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The Ultimate Blow Dry Tutorial

The Blow Dry Tutorial That Blow Dry Bars Don’t Want You to Know About

The best thing for your hair is to let it dry naturally. But of course, that’s not realistic . . . especially for women with fine hair, most of whom are addicted to the master blaster, with good reason; it’s the ultimate volumizer. If you do blow-dry all the time, at least take a break on the weekend, when you can condition your hair and give it special care. Leave-in conditioners everyday and a deep conditioning treatment or hot oil treatments also help to take the strain off over-processed hair.

To do as little damage as possible, follow these ground rules. If your hair is curly, use a diffuser, which not only helps hold the curl but also diffuses the heat. Also, keep the blower at a low cool setting as much as possible, and hold it four to six inches from your head.

Blow Dry Tutorial

Get the Right Hair Dryer

Not all hair dryers are not created equally. So what makes the grade in my book? The size, the weight and a cool button. A hair dryer that’s light, not too heavy is important. I don’t like hair dryers that are too big. A cool button is important to me . . . you can touch up your look by pumping air back into the hair. A 1,200 to 1,500-watt dryer is powerful enough for most women: if your hair is thick or coarse. You may need 1,700 watts. Experiment with a diffuser or nozzle attachment, I’m addicted to nozzles! They direct the heat when I want to get the hair really straight and smooth, and they don’t ruffle the cuticle.


Blow Dry Tutorial

Buy a Good Hair Brush

I use mostly round brushes on myself, I prefer a Denman brush, which boasts rubber-coated bristles. If I want the hair to be really, really straight, I use the brush at the roots. The rubber grips the hair and allows you to really pull it taut. If you are able to get the first two inches from the roots straight, the rest of the hair will follow. And if you don’t, watch for that mid-morning natural wave to bounce back!


Blow Dry Tutorial

Use a Really Good Volumizing Product

But, take inventory of your hair texture and pick a volumizer that best suits your hair type.


Blow Dry Tutorial

Section Your Hair Off

There’s a reason why 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.
  • Hold the brush in your writing hand and the blow dryer in the other on, 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 your hair.


Blow Dry Tutorial

Be Careful Not to Over Dry Your Hair or Style Too Soon

85% is the magic number, over drying can strip your hair of essential moisture, bounce and elasticity. Don’t start styling your hair with a round brush when blow drying until you get about 85% of the moisture out of your hair first, so it’s just damp. One result of over drying hair is a lot of static.

Blow Dry Tutorial

Blow Dry From Roots to Ends

Start by gently blotting your wet hair with a towel. Then, hang your head upside down as you blow dry from roots to ends. Don’t blow into the hair, or you’ll ruffle the hair cuticle. You want to keep your cuticle lying down smoothly. As you are turned upside down, you are giving your hair added volume, and when hair is 85% dry, get out that brush and put some shape in that style.


Blow Dry Tutorial

Dry the Bottom Layers First

Start at the back and dry the under layers first. For straight hair, always direct the blow-dryer down toward the floor: this smooths the hair and prevents frizz. Lean over and blow-dry at the roots to give your hair volume. To add height or volume to the top of your hair, lift the hair from the roots with your fingers (or use your round vent brush or paddle brush) and blow-dry at the roots. For wavy or curly hair, hold the diffuser into the hair (with your head straight up) and work your way around your head, from bottom to top (do not use a brush).

Blow Dry Tutorial

Smooth the Top

When the under layers are dry, use your brush to shape the top layer. Put the bristles against your scalp, turn and lift back small sections of hair, and curl them under until dry.


Blow Dry Tutorial

Curl the Ends

Take your brush and curl the ends under. Brush through and follow with the blow-dryer directed toward your hair. Finish styling with a shot of cold air, which “sets” the style and makes your hair shinier.


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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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How To Get a Salon Quality Blow-Out At Home!

Carmamel highlights long hair big volume curls

DIY Blow Out How To

The blow-out has now officially been made a requirement of your beauty routine! All hair stylists will say that a great blow-out is the basis of EVERY great looking hairstyle. The added polish and body that a great blow-out gives hair, is what its really all about.

Salons are now catering to blow-out only clients, and blow-dry bars are the hot new item catering entirely to the art of the blow-out! Blow-dry bars are especially great for the styling impaired, or on-the-go fashionistas, who want a quick make-over to go from work to play, however, the service doesn’t come cheap. If you learn the art of the blow-out, you’ll have the secret to achieving great hair styles that have more staying power, more body and more shine.

  • Step One ~~ Cleanse hair with your favorite smoothing shampoo and conditioner and finish with a cool rinse. The cool rinse is key to locking in moisture and shine.
  • Step Two ~~ Apply leave-in conditioner to towel dried hair and gently comb through with fingers followed by a wide tooth comb.
  • Step Three ~~ Add your favorite smoothing serum, mousse or gel. Applying products to damp hair reduces some of the heaviness that they can add. Rough dry hair upside down, using fingers and dryer set on high. Direct heat mostly at roots, and fluff through the rest until 70% – 80% dry. (Curly hair girls should most definitely skip this step as this will only cause frizz.)
  • Step 4 ~~ Divide hair into 4-5 sections and clip out of the way to make styling more manageable. Start at nape and working with one section at a time; drop down hair, about the width of your round brush and dry from root to end using tension and following the brush with the dryer. Finish one section before going to the next and make sure the hair is completely dry. The tension of the brush and the direction of the air flow of the dryer, will leave the hair polished and smooth.
  • Step 5 ~~ Elevation creates volume, so by over-directing your hair from the root with brush and blower in the crown area, you will give your finished look much more more height and volume.
    • To add soft curls to your blow-out without extra heat – set each section of hair (as it’s still hot) by  simply rolling each section into the shape of a barrel curl using your fingers and secure with pins or clips. Velcro rollers can also be used to get big volume curls. Mist curls with a light finishing spray and allow curls to cool. Unpin curls, warm a dime size amount of your favorite shine serum in the palms of your hands, and gently run through strands from mid-shaft to ends.

Et voila! A beautiful blow out is yours!

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