Giving yourself a great blowout at home can be challenging. If you can get roofast the disadvantage of not having three arms to reach the back of your head, you then have to deal with a dryer that starts to feel like a 12lb kettlebell halfway through the process. Basically, #thestruggleisreal.
We reached out to celebrity hair stylists for their essential tricks for making your home blowout look its best and, more importantly, last well beyond your lunch break . Here, they give us their seven best blow dry tips and hacks.
Towel off the right way.
Don't even think about bringing heat anywhere near your hair before you get excess, dripping moisture out first. But go gentle on your wet strands: "It's always a good idea to use a very soft towel. Some people swear by an old t-shirt or sweatshirt," says Ryan Richman , an LA-based stylist who has worked with actresses Sarah Hyland and Olivia Holt. "Don't twist and toss your hair around with your towel. Use a wide tooth comb and gently detangle your hair, then use your towel to blot dry starting at the scalp and working your way down to the ends." You want to start blow drying with fairly wet hair to get the smoothest result, according to Richman. Lazy or time-crunched? "A towel-turban can be a great time-saver as it absorbs a lot of moisture," add Tim Rogers , creative director of Living Proof and a stylist at the Sally Hershberger salon in NYC who has worked with Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick.
Play rough (with your hair, that is).
Before a brush comes anywhere near your head, both Richman and Rogers recommend using a prep spray before rough-drying hair to about 60 to 75 percent of the way. It will help prevent frizz, particularly if you have fine or limp hair and want a bit of volume. Choose a prep spray based on your hair's needs. All of them provide heat protection, as well as benefits like volumizing, hydrating or detangling. Once close to dry, "run your fingers through your hair and tousle it back and forth with the blow dryer to get the [remaining] moisture out." Richman says. Then, you should proceed to blow dry with your brush. Thicker hair can handle a more heavy-duty prep product, like a styling cream or oil, without weighing hair down. If you have thick, coarse or curly hair, after adding a prep product, you should start with a round or flat brush right away and skip the rough-dry. "If you don't start drying [thick, curly hair] when it's really wet, you're never going to get the frizz out and won't get the bend and wave you're looking for," Richman advises.
PRODUCT TO TRY: Living Proof Blowout Styling and Finishing Spray, $24; livingproof.com .
Say no to thermal brushes.
Rogers recommends staying away from stiff, plastic bristle thermal brushes because, despite the fact that they're marketed as blow dry tools, they get too hot and cause frizz and ineffective smoothing. More importantly, they can lead to hair damage. "The plastic can tear the cuticle, and the thermal barrel can get too hot during the vulnerable damp-to-dry stage of a blowout," Rogers explains. Instead, he recommends using either a 100 percent boar bristle brush or a brush that contains a mixture of boar bristle and soft synthetic bristles. Bristle density also matters, particularly for efficiency. "If the bristles in the brush are too dense, it will take too long to blow dry," Rogers explains. It's also important to dry hair completely to avoid frizziness for all hair types.
TOOL TO TRY: Spornette DeVille Round Boar Bristle Brush, $22; bigdaddybeauty.com .
Dry three ways for pin-straight hair.
Craving a perfectly straight Gwyneth-esque style? Both Richman and Rogers recommend using a paddle brush or flat brush rather than a round brush. And technique is everything: First, brush your hair forward towards your face while following with the blowdryer. Then after a few passes, brush it towards the back or your head. Finish up by drying your hair straight downward, directly perpendicular to the floor. "The variety breaks up the wave and gets any kinks or cowlicks out so your hair will lay flat," Richman says.
TOOL TO TRY: Bumble and bumble The Flat Brush, $95; sephora.com .
Don't worry about the back.
"If the front has a great shape, your hair will look amazing," Richman says. To get a bouncy shape, take the front section of your hair on one side and pull it straight out in front of your nose. Put the brush on top of the hair and roll it down the hair section. (See example demonstrated on Olivia Holt, top.) Heat up the section from underneath until it's dry while rolling the brush up and away from the face. Use that technique on both sides and on vertical sections in front of the ears. "You'll have a great round moon shape in the front where the hair comes over your eye a little bit and shapes your face," Richman says. Rogers employs a similar strategy and uses a root "stretching" technique, wherein he gently stretches the hair with a brush while drying in the opposite direction the hair is going to fall. It gives a bit of volume at the root and can help add shape at the front of the face.
TOOL TO TRY: Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer, $195; sephora.com .
Rediscover the diffuser.
Both Rogers and Richman say certain styles demand a diffuser, and the tool is a necessity if you're trying to preserve natural curl or wave. If you want that volume, either lean your head back or flip your head over and dry with the diffuser. Don't use your fingers, because that can cause frizz, according to Richman. If your hair is very curly, Richman suggests using a leave-in conditioner or curl cream to avoid frizz. Rogers has a clever diffuser trick for making beachy waves even if your hair is straighter: Spray texture mist, then fold sections of hair into a figure eight shape. Lay each section into the bowl of the diffuser, which you will be holding with the nozzle and diffuser facing upwards. "It gives a lovely dent," says Rogers.
TOOL TO TRY: Conair Pro Universal Tourmaline Finger Diffuser, $10; sallybeauty.com .
Focus on proper pony placement.
To make your blowout last as long as possible—whether overnight or through a workout—knowing proper ponytail placement is key, says Rogers. If you're trying to maintain a straight blowout, pull your ponytail to the nape of your neck so that hair stays flat. If you're going for bouncy volume, do the opposite and pull it high up on your head into a topknot. Avoid elastics, as they will leave a dent. (This might mean embracing the scrunchie!) Rogers likes to pull hair into a high chignon and secure with pins only to avoid elastic dent syndrome completely.
TOOL TO TRY: Ricky's No Crease Medium Bobby Pins, $7; rickysnyc.com .