There are certain tricks every woman should have up her sleeve. Knowing how to check for lipstick on her teeth, having a backup plan for when a date goes wrong and being able to change a flat tire are pretty much mandatory before turning 30. Well, I’m adding another one to that list: the ability to turn any bad hair day into a style moment with a simple, quick blowout.
It can save you on vacation when the blowout bar is totally booked, when a last minute cocktail party invite comes your way or when that job interview gets moved up a few hours unexpectedly. Though it takes a bit of practice to call yourself a blow-dry queen, it’s definitely worth the work. If you’re not sure where to start or need a refresher on all the basics, this list should give you every tip you need for a perfect blowout!
1. Invest in a great blow-dryer.
The type of blow-dryer you use really makes a difference in how your hair turns out and how long that style will ultimately last. A lower-end, more generic blow-dryer will give really high heat at a lower pressure and this can cause frizz and give your hair heat damage. Invest in a salon grade blow-dryer and get medium to high heat at any type of pressure, a cool shot button to seal your style effectively and tourmaline and ionic technology to prevent frizz, static and dryness. Oh, and it will be much more lightweight so you don’t have to worry about your aching arms through the whole blowout!
2. Prep the hair before doing anything.
While your hair is still wet, you’ll need to prep accordingly. Grab the products that you’ve already chosen for your style. Work them into either your roots or your mid-strands and ends (depending on what products you chose) and then make sure to comb each through. Use a wide-toothed comb for thicker or curlier hair and a fine-toothed comb for thin hair.
3. Use protection.
I can’t express to you how important it is to use really good products! A lower grade product at its worst will weigh your hair down, make your hair look and feel greasy and build up in your hair very quickly. A salon recommended product, however, will give you volume, bounce, shine and smoothness. The type of product you use will vary based on your hair type, but one thing that’s a must for every blowout is a heat protection cream. It’s kind of like sunscreen. If you’re going to expose your hair to the heat, you need to make sure you cover up first.
4. Pre-dry the hair if necessary.
For a blowout on curly hair (that you want to smooth out), you’ll want to maintain any moisture to smooth each hair strand. Immediately section of pieces and blow-dry your hair without pre-drying. If you try to pre-dry first, you’ll really battle with frizz. For straighter hair, you’ll want to pre-dry the hair to 80-90% dry before you even touch the hair with a brush. You can pre-dry using a detangling brush for extra control. But this phase of a blowout is for forcing moisture out of the hair, so the key thing is to rough up the cuticle to accentuate the natural texture.
5. Section your hair with clips before round-brushing.
Straight-haired folks: Once you’ve pre-dried your hair to 80-90% dry, you have to section your hair. This is so important because if you don’t have a system for how you’re working through the head, you’ll get lost, miss pieces of hair and end up with a less than ideal finished result. Use butterfly or duckbill clips to section the back at the nape, above and in front of the ears, around the crown and on top of the head. Start with the front and bangs, through the top and finish at the bottom. This way, if your arms do get tired and you decide to quit, the whole top and front will already be done and only the bottom will be flatter.
6. Use the correct brushes.
The correct brush you use will be determined by your hair type, texture and the overall look you want to achieve. For lots of volume and just a bit of bend and bounce to your hair, use a large, ceramic brush. For some bigger waves and a good amount of volume, use a medium sized ceramic brush. If you have shorter hair and need a basic blow-dry, a small ceramic brush is great. If you are trying to smooth curl, use a boar bristle brush. If you want some wave with loads of shine, use your ceramic brush and then finish with a boar brush. To brush the hair before using your round-brush, use a cushioned flat brush or a vented paddle brush.
7. Always hold the dryer parallel to the hair and use tension.
When working through the hair with your brush, it’s important to keep your angle going in the same direction as the hair. If you work against that direction and blow up the hair strand, you will cause breakage and tons of frizz. If you need to blow-dry the hair with elevation for more volume, pay attention to where the air is blowing.. Similarly, if you hold the nozzle too directed into your brush, you’ll heat up the ceramic brush too much and burn your hair. You want the nozzle to be angled exactly parallel with your hair! And throughout the entire process, make sure to use lots of tension.
8. And use that nozzle.
That nozzle that comes with that fancy blow-dryer? Yeah, you NEED to use that. I’ve experimented before doing a blowout with and without that concentrator and trust me, it makes a monumental difference! It concentrates the air into one small vent to allow you to focus on one section of hair at a time. Without that nozzle, you end up with hair blowing everywhere while you try to smooth out your section; it’s very counterproductive and your style will last all of 5 minutes.
9. Rollers are your best friend.
I am obsessed with my rollers. I use Kevin Murphy’s and they don’t require heat, so I use them with my blowouts all the time. Once I finish one section, I put my dryer down, grab a roller and roll up my section while it’s still hot from the dryer. I do that throughout the whole head to get more hold, more volume and more smoothness. And once each roller has completely cooled, you can take them out and be totally finished. Every time I add this small step to my blowout, my hairstyle usually keeps for an extra day.
10. Use your cool shot button to set the style.
Once you’ve finished the entire blowout (or if you’re letting some curls sit in pins), use your cool shot button to seal the cuticle shut. This will guarantee that your style will hold much longer because nothing can get into your hair strand to collapse or change your hairstyle. If you want, you can also finish with a hairspray and/or a shine spray!
Voila! The perfect blowout! It’s also important to note that most salons offer styling classes to any lady who wants to up her blowout game. Some stylists will even come to your house for a blowout lesson party. If you have have a hard time getting all of these tips down, feel free to contact me for some more advice. And most importantly, share your favorite blow-out tips in the comments section.