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The Science of the Perfect Blowout

Getting a gorgeous (and easy) DIY blowout doesn’t have to be as rare as seeing a Yeti.

October 23rd, 2012

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By now, you’ve probably learned some fab maneuvers to make your home blowout look pretty passable. But no matter how adept you are at DIY drying, let’s face it: your finished product never quite lives up to the results after a pro styling. Here, two top celebrity hairstylists offer tips on how to score a silky-smooth blowout at home, no matter your texture.

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IF YOUR HAIR IS SOMEWHAT STRAIGHT…

Your hair already wants to lie relatively flat, so killing yourself to smooth each hair piece by piece while Cirque du Soleil-ing sections around a brush and wielding a blow dryer is your biggest (and most time-consuming) mistake. Sure, most dryers only weigh about one pound—as much as those teeny-tiny Soulcycle weights—but it still doesn’t make a lot of sense to pull and stretch what’s already practically straight.

Your mane goal? Volume and smoothness. “Gently towel dry hair, then flip your head over and, using your fingers to move hair around, blowdry about 90 percent of the water out,” says Dickey, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Hair Rules salon in New York City. And if you think that tiny nozzle on your blow dryer is just marketing hoopla, think again: “It aims the air flow in a targeted area,” says Luca Blandi, hairstylist at the Oscar Blandi salon in New York City. “Without it, hair flies all over the place and never gets really smooth.” But never place the nozzle directly onto strands. Straight hair doesn't need as much wrangling as curly hair, and since straight hair can be prone to breakage, it's best to scale back on scorching heat.

After rough-drying hair till most of the water’s out, Blandi suggests brushing strands with a paddle brush while blasting with the dryer (try Sephora Collection Paddle Brush, $22). “The motion should be slow and fluid,” he explains. “Push hair toward your face then away and back and forth—you don’t need a ton of tension, and don’t go crazy wrapping it around a round brush.” As the hair dries completely, the brush moves through strands more easily so you know when water is 100 percent gone.

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IF YOUR HAIR IS ON THE CURLY SIDE…

You might have to work a little harder than your straight-haired sisthren to get your strands smooth and shiny—but blow-drying doesn’t have to feel like battle. And what you do in the shower can help. Use a shampoo that cleanses, moisturizers and doesn’t have a ton of sulfates—excessive bubbles can dehydrate curly hair, which is already pretty dry naturally, says Dickey, who recommends Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream, $28.

Next: Put. The. Towel. Down. You’ve got to strike while hair is wet! “Textured hair is pliable when it’s wet and freshly conditioned,” says Dickey. “You don’t want to let it air dry and frizz up.” You also don’t want to worry about handling a brush while also dealing with a blow dryer and rapidly frizzing curls. So, invest in Dickey’s favorite curly girl hair helper: a blow dryer with a comb attachment (try Chi Rocket Professional Hair Dryer, $169). This way, the heat and bristles are all in one, leaving your other arm (and bicep) free. “Just comb through hair from roots to ends, and let the power of the heat and air flow straighten strands,” he explains. “And hit your hairline first—it usually dries on its own faster than the rest of your hair.”

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When hair is almost completely water-free, heat up a flat iron to no more than 400 degrees (higher temps do more harm than good, scorching strands). Separate hair into small sections, and swiftly move the iron over hair from root to end—only one pass per section to minimize heat damage. This is where you’re going to get your major straightening done—and doing it in one quick pass is way nicer to hair then crazy tugging, which can stretch and possibly tear sensitive strands.

 

 

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