Give Your Hair a Professional Blowout at Home

Salon hair dryers
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Ah, the elusive perfect blowout. We walk out of the salon and look like actors on a shampoo commercial, but after that first wash—forget about it. That amazing blowout is gone. Is it even possible to blow dry your hair like a professional in the comfort of your own home?

Turns out, it's easier than you might think. With just a few simple steps and the right tools, anyone can learn how to blow dry their hair just like their favorite stylist.

The Tools You Need

One of the secrets to a good blowout is the tools you use. For the best results, try a quality hair dryer that is at least 1800 watts. If you have thick hair, opt for one over 2000 watts. Look for a dryer with heat and speed control too, so you can adjust the settings as you go. A good blow-dryer is worth the investment because it can prevent damage and give you the result you're looking for.

Your brush choice is just as important and can determine your style. If you're going for some curl, choose a round barrel brush that matches the size of curls you want. For sleek, straight hair, pick up a flat paddle brush and be sure your dryer has a nozzle attachment to target the air flow.

Apply Product

A good styling product is one of the main keys to the perfect blowout. It adds body to fine, limp hair, and is essential for keeping frizz at bay if you have thick, curly hair. Plus, products can actually help to prevent hair from getting oily.

Apply your favorite product to towel-dried hair, making sure to distribute it evenly throughout your hair. It's important to use a heat protecting spray as well to shield your hair from the high temperatures of the dryer.

Pre-Dry Your Hair

You have a few options when it's time to pre-drying your hair. Your ultimate goal is to get your hair 75 to 80 percent dry before going in with your brush to style it.

You can either let your hair air dry until it reaches that level of dryness or, if you are short on time, use a dryer to remove excess moisture before you start the blowout. Bend over at the waist, flip your hair over, and dry it at the roots.

If you have bangs, dry them right away because the shorter hairs dry the fastest. Use your brush to give them an initial style so they're easier to control later.

Separate Hair Into Sections

Divide combed hair into sections and secure it with clips. Winding hair into mini buns—two in the back and one on each side—often works well. If you have very thick or heavy hair, try dividing each of your sections into a bottom and top layer to help manage the blowout. Leave one section out to start with.

Find Your Position

One of the secrets to the salon blowout is that your stylist stands behind you so they can get the blow dryer at the perfect angle. This is a little trickier when you're working on your own head, so you'll have to play around with it until you find what works. Many stylists recommend sitting down so your arms have some support and don't get tired out before you're done.

Start With Your Fingers

It's time to actually begin the blowout. Stylists always start with their fingers to get at the roots. "A brush can only get so close," says Manhattan stylist David Dieguez. Starting at the roots, pull your fingers through your hair. Pull hair out a few inches and hold it while using the dryer to dry the section.

Use Your Brush

Now that your roots are dry, it's time to move on to the brush of your choice: the barrel for curls or the paddle for straight hair. Pull the brush through your hair as you blow-dry. Follow the brush closely with the nozzle and keep pointing it down onto the hair.

Pull Hair Taut as You Dry

As you start your blowout, it's helpful to keep your hair as taut as possible as you work. When you hold your hair tight with the brush and get the dryer at the right angle, you're two steps closer to perfecting the technique.

Dieguez offers a great tip in Lucky Magazine, "Imagine there's a point six inches in front of your nose. Stretch the hair toward that point as you dry. It sounds crazy, but when you're done, the tips won't flip under or up—they'll just sort of fan out over your shoulders." 

If you have wavy or curly hair and are going for a straight look, it's even more important to keep your hair taut. As you pull the brush through your hair, follow the brush closely with the dryer and concentrate it just on the hair in the brush. As you dry your hair, always point the nozzle of the dryer down the hair shaft—never up. This seals the cuticle and helps prevent frizz

Twirl Hair for Extra Body

To give your hair natural waves and body, dry your hair in three-inch sections, twirling the hair with your barrel brush as you go. Think about it as if you're using the brush to create a spiral of hair. Make sure to twirl the front pieces away from the face, not towards it. 

Lock in the Style

The last step of each section is to pull your hair taut with the brush and blast it with cool air from your dryer to set the style. Continue through all sections and finish with hairspray or a shine serum for a blowout that looks like you just left the salon.

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