When it comes to things we’d rather be doing than drying our hair, the list is vast and long. Taking a nice long bath with candles lit is one that comes to mind; sleeping in is another. And yet, unless we want to walk around with sopping strands (which we’re just praying will one day become socially acceptable), or risk freezing them in the winter, it’s an inevitable fact of life. Wake up, shower, deal with drying your hair one way or another—it’s a never-ending, mundane cycle.
To help ease the monotony, we’re sharing eight smart tricks that will speed up your drying time—dare we say even cut it in half? These methods are simple and incredibly effective, leaving you more time with your bed and significantly less time with the hair dryer. Keep scrolling to see them all.
#1: Condition and Comb Through
Here’s something you didn’t know: Conditioner not only smoothes your strands but can help them dry faster, too. The silicone coats each strand and seals it down, repelling water in the process. Here’s a beauty editor tip: Keep a wide-toothed comb, like The Wet Brush Speed Dry ($9), inside your shower, and always, always comb through when applying conditioner to ensure an even application. Trust us—you’ll see the difference.
#2: Ditch Your Towel
News flash: Your towel isn’t doing your hair any favors, especially in the drying department. That excessive back-and-forth rubbing is only roughing up your hair cuticle, which is actually super damaging, so skip it in favor of squeezing with a soft microfiber towel instead. The softer texture soaks up twice as much water, and it does it without frizzing up your strands.
You can wrap up your hair, turban style, or simply squeeze gently and allow it to air dry, depending on your hair texture.
#3: Try Plopping
Curly-haired girls, it’s time to give your strands a good plopping. Using this technique will not only allow your curls to dry faster, but also help them retain their natural shape. Here’s how to do it: First, saturate your wet strands with a leave-in conditioner or styling cream, like DevaCurl’s SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler ($28). Then, take a cotton T-shirt and lay it on a flat surface with the neck and sleeves closest to you (your bed is a safe bet). Next, stand over the T-shirt and flip your hair over so your hair is “plopping” onto the fabric. Grab the bottom of the shirt and hold it at the nape of your neck, roll the rest of the T-shirt toward your face, and tie the sleeves in a knot. Leave this on for 10 to 20 minutes as you finish the rest of your morning routine, then just shake out your curls and dry with a diffuser, or simply allow them to air-dry.
#4: Do Everything Else First
Ask any hairstylist to share their best tip for helping your hair dry faster, and they'll say one thing: Allow your hair to dry as much as possible before taking a brush and blow-dryer to it. Depending on your hair texture, you can gently wring it dry after your shower and allow it to air-dry and as you carry on with your skincare and makeup—then, you can start blow-drying. If your hair is frizz-prone, you’ll want to keep it wrapped up in a microfiber towel (Jessica Alba told us she swears by Turbie Twists, $17 for a 2 pack) up until right before you’re ready to tackle the drying process. Which leads us to…
#5: The Rough-Dry Rule
So you love a good blowout—and you’ve even gotten quite good at doing them yourself. First of all, props. Second of all, we’re going to share a time-saving trick with you, straight from Alli Webb, founder of blowout empire Drybar. “You never want to start a blowout with sopping wet hair,” Webb shared with us. “If you start with really wet hair, it’s just going to take you that much longer. That’s a mistake a lot of women make.” Instead, she says to squeeze all the moisture out right after your shower, wrap your hair in a microfiber towel to soak up more moisture, then undo and apply a heat protectant. Next comes the clincher: rough-drying. This means blow-drying using only your fingers, tousling your hair, and focusing at the roots. Webb says you should ideally rough-dry your hair 30% to 40% dry before reaching for your brush.
#6: Be Picky With Products
Clearly, the task of drying your hair is a plight many women would like to shorten—and thankfully, there are a lot of products on the market nowadays that can make that happen. Heat-conducting polymers in the products may help wick moisture away from your hair, leading to a shorter blow-dry; you can try VERB's Ghost Prep ($18) or Bumble & Bumble's All-Style Blow Dry ($32), both of which guard your hair from heat and reduce drying time. If you’re in a pinch, running a traditional mousse, like Herbal Essences Body Envy Mousse ($4), through damp strands before drying can speed up your process and give you added texture, especially if air-drying.
#7: Use the Right Brush
If you’re a blow-drying fiend, make sure you’re using the right brush—namely, one that’s conducive to drying your hair as quickly as possible. A ceramic-vented round brush, like Olivia Garden’s Ceramic + Ion Thermal Hair Brush ($24), allows air to flow through and dry your strands; just make sure you’re always pointing the nozzle of your blow-dryer down.
If your hair is especially thick, feel free to divide and clip into four sections, tackling each one and drying it before moving to the next.
#8: Turn Down the Heat
When you’re trying to get out the door ASAP, you might be tempted to turn your trusty blow-dryer to the highest heat setting. Doing this really runs the risk of fried hair, so always apply a heat protectant beforehand. And opt for an ionic hair dryer so you can feel free to turn down the heat. The negative ions may add shine and dry hair faster by reducing static electricity and breaking up water molecules.
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.
Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overview. Int J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450
American Academy of Dermatology Association. How to stop damaging your hair.