Fall is upon us. Curl enhancing humidity is leaving, and chilly days lay ahead. BRRR!! Regardless of the season, there is nothing worse than running out the door with sopping wet curls and the disaster that follows. We have all been there- stick straight hair on top and beautiful formed curls where the length hangs. Our standard excuse? We didn’t have time to style it. Well have I got news for you curl friends- according to an article I read recently (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2250701) The average woman spends 10 days a year styling their hair- that is 40 minutes a day. So tell me- how many curl friends do you know that spend THAT much time? I don’t know many-I’d say we have it pretty good.
My favorite thing ever is when our straight haired friends oogle over my curls- on “day 2” after I spent 10 minutes styling it the day before. “Wow, how did you do that?” they ask. “Wow, that must really take a long time to do!” That is when I politely smile back and laugh inside. Now there are drawbacks of course. I would imagine in my teens I likely spent 20 days out of the year simply trying to find the secret concoction that would make my curl behave. I guess you could say that my low maintenance curls are now making up for previously lost time. J
In this segment of curly corner we will simply focus on the art of blow drying. For educational purposes- we will assume that the reader has found the perfect product regimen and has mastered their application technique.
So there you are- standing in your bathroom with very wet hair- sporting your fav hair products in your freshly scrunched hair. Sure you could just fly out the door- but with a few extra minutes and the right tools- you can ditch the drowned poodle look and achieve a more polished style.
First up to bat- the diffuser. A diffuser is a tool that attaches to the blow dryer and literally diffuses the air flow coming from the nozzle. This is necessary for curls because above all- curl friends are social creatures. They like to stick together. Direct airflow from a blow dryer can wreak havoc on this socialization.
There are a few characteristics that I look for when seeking a diffuser. The most important thing- is that it fits my blow dryer. Your best bet is to buy them together, but that is not always feasible. Generic “one size fits all” diffusers are great, but they only work if the nozzle of your blow dryer is straight like a straw. Just the slightest bit of angle on your nozzle, and you might end up with a diffuser sized bump on your head (and a bad hair day).
The other thing I look for is what I call prongs. Prongs are little plastic pieces that come out of the base of the diffuser. They hold the curls in their natural formation, without disturbing them, while the diffused air removes moisture from the hair. Ideally the base of the diffuser will also have a lens type shape, and can accommodate a large amount of hair at a time. They do make diffusers that have a flat surface, and even ones with no prongs. In my experience- they can work but do not dry the hair as efficiently and will likely leave the hair lacking volume.
SO back to the bathroom- looking in the mirror at the task at hand. I would advise a strategic approach where you tackle the areas that need the most love first. For most of us- this would be the top section. Start by flipping your head upside down and giving your head a little “shake, shake” action. As with any curl styling- avoid the temptation to rake through the hair with your fingers. The purpose of this swift maneuver is to have your hair release from the Yakama shape on the top of your head and fall loosely in a perpendicular manner towards the floor. The next step is to gently cradle a section of hair, only as big as your diffuser and gradually move the diffuser closer to your head. The dryer’s now diffused, warm/hot air will gradually remove moisture from your locks. When the heat is a little much, switch to another part of your crown, and follow the same directions. The objective of this drying method is to not dry the hair entirely- but only to remove enough moisture to inhibit gravity from weighing down your curls. For my hair which is thick and long, I generally work in 3 sections and return to each one twice. Someone with more fine hair (whether we are talking diameter of the hair strand or density) may just need just one “go” around each section.
For optimum fullness- I would advise using a similar technique on your sides. Tip your head from side to side, letting the hair cascade towards the floor. Use your diffuser in the same manner, gently gathering the hair from the sides of your head, and advancing the diffuser towards your scalp for a springy curl.
I have seen a lot of curls in my day, and I know that not everyone desires a full head of volumous curls. This especially goes for people like me with a ton of hair. To achieve a less full look, I might suggest taking a “single pass” over your entire head- just enough to get the moisture out, and let the remaining moisture/gravity calm things down. If you wish to continue drying your hair, diffusing the hair in it’s “naturally falling positon” would be advisable.
In the hair world, there are techniques and tricks available at the click of a mouse. The last thing I would want to do in advising potential strangers in styling their curls is to mislead them. As you may have read in my previous blogs, I am a firm believer that for most hair challenges- there is often no “one size fits all” answer. No hair is created equally- each person’s hair requires a styling regimen which caters to their specific needs. Not every technique or tip you might find on the internet is designed with your specific hair’s needs in mind. But if you are struggling to create a look that works for you- your best friend just may be a stylist you trust! A good stylist will send you out the door with a great looking head of hair whereas an awesome stylist will give you the tools and knowledge to recreate it!