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Insider DIY, How to Secrets to a Shiny Blow Dry

Step by Step How To Tutorial for a Shiny Blow Dry

Don’t tell anyone, but shiny hair doesn’t necessarily mean healthy hair. I know, mind blowing . . . Counterintuitive, right? The secret to shiny hair is simple, make it reflective. There are a few easy things to do every time you want shiny hair, and should help to make your hair more reflective and shinier.

The Shampoo

Let’s start at the very beginning, and I mean the absolute beginning with the shampoo. To make sure you get as much moisture into your hair as possible, we need to find the right shampoo and conditioner. This is the first phase, and creates the foundation for the rest of our blow dry.

The Cuticle of a Hair Strand under a microscope

Try and imagine how the cuticle of a hair looks under a microscope. It’s made from hundreds of tiny tiles (cuticle in the image above), just like the roof of a house. Now imagine, if those tiles aren’t lying flat, the rain can’t flow down. It’s exactly the same with your hair,  when the hair is damaged, the tiles won’t lie flat. When a tile is curled up any light beams are reflected upward into the sky, and likewise the light will be reflected upward from your hair leaving it looking dull and lifeless, and also more prone to tangles. A good conditioner will cause the cuticle to lie flatter.

Towel Drying Hair

Towel Drying Your Hair

So now you’ve washed and conditioned your hair, and we have all those tiny tiles lying where we want them, but it’s still soaking wet. The last thing we want to do is make those roof tiles sit up again. So you have to be super gentle when you go through the process of removing any excess moisture. You know in the movies when the hero comes out of the shower, drying his hair as hard as he can? That’s exactly what you shouldn’t be doing. We want smooth, shiny hair, not messed up tangled hair. The key here is to blot your hair with a fluffy absorbent towel, never ever rub your hair. Barb Quinn has seen so much damaged hair from improper drying techniques that she has written an entire article on getting towel drying done right.

Blow drying her hair

Blow Drying

OK, so that bits done, now we have to remove the excess moisture. This is important for two reasons, first, it’ll be faster to dry your hair, and two, most importantly; it won’t dilute the products you use. There’s not much point in putting a product in your soaking wet hair, it just gets wasted.

I know, I said remove excess water, but this isn’t an excuse to blast dry the hair any old way. Remember how the roof tiles need to let the water slide? It’s exactly the same with air. The air flow from the dryer needs to flow DOWN THE HAIR, making sure the air flow is always coming from above. This is the key, the more we encourage a smother hair shaft, the shinier the hair will turn out.

There is a reason why hair stylists section their clients’ hair when blow drying, it provides more control with the brush as well as tension, heat and airflow. Here’s how to achieve smooth, shiny results, just like you get in the salon.

  • Divide your head into four quadrants and use large clips to hold each section in place as you blow dry.
  • Begin blow drying at the nape of the neck and work your way upward. Never take a section that’s wider than your brush. Their depth should be about 1″ to 1 1/2″, depending on the density of your hair.
  • Hold the brush in your writing hand and the blow dryer in the other one, keeping them about 1/2″ apart.
  • Position the dryer parallel to the brush, never put the nozzle directly on the brush, as it will burn the blower motor out, damage the brush’s bristles and burn the hair.

paddle brush

Applying Product

Apply your product, maybe something moisturizing, and let’s start drying. But which brush? We need to encourage shiny hair, so feel your brush against your skin. Is it sharp or soft? Typically a rounder brush is quite sharp. It needs to grip the hair for lift, so it has to be. Now think about something like a paddle brush. Usually a paddle brush will have a bigger surface area and softer bristles. This makes it quick and smooth and less likely to rough up those little tiles.

Try and work methodically through the drying, heat the hair in the brush and when it’s dry allow it to cool. Imagine the hair is like wax, when it’s hot it’ll do what you want, and when it’s cold it stay where you left it, even if you don’t necessarily want it there.

Hairstyle Blog contributing author Samuel Ryde
Contributing author Samuel Ryde knows whereof he speaks with years of service to clients as Senior Stylist at Ena Salon in London. You can follow Samuel on Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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