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If you look up the topic #HairTutorial on TikTok, you’ll find nearly 23 billion views — yes, billion. And the majority of tutorials within that hashtag appear to be blow drying tips. And for good reason — blow drying hair is burdensome. “It’s difficult,” acknowledges Cedric Celik, owner of Cedric Salon in Midtown New York. “It’s a juggling act because you’re holding a heavy dryer in one hand, a brush in the other, and attempting to achieve a sleek, smooth, and voluminous blowout with your arms in the air — it’s difficult, even for some professional stylists,” he says.
How Long Does It Take to Blow Dry Hair
Also, it seems to take forever to give yourself a good blowout. But how long is forever? Anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour is the standard amount of time it takes to successfully blow dry hair, says Rob Peetoom Salon stylist, Emily Knapton. “It depends on thickness, density, and texture,” she says. A few things can quickly speed up the process though, including a priming product and a nozzle attachment.
The Products You’ll Need to Blow Dry Your Hair At Home for a Salon-Worthy Look
While you don’t need many hair styling tools to master an at-home blowout, styling products are definitely a must. And other styling tools, although not totally necessarily, will make the overall process easier and faster, while upping the wow factor for the final result. Our experts recommend a handful of products for prep, during, and post-blow dry.
Preparation for Hair Blow Drying
A heat protectant, or blow-dry cream as it is often called, can come in many forms, from sprays to serums to creams. Despite the differing textures, they mostly all perform the same goal: protecting the hair from extreme heat. “A blow-dry cream hydrates, adds shine, and protects against heat damage, so why wouldn’t you want to use one prior to blowing out your hair?” asks celebrity colorist and DpHue co-founder, Justin Anderson. He loves his brand’s new Color Fresh Blow Dry Creme, which is a heat protectant cream formulated with hydrating argan oil and shea butter to restore moisture and add shine. “It’s also formulated with a UV absorber to protect against UV color fading, as well as heat and humidity protection to fight heat damage, and even color dulling and frizz,” he adds.
A great blow-dry cream can even help you speed up trying time, like René Furterer’s Style Blowout Balm. It helps you achieve a straighter and more frizz-free finish, and also helps to cut down on blow dry time.
DpHue Color Fresh Blow Dry Creme
René Furterer Style Blowout Balm
Products to Use During Your At-Home Blow Out
Trust us: Invest in a blow dryer, especially if you’re using it frequently. Yet, that doesn’t mean you have to purchase the most expensive — but in our opinion, totally worth it — Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. “It’s the best blow dryer on the market; the heat output options, plus the wind speeds help to expedite the blow drying process,” says celebrity stylist Adam Maclay.
But there are plenty of incredible, affordable options, even under $100. Most important when searching for a heat tool is the basic performance. Find a “good blow dryer with consistent airflow and heat settings,” says Bianca Garcia, stylist and educator at Bumble and Bumble’s Meatpacking Salon. That’s it. (Here’s a shortcut though if you’re still on the hunt: We uncovered the best hair dryers.)
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
You might be tempted to toss the accompanying concentrated, flat vent attachment — but seriously don’t. This under-appreciated tool focuses the flow of the air, allowing you to target sections of the hair. “A blow dry nozzle to concentrate where the air is blowing helps so much,” says Knapton. “The air should always be pushing the cuticle down.” This helps to deliver a much smoother, sleeker look without any additional effort on your end.
Utilizing a brush during a blowout is the fastest and most effective way to make your hair look salon-worthy. It is a bit of a juggling act though, having to hold the dryer in one hand, while manipulating the brush with your other hand. This process will take practice, says Cedric, who adds that it takes stylists years to perfect their technique, but a brush is absolutely mandatory for getting that perfect blowout. Which brush though? Well, that depends on the final result you’re after.
Round brushes are the most commonly used brush shape by stylists and professionals. The smaller the brush barrel, the curlier it’ll make your hair. A large round brush barrel will deliver plenty of body, but without super defined curls. If you’re looking for a straight blowout, a paddle brush will help you achieve that smooth texture quickly.
Another factor to consider when it comes to brushes is their material.
- Vented, ceramic/metal round brushes: These are great for speeding up the entire process (especially if you have a lot of hair or curls). It works like a heat conductor, helping you speed up the drying time. “It works similar to a curling iron because the barrel heats up, but it’s less damaging,” says Knapton. This Ghd Natural Bristle Round Brush is a solid option.
- Boar bristle brushes: A more luxurious option best suited for detangling long, wavy or curly hair without snagging. If you’re looking for volume, a boar bristle round brush, like this one from Y.S. Park, is your secret weapon. These Japanese-made brushes are healthier for hair than their synthetic counterparts, and they last a lifetime.
- Mixed bristle brushes: Usually a combination of nylon and natural bristles, this type of brush will get you the ‘90s ultra-glam look stat. These bristles create a lot more tension when pulling through the hair, giving you serious lift at the root and all-over body.
Ghd Natural Bristle Round Brush
Y.S. Park Black Carbon Tiger Styler Round Brush
Products to Use Post-Blow Dry
You’ve done the hard work, now here’s what you’ll need to do to make it last.
To seal in the look and get rid of pesky flyaways, try an oil on the ends of your hair. Garcia loves using the smallest drop of the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil to keep hair glossy.
Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil
Spritzing on a texture spray adds a touch of volume and that je ne sais quoi style, so you can fully mimic salon results at home. Try the award-winning and universally beloved Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray.
Or, if you already have dry shampoo lying around, utilize that. “Dry shampoo is going to add instant volume and texture to your blowout,” says Maclay. The good thing about using dry shampoo for texture is that you can be generous with your usage, spraying with abandon from roots to ends, without worrying about destroying your blowout with too much product. Plus, it will deliver that texture as it soaks up any excess oil. Just spray, let it sit for a few minutes, and then massage it into the roots and ends.
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray
Klorane Volumizing Dry Shampoo with Organic Flax
Velcro rollers aren’t necessary for your blowout, but they’ll give you a whole lot of volume without a lot of effort. After blow drying a section, set the hair around a large roller and secure it with a clip. Allow it to cool for a few minutes then let the hair out. It gives major va-va-voom to any blowout.
Now that you’re prepped, let’s get to the main event: Here’s every step, tip, and tool you’ll need to perfectly achieve a DIY blowout, from the comfort of your own home.
How to Blow Dry Your Hair
1. Shampoo and Condition Your Hair
A successful blowout starts in the shower. Start with a good cleanse using a shampoo and conditioner that best fits your hair type and blowout goals, whether you’re looking for volume, hydration or softness.
A good-quality hydrating shampoo and conditioner are particularly helpful for curly hair, as it’s usually washed less frequently to keep the curls healthy and moisturized. Try Jvn Hair Nurture Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner, which was designed to lock in moisture and reduce frizz for all hair types, but especially those with wavy or curly hair.
For fine to medium hair types, Maclay recommends a volumizing shampoo and conditioner to add body to the hair. He loves the Bumble and Bumble Thickening Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner. And if your hair is on the coarse side, a smoothing cleanser and conditioner will help soften the hair cuticle, giving you a shortcut to a polished blowout, says Maclay. He suggests the Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner.
Once you’ve found the products best suited to your hair type, focus on the scalp while sudsing up to gently cleanse (and also dislodge any product buildup). Then apply conditioner starting at the mid-length, which usually hits right around the tops of your ears, and rinsing through the ends. Avoid getting conditioner on the scalp, especially for those with fine hair, which often leads to limp, oily locks. Most importantly, make sure you thoroughly rinse all the product out of your hair.
Jvn Hair Nurture Hydrating Shampoo
Jvn Hair Nurture Hydrating Conditioner
Bumble and Bumble Thickening Volume Shampoo
Bumble and Bumble Thickening Volume Conditioner
Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo
Living Proof No Frizz Conditioner
2. Towel Dry Your Hair
Not all towels are created equal. Hair towels, like our favorite the YoulerTex Microfiber Hair Towel, are designed to protect and dry hair faster than a standard bath towel. Not only is a dedicated hair towel better for wet hair, but it also helps prevent breakage and frizz (less rubbing and friction equals smoother, happier hair). Another popular brand, Aquis, makes their hair towels out of a specially designed water-wicking material to absorb water from strands even faster. Their Rapid Dry Lisse D’Air Lightweight Travel Hair Wrap is easy to use and impossibly lightweight.
No matter your towel choice, the goal is to be as gentle as possible with minimal rubbing, as all hair types are at their most vulnerable when wet. This is doubly important for curly hair, as roughed up curls are a one-way ticket to frizz city. Plus, the drier your hair is, the less heat you have to use. So allow the towel to absorb excess water for at least 10 minutes.
YoulerTex Microfiber Hair Towel
Aquis Hair Wrap
Aquis Rapid Dry Lisse D’Air Lightweight Travel Hair Wrap
3. Protect, Then Detangle
Now that hair is damp and towel-dried, it’s time to detangle. “Start with towel-dried hair and apply products before you detangle,” says Knapton. “The brush will glide through easier, preventing damage.”
A heat protectant or leave-in conditioner will protect the delicate cuticles and strands from intense heat styling. We like the new Olaplex No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum, which not only defends hair from intense heat — up to 450 degrees — but also detangles, increases shine, tamps down on frizz and ensures a faster dry time. Yet if your hair needs a deep dose of TLC, reach for the professional-grade K18 Hair Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask. It’s beloved by stylists for a reason: The styling treatment/leave-in mask works immediately to revitalize and strengthen hair. You’ll notice bouncier, shinier and softer hair right away — we promise.
Once you’ve pulled the protector through your mid-length and ends, massage it gently into the roots. This ends to root technique ensures that the product goes where it is needed the most — the ends — and the leftover product on your hands is just about all the scalp needs.
Next, reach for a brush. If you have curls, grab a Denman brush. This best-selling brand is celebrated by curlies worldwide because it gently detangles without the need for tugging. If you have fine or medium texture hair, a wide-tooth comb will do just fine. Try Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross Wide Tooth Comb, which is a solid, universal tool for all hair types. For those with thicker or fine hair, or just a texture that is often in knots, opt for a Wet Brush for a bit more oomph to easily comb through any tangles.
Olaplex No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum
K18 Hair Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask
Denman Power Paddle Hair Brush
Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross Wide Tooth Comb
Wet Brush Original Detangler Hair Brush
4. Additional Products to Use for Drying Your Hair
“For fine to medium hair strands, I love using the Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray, coupled with a volumizing mousse,” says Maclay. He applies mousse, like the René Furterer Style Sculpting Mousse, to the roots and then the thickening spray from the roots to ends.
For more coarse to thick hair, Maclay recommends the ColorWow Dream Coat Anti-Frizz Treatment. This frizz-resistant styler is having a moment right now, thanks to ColorWow spokesman and Kim Kardashian’s stylist, Chris Appleton‘s viral TikTok showing how it literally repels water from the hair. Luckily, you don’t need to be a celebrity stylist to know how to use it; simply apply the treatment from root to ends, saturating the hair completely. The results last for up to four washes, so using just once or twice a month will do the trick.
If you have curls, you’ll want to add in a bit more moisture with Jvn Hair’s Complete Instant Recovery Serum, which is lightweight enough to work as a daily treatment to reduce breakage and increase hydration and shine.
Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray
René Furterer Style Sculpting Mousse
ColorWow Dream Coat Anti-Frizz Treatment
Jvn Hair Complete Instant Recovery Serum
5. Rough Dry Your Hair
Before you start to blow dry, you want your hair to be about 60 percent dry. You can let it air dry to that point if you have the time, but if not, you’ll need to rough dry with a hair dryer. This process is simple: Using your fingers only, gently tousle your hair around the hair dryer’s air stream.
Some pros like to flip the head upside down for extra volume, while others say just do whatever you find easiest. There aren’t many rules to rough drying, other than to quickly dry hair. Beyond just protecting the hair, rough drying will save you a ton of time — and arm strength as well. (After all, holding a blow dryer in one arm and corralling hair with a hairbrush in the other arm is difficult enough, no need to juggle it with too-wet hair.)
6. Section Your Hair
Now that hair is about 60 percent dry, section your hair like the pros. This will help you stay focused on one part at a time. Jordan Luger, a hair stylist at the Jenna Perry Hair Studio in New York, prefers to section hair into three parts: bottom, middle and top. If you have more hair, you can also organize your hair into smaller, more workable sections.
Once you’ve made your parts, twist up each section up into a small bun and use a hair clip, like this Briogeo option, to keep each area separate. When you’re ready to blow dry, start with the section closest to the nape of your neck.
Briogeo Grip & Clip
7. Brush and Dry
Using your desired brush, take a one- to two-inch section of hair (depending on the density of your hair) from the bottom section and start blow drying. “Round the hair around the brush at an equal elevation to create tension,” says Garcia. “Once the section is dry, release in a twisting motion.”
If you have really wavy or curly hair, hairdresser Kiley Fitzgerald suggests working in smaller sections. She also recommends using a lot of tension with your brush. If you’d like more body, Knapton likes to lift the brush 90 degrees from the root for super bouncy volume. But no matter your angle, keep working in small sections until the bottom section is completely done.
Most importantly, “really take your time,” cautions Fitzgerald. Once each section is fully dry, seal the cuticle with a shot of cool air. Maclay prefers to switch on the cold button while the hair is still wrapped around the brush to lock in the curl, wave or volume.
8. Pin It
If you have stubborn hair or fine locks that don’t hold curls well, Maclay swears by this 80s trick. While blow drying the top section, including your crown and front pieces, shock stands with a cold blast, then wrap small sections of hair, end to root, onto a large velcro roller and secure with a clip or bobby pin. He likes the Drybar High Tops Self-Grip Rollers because they have great grip and stay in the hair easily. He continues this process, working all along the top of the head and sides, directing the hair up to the sky. “That direction and tension are going to add the maximum volume to your roots,” he says. Allow the hair to fully dry in the rollers (for as long as possible), then take them out and give your head a good shake.
9. Protect and Lock It In
Now that hair is dry and lifted, seal in all that hard work with a frizz-protectant hairspray or cream. Luger suggests a serum or cream-based finishing product on the mid to ends of hair to help protect it.
For curls and thicker hair, the ColorWow Pop and Lock Gloss Serum can be applied to either wet or dry hair to help maintain frizz-free locks. If you prefer more of an undone, tousled look, reach for the René Furterer Style Texture Spray to add a bit of grittiness. For fine hair, a light hairspray, like DpHue Color Fresh Touchable Hairspray, will provide hold, as well as UV and color protection. For a stronger hold, Bumble and Bumble’s Spray De Mode will maintain the hair’s volume and shape.
To make your blowout really last, Maclay suggests applying dry shampoo to the roots two or three days post-blowout. This will soak up oil and grease while delivering a fresh jolt of volume and bounce. Follow his technique by spraying generously into roots and let it sit for a few minutes before combing through or massaging the product into roots in small circular motions.
How to Blow Dry Your Hair Fast
Only have 10 minutes? Here’s how to blow dry hair fast: Spritz a blow-drying styler, like Bumble and Bumble’s Heat Shield Blow Dry Accelerator, which Garcia says can help with any hair density. Then rough dry until all hair is nearly dry. Next, Fitzgerald suggests grabbing the section of hair directly behind the top of your head and round brushing it fully dry. This will quickly give the root some height and make hair look fuller without spending a ton of time on it. Then blow dry the front two side sections on each side of the face using a round brush, pulling it up and back with the brush for tension.
Bumble and Bumble Spray De Mode
DpHue Color Fresh Touchable Hairspray
Bumble and Bumble Heat Shield Blow Dry Accelerator
Meet the Experts
- Emily Knapton is a stylist for Rob Peetoom Williamsburg Salon. Rob Peetoom started his salon over 50 years ago in Holland, helping to innovate techniques still used today. The Brooklyn location opened in 2018 and has served as the US flagship for the ultra-chic salon.
- Justin Anderson is a celebrity colorist and the co-founder of haircare brand DpHue. He’s known for his vibrant, yet natural highlights, particularly blondes. His clients include Kristin Cavallari, Brie Larson, and Gwyneth Paltrow. His haircare line, DpHue, is centered around improving the overall health of color-treated hair.
- Kiley Fitzgerald is a celebrity stylist with an A-list client roster including Addison Rae, Maddie Ziegler, and Margaret Qualley. She specializes in effortless, healthy hair that never looks too ‘done.’
- Adam Maclay is an editorial and celebrity stylist whose work can be seen in L’Officiel, Elle, and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. His signature is the always-in-demand sexy-undone look.
- Bianca Garcia is a stylist and educator at Bumble and Bumble’s Meatpacking salon. Since starting in 1977 in New York City, Bumble and Bumble has become a leader in the haircare and salon industry. Their first ever product, Brilliantine (a hydrating styling cream) launched in 1991 and is still one of the brand’s best sellers today.
- Jordan Luger is a hair stylist at the Jenna Perry Hair Studio. Know a cool girl with impossibly chic hair? She probably goes to Jenna Perry Hair Studio, where Jenna and her crew of stylists create some of the coolest cuts and colors in the city.
Meet the Author
Kristin Limoges is a New York-based beauty and wellness freelance editor. Previously, she created the beauty and wellness vertical for Domino Magazine where she served as the lifestyle editor for both print and digital content. In addition to all things beauty, she also covers travel and wellness. She can usually be found hair masking, face masking, and body masking simultaneously in her Chinatown apartment.