Though we couldn’t imagine a world where we ditched our dryers for good, we have been favoring another method lately: air-drying. (Cue the collective sighs of relief from our hairdressers.) Air-drying might just sound like a fancy way of saying doing nothing at all, but we promise there’s a very specific method to this art form (yes, air-drying is an art form, we said it). From choosing the right products to knowing exactly what you do to your hair post-shower, the technique is vital to saving you on many a rushed morning (hi, Mondays).
With that in mind, we’ve gathered the best products you need to air-dry your hair like a true pro—from a fancy towel that wicks moisture like none other to leave-in products for every hair type to lazy-girl beauty!
The next step of your air-drying routine might feel like a no-brainer, but we beg you to reconsider. Drying your hair by ferociously rubbing a towel over your strands is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing if air-drying is your intention. Instead, opt for a soft, absorbent towel (preferably microfiber or finer) and gently squeeze your strands—never rub. Lately, we’ve been smitten with Aquis’s luxe hair towels, which are made from finer-than-silk fibers to prevent friction, frizz, and breakage.
News flash: No one’s hair air-dries to perfection without the help of some sort of product (Cindy Crawford famously once said "Even I don't wake up looking like Cindy Crawford). The key here is to choose the right leave-in product for your hair type. Too heavy on fine hair, and your strands will look droopy and laden with product once dry. Too light, and you run the risk of veering into poof-ball territory. One product that we’ve found works on all hair types is Reverie Milk. The light, lotion-like consistency is easy to rake through wet or damp strands and gives all hair textures softness and shine without a hint of stickiness—no frizz allowed.
If you want shine without the heaviness, allow us to introduce you to Living Proof’s much-beloved styling treatment. The oil- and silicone-free treatment adds subtle volume but also smoothness—in other words, it's the magical products you’ve been searching for. (Our editor went without hers for a few weeks during her move and almost didn’t survive to tell the tale.)
If your strands are on the curlier side, you’ll love DevaCurl’s coconut-infused styling cream. Other than smelling so good, the light lotion adds moisture to curly strands as well as subtle definition and control—it will even help stretch your curls if you want a looser, wavier look. Start out slow and gradually add more depending on your needs.
Consider this the ultimate hair multitasker. Want to prime your strands for your favorite hair oil? Spritz this. Want to revive second-day hair and boost radiance? You guessed it—spritz again. Moringa flower extract gives a dose of moisture and shine and helps your strands air-dry to perfection.
So no to knots—by using a hair primer before attempting to brush out your wet strands (using a Wet Brush, $8, we hope). We’re fans of Oribe’s version, which contains pomegranate, apricot, and coconut oil to smooth the hair cuticle, condition, and detangle.
This French styling cream is a cult favorite among beauty insiders and hairstylists alike. Why? It gives just the right amount of hold when applied to wet strands while also nourishing them. If a slightly more structured look is what you’re going for, reach for this product—we apply to almost dry strands and then scrunch. (Bonus: It also works as a great styling cream on dry hair.)
Good hair starts in the shower—which sounds like a cheesy shampoo commercial slogan but also happens to be the truth. Ready for a wake-up call? The actual water in your shower might be the culprit for your less-than-amazing strands. Enter a showerhead filter, which removes things like chlorine that lead to buildup and dullness. The T3 Source Showerhead Filter ($130) is pricey but a beauty-editor favorite for the fact that it removes 9% of chlorine and other impurities in addition to producing negative ions to reduce water cluster size. The result? Hair that feels softer and looks shinier—not to mention is more receptive to air-drying.
Sometimes we're lazy, and don't want to go through the effort of styling even post-air dry. Which is why we've fallen in love with this all-in-one product, which is chock full of not just sea buckthorn seed oil but hyaluronic acid to keep your strands full of moisture. Lemon peel adds some luster and movement, and sugarcane provides you with protection. It's perfect for anyone who air-dries but still wants the benefits heat protectants can bring.