I would be lying if I said I looked forward to wash day. The thought of spending 3-4 hours dedicated to taming my springy coils doesn’t excite me in the least bit. In order to give my hair the TLC it truly deserves, I usually schedule nothing before or after I decide to wash. If I rush through, or skip out on one step (like properly oiling my scalp), I will surely be paying for it later. Dealing with a dry scalp or tangled hair is no fun, not to mention it can be painful, which is why I have to take my time when combing through my coils. After washing, conditioning, moisturizing and detangling, comes the process of drying my hair, which usually takes the most time. Depending on the style, I usually split my hair into eight equal parts and then blow it out with a Gold N Hot Professional Styler and Hair Dryer with the help of a Denman brush.
Due to various hair types, Oprah’s hairstylist Andre Walker made a hair classification system,which has since been adopted by many other stylists. According to his chart, my natural hair, which almost comes to my shoulder, is a 4c — and most of the time, my curls have a mind of their own. And although I love my coiled curls, my shrinkage can easily make me look like an extra on a Soul Glo commercial, so blow drying my hair is my easiest go-to.
I will be the first to admit that I am always looking for better techniques to dry my hair. So I reached out to celebrity hairstylists Kendall Dorsey and Takisha Sturdivant-Drew — who have collectively worked with Anne Hathaway, Yara Shahidi, Solange, and Ashley Graham to name a few — for ultimate hair drying hacks for every hair type.
Kendall Dorsey: Although it is straight, you always run into the issue of flyaways, or dull-looking hair if not treated right. One important tip is always to make sure when the hair is wet to close the cuticle (which you can do by washing it with a blast of cold water at the end). This helps add shine. Use a paddle brush to get a sleek look, like Olivia Garden’s Paddle Brush, and a quality hair dryer, like a Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, so that the hair dries quickly.
I just worked with Lizzo on her album and used a 42 in a straight-haired wig. A wig needs to be treated like your own hair, it needs love. So just like straight hair, I made sure to use a quality shampoo and conditioner. I used évolis shampoo and conditioner the night before the shoot, this gives it that beautiful, soft, aerated feel. Then, I made sure to dry [the wig] using a Dyson on the cool shot setting to keep the hair sleek and ensure it would lay flat against the head. I then like to section with a flat iron (one of my favorite quality irons is the by Gina Excel Infared Flat Iron) to really emphasize the gleam and keep the hair sleek and smooth. Then, I like to finish off with Oribe Superfine Hair Spray to keep the hair fresh and moving.
Takisha Sturdivant-Drew: When drying straight hair, add a dime-size amount of heat protectant (Matrix’s Style Link Prep Heat Buffer Thermal Styling Spray) to the palms of your hands and rub it throughout the hair. Second, it’s always best to start from the ends with a comb attachment and work your way to the roots to smooth the hair out straight. Halfway through drying, add an oil serum to the hair for a beautiful shine, then continue to dry the hair.
Dorsey: My favorite way to dry wavy hair is hand styling — all you do is make an S-shape with the hair and scrunch it, then just squeeze it (tight) for 5 to 7 seconds under a diffuser, and it’ll give it a loose wave. When I release my hand, it sets and sits. While holding that S-shape, you put the hair dryer over it, and it gives you that Carrie Bradshaw full, wavy hair. Also, wavy hair can be tricky, each head is different, but wavy hair needs product and one of my secret weapons is dry shampoo. It’s light, gives just enough hold for wavy hair, and secures the look.
I just worked with Solange on the cover of her album, When I Get Home, that dropped last week. [On] that wavy hair look, I used the Hot Tools 1’ Marcel Iron, and I created a slight natural looking wave using a crimping format. The hair was then brushed out with an Olivia Garden Paddle Brush, and used a light mist of Dove Dry Shampoo, which gave it the hold and texture we needed.
Sturdivant-Drew: On wavy hair, I like to leave some mousse (Paul Mitchell Extra Body Sculpting Foam) in the hair because it keeps the hair light and free. Most of all it adds volume. Then, I take my Dyson dryer to diffuse the hair for a messy texture on medium heat.
Dorsey: Curly hair is one of my favorites to work with, but it can get very frizzy and dry looking, so we always need to make sure we keep the moisture in. For curly hair, first I like to shampoo and condition with a quality shampoo and conditioner, like Pravana Itense Therapy conditioner — it gives the hair a nice drink of moisture. Then, I detangle the hair section by section (depending on the severity of the curl or frizz situation) and use my curly hair secret weapon: a diffuser. For curly hair girls, it’s your best friend. Depending on the hair, I like to dry curly hair upside down with the diffuser and shake out the strands. This lets the curls loosen and naturally fall back into place. Additionally, use a clarifying treatment once a week to remove buildup and make those curls bouncier!
Sturdivant-Drew: I like to add Hask’s Controlled Curls Hair Defining Spray to the hair to keep it in place but to also make sure it’s not a hard finish. I put the blow dryer on low heat to finish off the style — I’ve used this technique on Kerry Washington.
Dorsey: Coily hair needs tender, loving care. When air drying coily hair — after you have cleansed, conditioned and detangled it — make sure you squeeze or shake the excess moisture from the coils, then make sure to use a microfiber towel, or even a t-shirt, to gently dry the coils. I like DevaCurls’ DevaTowel[because] it absorbs just enough water from the curl. If you want to add some heat to it, always use a diffuser. Instead of harsh, direct heat, the diffuser will spread the hot air to a bigger surface area. The force of a normal blow dryer also moves your coils around and can disturb the curl pattern. Use your dryer on a medium or low heat setting to avoid heat damage.
For product, I always combine a moisturizing product with a serum so that you can easily detangle your hair. Once detangled, add gel, like Olive Oil Styling Gel for control and use the shingling method. (This method involves using a comb to spread product from root to end, stretching and smoothing hair in a downward direction.) This will allow you to achieve maximum curl definition and length.
Sturdivant-Drew: Conditioner is the way to go — and a heavy conditioner (Moroccanoil Hydrating Conditioner) at that. Being that coily hair is dry, it needs a lot of product to hydrate it and keep the shine. I only like to dry it on low heat, then let the hair air dry for a glossy, full look.
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