists, Clips, Knots, Or Loose Braids
Now that you’ve added in some type of product, you’ll want to position your hair so that it dries with some texture. Here are some ideas.
- Add a loose braid for gorgeous waves. For added volume, braid hair and twist it into a high bun.
- Tightly twist small sections, from roots to ends, into tight coils. If your hair is coily, these may stay on their own and enhance the curls.
- If your hair is straight, this may help create texture.18
- If you have curly hair, finger-coil small sections into corkscrews.19
- If you have straight hair, frequently brush your hair straight to expose it to air.20
- If you have straight or wavy hair, tuck your hair behind your ears and secure a metal clip above each ear to add a bend.
- Fashion your hair into four high top knots for a subtle wave.21
7. Now, Stop Touching It
Once you’ve applied your product and positioned your hair, try not to mess with it. Let your hair dry naturally.
8. Finish It Off
If you’ve tied up your hair with braids, buns, clips, or twists, wait until your hair is completely dry and take them down. Gently run through your hair with your fingers. Finish your look with a shine spray, and you’re good to go.
Perfect Air-Dried Hair Is Possible
If you find yourself constantly reaching for the blow dryer, it may be time to take a break. Your hair can look just as good (if not better) without applying any heat. Spend some time getting to know your hair in its natural state. Anticipate what your hair might do, and apply the right product to help tame it.
Once you hit on the right product and technique, you just may start loving your new low-fuss routine.