Have you ever left home in the morning only to return and find that your hairstyle hasn't held up? The problem may be the way you are blow drying your hair. "It's key when you blow dry," says Sandy Barber, hair stylist at Hair by Carla & Co. in Sams Valley. "That sets the style for the entire day."
"Most of the time people are trying to get their hair dry and get gone," says Sandee Curry, hair stylist at Cutting Edge Hair Salon in Medford. But with a few changes to your blow-drying regime, your style should hold longer. Here are some tips to turn you into a blow-drying diva!
Buying a blow dryer can be like walking onto a car lot — buttons, colors, features and options galore. Which features are really the best?
Lower the heat. "I like a dryer that's 1875 watts or lower," says Curry. Too much heat damages and dries the hair so a lower heat (or variable settings) can minimize the damage. And especially with curly hair "super low heat and low force" gives you more control over your curl.
Try ionic. Barber has found that ionic blow dryers produce a smoother effect. "They close your cuticle down and seal the moisture in."
Diffuse the situation. Diffusers help hair by breaking up the airstream from your blow dryer. "Diffusers don't really blow — they add heat," says Rachel Renee Ridge, hair stylist at The Stylin' Station in Medford. Barber agrees. "[Diffusers give] indirect heat that doesn't blast your hair." And while they are most commonly used for curly hair, Ridge reminds that "even straight hair can use a little lift."
Don't forget to brush. Ridge recommends a ceramic brush for use with a blow dryer. "It's kind of like a curling iron," she says. "It heats up and holds the heat." Curry adds that metal brushes have the same "double" effect when drying your hair. And with any brush, Curry recommends a natural bristle. "The natural ones glide through the hair better." If you're straightening or smoothing your hair, a large diameter round brush or paddle brush is a must. "The more tension you have to straighten hair, the smoother the result," says Ridge.
"There's a product for everything," says Barber so know your own hair type and know what you want the end result to be. Some products boost the effect (and minimize the damage) of blow drying:
Leave-in conditioners - "We all have our favorites from different lines," says Barber but a good leave-in product shouldn't feel heavy or greasy in your hair. The real purpose, says Ridge, is to buffer your hair. "It coats the hair and seals and protects."
Put the heat to work, there are a number of products designed to work with the heat of a blow dryer. Ridge recommends those with "heat memory." The advantage? Along with their protective aspects, you can touch up your hairdo with a blow dryer or curling iron without adding more product.
Go water-based. "One of the key things to keeping hair beautiful is moisture," says Barber. The hair shaft is composed mainly of water (so don't forget to drink plenty) but Ridge also recommends finding a product that lists water in the first three ingredients.
Start at the roots "Blow dry from the inside out," says Ridge. Starting at the roots will add volume and decrease damage to more vulnerable ends.
Split the job, not the hair. "Sectioning your hair off is a huge help," advises Curry. It adds volume, defines curl, or ensures a smoother finish. It also gets your hair more thoroughly dried and less vulnerable to humidity.
10. Enlist your hairstylist. When you get that fabulous new look, your stylist should explain the necessary techniques to you. "I want you to be able to do your hair just like I do," says Barber. "One of the things we do is we teach our clients how to do that hairstyle. I go blow-by-blow through everything I do."
With the right combination of technique, product and style, you can have a fabulous style that will last you all day long.