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How to air-dry your hair…the right way
Letting your hair dry naturally always sounds like a good idea…until it ends up looking flat and frizzy. We promise there is a secret to getting it right.
IT STARTS WITH THE CUT
“It’s important to have a haircut that works with your natural texture, so it looks amazing when you air-dry it,” says Marilisa Sears, artistic director for Marc Anthony Hair Care. “If you have straight hair, cutting into the ends or ‘shattering them’ will give it movement,” she explains. “Waves and curls need layers to add dimension.”
COMB WITH CAUTION
“Your hair is weakest when it’s wet, so avoid combing until it’s dry,” says Sears. (And brushing wet hair? Absolute no.) If you need to tackle tangles, do it in the shower before you rinse out your conditioner. “To avoid breakage, use your fingers to comb the product through your hair,” says Leo Izquierdo, hairstylist, and co-founder of IGK Hair Care.
DITCH YOUR BATH TOWEL
OK, don’t ditch it entirely…but use a microfiber towel or even an old T-shirt to dry your hair instead. “Microfiber fabric and the cotton of a T-shirt will soak up water without causing snarls like regular towels do,” explains Sears. This means less damage *and* less frizz.
Once you’ve towel-dried and applied your products, it’s time to chill and keep your hands off your hair. “Too much fussing will make your hair frizzy,” says Sears. “A bit of patience is all an air-dry girl needs.”
Heatless curling sets are all over TikTok and, while those do work, you could just braid your hair into pigtails to dry as you sleep, says hairstylist Aaron Grania. “That will minimize frizz and maintain your texture,” he says. Just snooze on a satin or silk pillowcase to avoid damage.
PRODUCTS MAKE IT PERFECT
Do the number one mistake people make when trying to air-dry their hair? “Using products that don’t prevent frizz or provide hydration,” says Izquierdo. Here’s what you’ll need instead…
Gently rake a smoothing styling lotion through damp hair, rather than scrunching. “You can also use flat clips at your roots to keep frizz and flyaways at bay until your hair is totally dry,” says Grania.
A lightweight formula will give your hair texture without weighing it down, shares Sears. Scrunch it into wet hair as you apply to encourage the waves to take shape.
“Good curls are made with moisture, so apply a hydrating cream on dripping wet hair,” says Sears. “Be generous—you want curls drenched. Then gently squeeze out water, cup your hair from the ends and scrunch up.”