It’s Friday night, you just stepped out of the shower and your hair is soaking wet. You need to dry it before you create a big puddle on the floor and annoy the old lady in the apartment below, but where do you begin? A hasty two-minute blow dry won’t work if you want everyone to believe you were born with Lady Godiva locks, and professional styling can quickly empty your wallet. So, to help you save a few bucks and achieve a salon-style blow dry at home, we’ve gathered a few tips from the experts.
If you hair is like ours, when it’s wet, it is usually pretty tangled. First, spray on Aveda’s Styling Curessence Hair Rejuvenator and Detangler ($13) and use a wide-tooth comb (Sephora makes a strong, no-nonsense plastic comb ($4) that won’t scratch your scalp) to get out any knots. Next, regardless of hair type or texture, prep hair for drying with a heat protectant to prevent scorching your hair. For dry tresses, try Kerastase Lait Nutri Sculpt ($29) a lightweight conditioning balm designed to nourish and shield from breakage. For those with normal hair (who are you anyway?), Umberto Beverly Hills Controller ($9) is a lightweight leave-in spray that conditions before applying heat. Our curly hair sisters may benefit from using Charles Worthington Curl Definition Styling Cream ($6), a non-sticky curl definer, which helps to avoid hard “crunchy” curls. For those with frizzy hair (isn’t this most of us?) we swear by Kiehl’s new Heat Protective Silk Straightening Cream ($14), a weightless cream that locks out our summer arch enemy, frizz-inducing humidity.
Now that your hair is prepped and ready for the heat, it is important to have the right tools. HairArt’s T3 Tourmaline Hairdryer ($200) is the most-hyped hair dryer on the market these days. The T3 dryer’s components are made of crushed Tourmaline jewels (and who doesn’t love jewels?) and negative ions, which heat to dry hair 60 percent faster. It is rumored that Ben Franklin was the first to discover Tourmaline’s ionic properties, so for two Benjamin’s we expect miracles. Unfortunately the T3 did not deliver, though our hair dried quickly, saving our arm workout for the gym, this dryer just didn’t have enough power to smooth our locks into submission. Instead, we happily discovered that you don’t have to cough up big bucks on a dryer to get salon results. We tested Conair’s Ceramic Ionic Hairdryer ($25) and found it to be just as powerful and reliable as the professional tools. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because a $25 dryer is the same price as a two movie tickets and some Twizzlers that you are getting something disposable. Babe Rizzuto of Conair explained, “Professional dryers are pricey because they require a motor that can withstand all-day usage at full velocity.” Remember, you want salon style at home, not an actual salon at home.
As for the actual styling of your hair, big waves are big for fall, so naturally curly girls will have one less struggle this season. Celebrity stylist Garren, of the aptly named Garren New York Salon, suggests you dry curly hair using a diffuser, separating the curls with your fingers (we like Vidal Sassoon Finger Diffuser Attachment ($6), which dries curls without blowing out the style). Garren suggests you flip your hair upside down while gently cupping the curls in your hand as you dry. Once fully dry, gently pull forward, shake, and—voilà!—instant Sarah Jessica Parker.
Straight hair? Yuval Samburski of Leonard Golino Salon said the key to straightening hair is to let it air dry naturally until it is 70 percent dry. Then divide hair into small sections and begin blow-drying, starting from the nape of the neck, applying tension as you dry the hair from roots to ends using a round brush. (We like the Bio Ionic Round Intensive Ion-Smoothing Brush ($29) for its ergonomic design and no-slip handle. No one wants carpal tunnel from drying hair). Let each section cool off before releasing the hair from the hold. Of course, we shouldn’t have to remind you to never touch the blow dryer directly to the hair—that’s for amateurs.
To finish off your style, Carmine Minardi, Style Director and co-owner of Minardi Salon, recommends you keep the nozzle of the dryer facing downward to polish the cuticle of your hair. It will lay flatter, thus leaving your hair smooth and shiny.
Now that you have picked up a few tricks and been trained by the pros, you should be ready to brush off any hair worries and turn on the heat. Get blowing!