We Tested the Pixie Diffusing Technique That’s All Over TikTok (& We’re Saying Goodbye to Air-Drying Curls)

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We apologize in advance for sounding like a broken record, but TikTok truly is that girl. We’ve been graced with so many simple hair hacks through the platform that our locks have never looked and felt better. And the latest drying technique that’s trending is a curly gal’s dream.

Meet “pixie diffusing,” which has swept the popular platform as of late for its quick results. If you’re looking for more definition and less frizz, this hair drying method might be worth a try. Erinn Courtney, a hairstylist for StyleSeat in Los Angeles, walks us through the ins and outs of pixie diffusing and shares some pointers on how to do it ourselves ahead.

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What Is Pixie Diffusing?

If your first thought is this isn’t applicable to you because you don’t have a pixie cut, you got it all wrong. This hair drying technique actually works on all lengths and is more specific to texture—so curly and wavy locks—as opposed to how long your hair is. “Pixie diffusing is a method that encourages the hair's natural texture to come out” says Courtney. By using a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment to dry your hair, you can improve definition, boost volume and reduce frizz.

Why Is It So Popular?

Short answer: TikTok. A quick peek at the #pixiediffusing hashtag and you’ll see people going bananas over the method. “It went viral on TikTok because people were loving how easy it was to achieve salon results in the comfort of their own homes. It’s especially popular for people with textured hair because it allows the hair to fully dry with minimal to no frizz,” explains Courtney.

How To Try Pixie Diffusing At Home:

  1. Start with clean hair featuring your favorite shampoo and conditioner.
  2. Once your hair is washed, apply your styling products (i.e., a leave-in conditioner, gel, mousse, etc.) before applying a heat protectant in preparation for the diffuser.
  3. Flip your hair upside down and gather a section of it into your diffuser bowl. Courtney recommends holding the diffuser closer to the root for more volume.
  4. Hold here for 10 to 30 seconds on low heat and speed.
  5. Repeat the process all over until your hair is 80 to 85 percent dry.
  6. Flip your hair back and use your fingers to gently shake out your roots. Finish with a hair oil or serum to keep strands soft, defined and shiny.


“Pixie diffusing is not necessarily better than other drying methods, but if you're trying to cut down on frizz and achieve a more defined curl, it can help you with that,” says Courtney. While you can keep air drying, hair plopping or blow-drying right side up, adding this upside-down drying technique that focuses more on your scalp can also give you more body and bounce than other drying alternatives.

pixie diffusing
Chelsea Candelario/PureWow

Is It Beauty Editor Approved?

I’ll admit that I’m #teamairdry through and through. It’s been my lazy gal drying technique for years. (I’d prefer not to hold a blow dryer for 30 to 45 minutes to dry my massive mane.) That said, I recently tried pixie diffusing my hair and followed Courtney’s advice about holding the diffuser closer to my roots. The technique definitely made my curls look more voluminous, while minimizing frizz overall, which are two things I always strive for after wash day. It also sped up the entire drying process (as opposed to just waiting for it to air dry) and it kept my spirals intact.

Hm, I guess I’m reconsidering my post-wash routine…

Shop the diffusers: BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Universal Finger Diffuser ($15); InfinitiPRO by Conair Full Body & Shine Pro Hair Dryer ($30); Drybar The Bouncer Diffuser ($34); DevaCurl Devafuser Universal Diffuser ($50); Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer ($430);

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Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...