The Best Ways to Air-Dry Your Hair (and Not Look Like a Poodle)
Whatever your texture or length
Now that our worlds have been turned upside down (learning that fully air-drying your hair can actually damage it), how should we go about styling it? Well, that all comes down to choosing the right products for your specific texture and using slight heat to help (not hurt!) the air-drying process. Turns out, a little bit of both yields the best results.
For fine hair
Put away the heavy creams and oils. Instead, spritz on a lightweight leave-in conditioner and comb it through. This will help smooth the cuticle (key to preventing fuzz) without weighing things down. Next, take your blow-dryer and quickly blast your roots, lifting sections as you go. Give the rest of your hair a rough blow (scrunching the bottom sporadically) until it's about 60 percent dry. Let it air-dry the rest of the way. If you need a little more polish afterward, spritz a shine serum into your palms (not directly on your hair) and work it sparingly through the ends only.
For thick hair
Run a quarter-sized amount of styling cream from mid-shaft through the ends. Separate hair into four sections and twist each one into a small bun. Secure the buns with a U-shaped pin (bobby pins and hair elastics create unwanted dents). Unravel hair when 80 percent dry and blow-dry the rest of the way, raking fingers through to blend the waves together as you go. Finish with a little more cream if needed.
For curly hair
Coat curls generously with a moisturizing cream. Next, using a diffuser, dry your hair until it's about halfway there. Then twist ringlets into your desired shape and avoid touching them while they're drying, as this can disrupt the curl pattern. If you have kinkier curls, after applying the cream and diffusing hair, try braiding it into four tight sections. The tightly woven braids will help tamp down the ends of the curl (where it tends to get puffy). Once hair dries completely, work a few drops of hydrating oil through to separate the ringlets and add some shine.
For wavy hair
The easiest of the bunch to style, wavy-haired gals simply need to coax out their natural bends with a little mousse and muscle. To do this, rake a tennis ball-sized amount of mousse through damp hair. Then, rough dry your hair on a low heat setting until it's about halfway done. Next, pull it into a big, loose braid and coil the braid into a bun, securing it a few inches below the crown. This will give your hair a bit more volume at the roots. Shake it all loose when dry.
For short hair
After you've towel-dried and combed out your hair, spritz sea salt spray all over. Then flip your head upside down and lightly blow-dry while scrunching strands to produce volume and encourage waves. When your hair is halfway dry, stop and twist a few pieces in the front into small buns and secure. Let the hair air-dry the rest of the way, and take down the buns. Finish with a few quick blasts of cool air to loosen up the curls.