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A quick search for haircare on A Love Affair with Beauty and you’ll see how I struggle with my locks. Using the right shampoo and conditioner has helped transform my hair dramatically but I always let it down when it comes to the post-wash steps. Straight or curly, after washing I always leave my hair to air-dry thinking that was what’s best for my mane. Less heat equals less damage right? Turns out, it’s not that simple and what you really need is a good hair dryer and a little bit of know-how!
I’m sure all of us at some point have experienced the frustration that often comes with letting hair dry naturally. Those days where dry shampoo just won’t cut it anymore, so against your better judgement you wash it late at night after work, only for it to still be wet in the morning. Drying at an uneven rate, with some sections going into full frizz mode whilst the rest stays dripping down your clean clothes. Don’t even get me started on the colder months. My hair dries so slowly in winter, the words drowned rat constantly swim round my mind.
All this time spent with wet hair is actually causing more harm than good. When hair comes in contact with water, the cuticles of each strand are stretched. Once this happens, this protective coating deforms, exposing the delicate hair proteins underneath. Since it can no longer relax back to how it was before, the cuticle stays lifted giving hair that rough and frizzy feel. By leaving your hair wet, it remains in this weakened state for an extended period making it more susceptible to damage.
So great, all I need to do is blast my locks with a high speed hair dryer right?!
Well no. As with everything, you get out what you put in and with a hair dryer learning the correct technique is crucial. Several steps need to be considered to dry your hair in a way that results in the least amount damage.
Hair Dryer Protection
First things first, use a heat protection spray. You wouldn’t go on holiday in sweltering heat without suncream so why do the same for your hair. Heat sprays can provide protection for the entire length of hair and are ridiculously easy to use. Protecting the cuticle against the high heat, a spray can also help prevent split ends.
Distance and Temperature
Next, make sure you use a hair dryer at the right distance and correct temperature. Using a continuous motion and keeping the hair dryer at a distance of 15-20cm will allow you to dry your hair without it suffering from constant intense heat.
A hair dryer with different settings will give you the most control over your styling. Start on a low/cool setting whilst your hair is still wet and gradually increase the heat as hair dries. When your hair is warm to the touch, it’s time to take it up a notch and finish styling. You may have noticed hairdressers will always semi-dry your hair first before properly blow drying. It’s time to start practicing these professional steps at home!
The Right Attachment
Finally, use the right attachment. Using the correct nozzle will stop your hair flying about and going frizzy. It will also direct the heat in the most appropriate way for the style you want to achieve. A thin nozzle attachment allows you to dry your hair from root to tip. The air flows in the direction of the hair, along the cuticles creating a smooth sleek style. A diffuser is perfect for drying curly hair or if you want a more natural look. The wide attachment distributes heat evenly helping keep volume whilst reducing the risk of frizz.
If done correctly, using a hair dryer is far less damaging than air-drying. Applying the right drying technique allows you to create any style you want without having to worry you’re ruining your hair. Personally, using a hair dryer gives me the level of control I desire with the freedom of having super sleek or bouncy curls whenever I want.
Happy hair drying,
*This post is sponsored by Panasonic. All views and opinions are my own.