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In theory, air-drying your hair sounds really easy. You hop out of the shower, rub your hair with a towel, and you’re good to go. Except, if you’re like most women, your hair probably looks like a frizzy mess once it’s completely dry. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. With warmer weather on the horizon, now is the perfect time to put away the hot tools and master your air-drying technique.
Step 1: Pat your hair gently with a microfiber towel, like Turbie Twist Hair Towel ($9.99, bedbathandbeyond.com), removing as much water as you can. Not only does this towel prevent frizz, “it takes water out quickly and will literally cut your drying time in half,” says Julie Featherman, a hairstylist and owner of Philadelphia-based Juju Salon. A paper towel or T-shirt will also work.
Step 2: When your hair is 50 percent dry, use a wide-tooth comb or a Wet Brush ($8.99, thewetbrush.com) to get rid of any knots. “You don’t want to wait until the hair is almost completely dry because it encourages more tangles,” says Featherman.
Step 3: For a little bit of structure and hold, Featherman recommends an aloe vera-based gel, like Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Styling Gel ($12.99, maxgreenalchemy.com). (Don’t worry, it’s not crunchy!) “Starting with the ends of your hair, rake your fingers up to the midshaft and then up to the root,” says Featherman, who suggests using one pump of product for your entire head. “Finish by cupping your hand and scrunching the product in for a little texture.”
Step 4: Need some height? “After the hair has already dried, use Velcro rollers at the top of the head, hit it with some hairspray, let it sit for a few minutes, and then remove,” says Featherman.
Step 1: Because frizz can be a major issue with this hair type, always use a microfiber towel to blot excess water. Microfiber towels are super absorbent and don’t create friction like regular ones do. Then use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to brush through the hair.
Step 2: For a beachy look, apply sea salt spray, like Bumble and bumble Surf Infusion ($29, bumbleandbumble.com) when your hair is 70 percent dry. “Mist the hair lightly and then scrunch it, lightly pulling the hair away from the scalp,” says Featherman. Want a bit more wave? Twist small sections of hair into ropes, then gently tousle them. Finish up by spritzing on more sea salt spray.
Step 1: You don’t want to brush through curly hair (unless frizz is the look you’re going for). Instead, Featherman recommends getting all of the tangles out with your fingers. “While you’re conditioning, rake through with your fingers,” she explains.
Step 2: Once you’re out of the shower, the best way to towel-dry your hair is by flipping your head over. “Scoop under the hair with the T-shirt or [microfiber] towel and scrunch the hair up,” says Feathermean. “Then gently flip the hair back up. That’s going to lift the hair off the root and encourage the tendrils to start forming.”
Step 3: You should apply product depending on your needs—and don’t be afraid to mix a few together. If you have frizz and you want to add curl definition, for example, make a cocktail of gel and a little bit of cream or oil, like John Masters Organics Dry Hair Nourishment & Defrizzer ($16, johnmasters.com), says Featherman.
Step 4: If your curls are heavy and you want to add lift at the root, Featherman suggests using a two-pronged hair clip, like Diane Double Prong Clips ($3.49, houseofbeautyworld.com). “After towel-drying and applying product, lift hair up at the root and slide the clip in,” she says. “Place them all around your part, the top of the crown, and then the sides. Once the hair is dry, remove the clips and you have this beautiful height.”
Step 1: After shampooing and conditioning, shake out your hair while you’re still in the shower to remove excess water. Then, use a microfiber towel and be gentle, “making sure not to disturb the flow and the definition of the curl pattern,” says Derick Monroe, a celebrity stylist and SoftSheen-Carson style squad member.
Step 2: To keep your hair moisturized and curls defined, you need a cocktail of products consisting of liquid leave-in conditioner, oil, and cream. “The leave-in conditioner prepares the hair to absorb moisture,” says Monroe. The oil absorbs into each strand, and the sealing cream is the final step to seal in moisture.
Step 3: If you want waves or more of an S-patterned curl, Monroe recommends twisting the hair using Dark and Lovely’s Au Naturale Easy Twist Gel N’ Butter ($9.99, softsheen-carson.com). “The desired pattern will determine if you do large or small twists throughout the head,” he says.
More from Women’s Health:
7 Gorgeous Ways to Style Wet Hair
How to Give Yourself a Salon-Style Scalp Massage
Are You Using Your Shampoo the Right Way