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How To Dry Curly Hair: A Definitive Guide to Drying and Diffusing

The Definitive Guide To Drying and Diffusing Curly Hair

- Curl expert @HonestLiz shares her top tips...

The two most popular ways of drying curly hair: you either air dry or diffuse. Sounds simple? After doing this over 4yrs I realised the honest answer is no. When it comes to curly hair, the technique matters a lot. Here are my top tips for drying curly hair:

But first, in case you want to know:

Diffusing - This is using a cup-like attachment fixed on a dryer to help you diffuse curly hair.

Air drying - As the name suggests it's letting the air do the drying.

Drying is the last lap (... after washing, conditioning, styling)

It's what you do before you start the drying process that determines your results. So if you want more frizz-free results and faster drying time then try this:

To speed up air drying:

  • Apply your products on damp hair. This takes out the water-weight immediately.
  • Use a microfiber towel to remove excess water after styling. 
  • Wet Plop in a shower cap to encourage curl formation from the root.

After wet plopping for about 5 to 10 minutes you’re ready to dry your curly hair. If. you start diffusing immediately you may notice more frizz. So remember this -

The first 15 minutes of drying are very crucial.

Air dry for at least 15 minutes before you start diffusing your curly hair. This gives time for your styling products to saturate in your hair and set.

Sit or lie on the edge, under a ceiling fan. No you’re not doing this for four hours. You’re only doing this for 15 min. Change position every five minutes to let air through and help you with volume!

Air Dry until you feel a slight gel cast in your hair. This slight cast is your cue to start your diffusing process.

If you want to continue air drying (much healthier for curls actually!) then use two-pronged salon clips to lift up your roots while you air dry.. This solves many of the flat-roots problems!

How to diffuse curly hair

Okay, say you don’t have a ceiling fan nor a table fan. If dryer-diffuser is the only way then remember to first:

  • Hover the diffuser around your hair to mimic the air drying process. Do it on high heat and high speed, as suggested by the famous stylist ManesByMell.
  • Within 10 min or so, you’ll feel a slight cast. This is your cue to start diffusing. Change the speed and heat to the lowest setting. Turn off the diffuser.
  • Cup a small section of hair and into the diffuser. Bring diffuser all the way to the scalp and *then* put the diffuser on for 20-30seconds. Turn it off and move to the next section.
  • Careful not to go up and down. My top tip would be to switch the diffuser off while switching your sections. This will help you avoid frizz.

Get the best of both worlds!

Some like to air dry hair all the way, others diffuse all the way. I like to do both! Sometimes I like to air dry about 90 % and diffuse a little bit to finish. Sometimes I like to air dry and diffuse at regular intervals.

I’ve tried it the other way round too; diffusing first and then drying but that doesn’t work for me. For the best results take breaks and do both in regular intervals. Air dry for sometime, and then diffuse one round. Then air dry while you get some work done, and come back to diffuse some more. This goes for about an hour and boom. Your curly hair is completely dry yet frizz-free and voluminous!

Let us know if you try!


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