How to Use a Hair Dryer Like a Pro

Eunice Lucero | 23 April 2016

So get this: It’s (mostly) all in the wrist.

You have the products and the tools, but can never create the same salon-grade results. You know: Those soft, bouncy locks that make you feel like a million bucks. Let’s just chalk it up to having the know-how to create immaculate styles that come with experience and the right products, particularly with tools like the hair dryer.

Getting professional-looking locks with a hair dryer doesn’t begin and end with getting the priciest one on the market. Moreover, it’s all about working your angles (literally) and knowing how to correctly heat style, while keeping your hair’s integrity in check too! Click on for some tips and tricks to finally getting your money’s worth out of your humble hair dryer:

How to Properly Wield Your Hair Dryer

How to Use a Hair Dryer Like a Pro: Tips and Advice

Step 1: Pre-Dry

Most professional hairdressers are advocates of pre-drying. Not only is heat-styling locks that are dripping wet an exercise in futility, it can also be severely damaging on your strands. This crucial pre-drying step involves first blotting hair with an absorbent towel (Ed’s tip: a paper towel is also effective) then wiggling your dryer’s nozzle, while the hair dryer is set on medium, all around the head from the hairline to the nape. The goal: getting hair at least 90 percent dry.

Finger-combing while you pre-dry helps speed up the process as well, but some prefer to switch out the regular nozzle on their hair dryer with a diffuser. Those with wavy or curly hair will benefit from the latter, as this attachment dries hair quickly without separating curls or causing them to frizz out.

hair dryer like a pro wet hair
Worry not, dryer novices: Your wet-bun days are over.

Step 2: Detangle

Remove all knots in your hair using a wide-toothed comb or a professional detangling brush. Run your detangling tool in a downwards motion as you start near the ends and slowly move your way up, each time gently tugging in increments to minimize tension and potentially breaking the hair shaft. Misting your hair with a light leave-in conditioner or detangling spray (we adore Nexxus New York Salon Care Humectress Luxe Lightweight Conditioning Mist) can lubricate and give shine to strands as it minimizes friction.

Step 3: Prep

In lieu of leave-in conditioner, you can also opt to prime hair for the hair dryer with a heat protectant or styling spray, like Suave Luxe Style Infusion Volumizing Weightless Blow Dry Spray. Once hair is coated, separate strands into sections, securing each by twirling into firm knots and fastening with a darby clip or hair clamp.

Step 4: Start From the Bottom

Unfurl the bottom-most section of your hair, or those nearest your neckline. Roll your section under a large curling brush (natural bristles are great here) and get ready to put in some elbow grease! Using the regular, slanted nozzle attachment (twist it horizontally) and a medium to high setting on your hair dryer, move your dryer up and down the hair curled on the brush, directing the nozzle downwards and allowing the air flow to seal the cuticle down flat for more shine. Employ some firm yet light-handed tension and work incrementally. Repeat on the opposite side. For the middle part at the back of your head, gently tug upwards and away from your head, or just divide the center part and have it join either the left or right sections for a quicker fix.

Step 5: Repeat

Repeat the process on all sections, saving the topmost ones near the hairline (left and right) and crown (topmost) for last. For the side sections, roll the brush on the underside of the hair using your opposite hand (i.e. right hand, left side) for more control. Dry your hair outwards from roots to ends, directing airflow downwards and away from your face. Repeat this on the opposite side. If you have a middle or side part, you can skip sectioning around the crown altogether; drying the topmost area, especially in an upwards and outwards motion away from the head, can help infuse some volume and lift. Finish by refining your part with your fingers and running through a tiny amount of shine serum or hair oil, such as Dove Regenerative Nourishment Serum-In-Oil, along the lengths. You can also opt to curl ends slightly by twisting them around the brush barrel and giving them a final blast with your hair dryer before unfurling.

Are you ready to use your hair dryer like a pro?