Curly hair can be unpredictable and difficult to manage. More often than not, if you leave your curly hair to air dry on its own, your curls can lose their volume and definition. And if you blow dry, you'll probably end up with frizzy hair. The secret to beautiful curls is using a diffuser in the drying process — a diffuser is the one of the most important hair tools to own if you have naturally curly hair. Without one, a standard blow dryer will only create frizz and disturb your curl pattern. Diffusing your curls makes them soft, bouncy and shiny. So pay attention — we’re telling you how to diffuse curly hair without frizz ahead!
A diffuser is a plastic attachment for the blow dryer that changes the way air flows from a straight stream to a more "diffused" circle of air. It’s designed to distribute air more evenly around your head, gently drying curls, while reducing frizz and keeping the curl pattern intact. A diffuser adds volume to your curls and increases their definition; not to mention, it can cut your air drying time in half. A diffuser replicates air drying but in a faster, more controlled manner. Hair diffusers can be used by anyone, but they’re a game-changer when it comes to styling curly hair.
Despite the concentrated airflow a diffuser provides, it's still possible to overheat the hair, which can mess up your curls and cause frizz. Use high heat on a low blow setting to start, then finish up with a quick blast of cool air to set the shape.
Start by washing your curls and then gently detangling with your fingers. Don’t comb your hair wet curls as they can snap or break, and ultimately disrupt your curl pattern, causing frizz.
Next wrap your wet curls in a t-shirt.The rough texture of most towels is too abrasive when rubbed against the hair, causing it to break easily. Wrapping a t-shirt around your curls will get the excess water out without over-drying your hair.
Time to prep your curly hair to help it hold its pattern and guard against heat damage. Once your hair is damp, spray 5 to 20 pumps of a curl primer (depending on your length) from the base to your hair to the ends. This will condition and protect your curls.
Apply a curl cream throughout your curls and work in sections to spread it evenly. Curl cream works on all curl types and patterns to provide moisture, definition, and shine. Not to mention, it will really keep frizz under control.
With your hair still in its semi-wet state, use your fingers to twist your curls to help them stay curly as they dry. Remember not to comb or brush. If you still have tangles, use a leave-in conditioner while running your fingers through the knots until they’re detangled.
Depending on how long you have to get ready, give your curls a bit of air dry time to soak up the products and let your curls fall into their natural shape. Try different drying times to see which gives you the best curl results.
The real secret to diffusing your curls is the perfect heat setting. Despite the concentrated airflow a diffuser provides, it's still possible to overheat and mess up your curls, causing frizz. Use high heat on a low blow setting to start, then finish up with a quick blast of cool air to set the shape.
Using the attachment to avoid touching your curls, grab a small section, place it in the diffuser, and start drying curls from the ends up. Work in small sections up to the roots. Once most of your ends are dry, flip your head upside down and diffuse the roots using the same technique.
After diffusing, use a hair oil to lock in moisture and give your curls some extra love. Smooth it over your hair, not through your curls, from the mid-shaft to ends to soften and add shine to your curly hair. For more, see our stylists’ tips for using hair oil.
Once you’ve successfully diffused and set your curls it’s time to keep your hands off. Touching them too often is the quickest way to sabotage all the curl care and hard work you’ve just put in. Once you’re happy with your curls, leave them be!
Saturate your curls with enough of the right products to form the smoothest, most defined results. Once you're out of the shower prep with a primer and curl cream. Apply enough product so that when you scrunch your hair, you can hear it squish.
One of the biggest causes of frizzy hair post-diffuser is not using the lowest heat and pressure setting on an ion hair dryer. Be patient! Low heat and low pressure create a longer styling process, but it's worth it for the best curls.
Constantly bouncing the diffuser around creates frizz. Keep the diffuser in place and flip your hair to the section you want to dry. Tilt your head around as needed and hold the diffuser in place until each section is completely dry.
Touching your hair at any point throughout the diffusing process will make it frizzy. As difficult as it can leave your curls alone until they’re fully dry. And never pull your fingers through your curls. This will break up the curl pattern and create frizz.
These are our favorite products for getting perfectly diffused curls.
Ultimately, blow drying your hair with a diffuser is better than air dying for frizz-free curls and volume. For more tips on caring for and styling your curly hair, book a consultation with a curly hair specialist at a Davines salon near you. Remember to use only high quality hair care products that are free of harmful toxins, use natural ingredients, and made with renewable energy and packaging that minimizes the environmental impact. Just like all of the formulas in the Davines family. Our hair care isn’t just good for your hair, it’s good for the planet.
by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor