How to actually blow-dry your hair

You know that fresh from the salon feeling, when your hair's on point...and suddenly you are, too?

Imagine being able to blow out your hair at home and have it look just that good on the daily. And the best part? Blowouts not only make your hair look amazing, they help your style last. "With a good blowout, your hair can retain volume, smoothness and shine for up to five days," shares celeb stylist Gina Rivera. "That means less time styling and less damage from heat tools." Impossible, you say? Nope (and no, you don't need extra arms to do it). Trust. Once you get the hang of it, it's so worth the effort. Let us be your guide...

Prep makes perfect

The products you're using in the shower can make a big difference in how your hair will look and feel post-blowout. "Start by shampooing and conditioning properly," says Amy Stollmeyer, co-founder of haircare company Design.Me. Gently remove product buildup and oils by massaging your scalp with the tips of your fingers, really working in your shampoo. Then use a conditioner just from mid-length to the ends.

Once your hair is clean, squeeze out the excess water with a microfiber towel. Then either air-dry or rough-dry until it's barely damp. "To rough-dry, flip all of your hair to one side of the head and blow-dry the roots in an upward direction until they're mostly dry, then flip hair over and to the other side," says Stollmeyer. Now, add in your products.

Master the blow-dry

"The technique of using a brush to life the hair and pull it away from the scalp takes a lot of practice," says Rivera. The key to success? Doing it in segments. By working methodically, section by section, you'll have more control over your hair—and you'll be able to reach every piece. 


So starting at the bottom, use a comb and clips to divide your hair into horizontal sections no wider than your brush (clip the rest of your hair out of the way).

Set your blow-dryer to low or medium as you get a feel for things. Working from the bottom up, "place your brush underneath each section, starting at the roots," says Stollmeyer. "Turn on your dryer and aim the nozzle toward the ends at a 45-degree angle, following the length of the hair as you move your brush, keeping some tension in the hair so it dries smooth."

Keep a one-inch gap between the dryer and your hair to avoid overheating and damaging your strands, recommends hairstylist Michael Van Clarke. As you reach the ends of your hair, twist your brush inward at your ends to get that salon-fresh bounce.

Keep going until every section is dry. You can adjust the heat and speed based on your hair type. "Coarser hair may need additional heat and drying time, while fine or damaged hair should only use a very low heat and air speed setting," says Rivera.

Once it's 100% dry, spread a finishing cream through your hair and spray a layer of light or medium hold hairspray on the mid-lengths to the ends to keep your style in place from homeroom to bedtime. Now look who didn't blow it...

Which blow-dryers are worth it? We asked the pros.

Best for fine hair: 

Remington AC2015 Pro Hair Dryer, $25

Ceramic technology keeps your hair from falling flat.

Best for thick hair:

Gina Infrared Blow Dryer, $79

Dries without frying while fighting frizz.

Best for beating breakage:

BaByliss Titanium Hair Dryer, $75

Gentle heat that still gets the job done.

Best for adding shine:

Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer, $249

The ION functionality delivers maximum sleekness to your blowout.

Your blowout toolkit

Great hair days? All of them, thanks.

Preheat prep 

Apply leave-in through the lengths of your hair to smooth your strands and help protect them from heat. Follow up with a dollop of volume boosting mousse, focusing on your roots before ranking left-over product through the rest of your hair.

The best brush

"A paddle brush creates soft movement and a smooth, silky look," says Stollmeyer. Want volume and bounce? Opt for a round brush (one you can loop your hair around twice to create waves). Whichever you choose, Rivera recommends boar bristle brushes, which glide through hair without snags and help distribute your hair's natural oils.

Preserve it with silk

A silk pillowcase keeps your hair smooth while preventing breakage and frizz," says Rivera. 

Save it with spray

Wake up with oily roots? Spritz dry shampoo on 'em, let your hair soak up all the oil, then brush it out once it's dry.

Add hydration


Hair feeling dry after a day or two? Touch up your look by working in a dime-sized amount of hair oil, focusing on the tips and driest areas while avoiding the scalp. You'll preserve your style *and* boost your hair's health.

Want more hair care advice? Check out these articles:
💘 How to detangle your hair (without causing damage)
💘 How to create the perfect messy bun this summer 
 6 easy ways to braid your hair

Slider & header image: @matildadjerf

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our August/September 2022 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.


by Erin Reimel | 9/24/2022