Blowdrying our hair is one of those routine and fairly mundane tasks that we’ve been doing for most of our lives, and we’re probably pretty accustomed to how we do it. It’s a bit like making some toast or sticking a load of laundry on – we don’t give it much thought.
Indeed, renowned hairdresser Michael Van Clarke says that careless blowdrying is the number-one culprit of dry, damaged hair amongst his clients.
“One of my clients with fabulous, thick, shoulder-length hair was struggling with the front sections always breaking, splitting, and hanging poker straight at the ends,” Michael says. “It didn’t make sense to me; her wavy hair was growing so healthy, but the front sections would continuously break.
“One day she came in and asked for a large round styling brush, saying that hers only last 4-5 months before they wear down and need replacing. I found that odd as mine last 20 years with daily professional use, so I asked her to bring in her old brush for me to see.
“I saw that the large round brush had become a medium round brush because she’d melted the stiff nylon bristles to half their length. The dryer was too hot and resting on the hair with a concentrator nozzle as well – serious over-drying. If your hairbrush is melting away, what do you think is happening to your hair?”
According to Michael, that’s the blowdrying mistake we’re all guilty of: too hot, too close, for too long. The nozzle concentrates too much heat on hair that’s already potentially very damaged, especially if it’s bleached or tinted. Resting the nozzle on hair like this guarantees over-drying and further damage.
The solution? “Throw away the concentrator nozzle and keep a one-inch distance between your hair and the dryer,” advises Michael. “If you can, use heat-styling less frequently, and try airdrying once a week with a gentler finish.”
Blowdrying shouldn’t be a struggle and shouldn’t take ages. Follow Michael’s tips below and you will have beautiful hair without the breakage…
- Use the right equipment for your hair and the style you want. Flat brushes and round brushes with short sparse bristles are easier to use but don’t give the same control. If you need to properly smooth wavy or frizzy hair a quality round bristle brush is best.
- Bin the concentrator nozzle unless you have thick wavy hair that needs blowdrying smooth quickly. They over-concentrate the heat and cause more hair damage than anything else.
- After washing comb through thoroughly to take out tangles and then release the roots by combing up and back at 45 degrees from the hairline.
- Preparation is the most important step to take the hair closer to the finished result before brushwork. Spritz heat protection spray all over (our LifeSaver UV and its SPF ingredients are proven to protect and nourish hair pre-blowdrying or when air drying). Use a diffuser to prepare the hair taking out 85% of excess water. Lift roots into shape prepare mid-lengths and ends.
- Use the time you have on the most important parts. The hairline sections around the face are the most important followed by the tips of the hair, then the top layer. Least important the underneath section of the back. So if short of time don’t waste it on the bits no one sees.
- Work cleanly. Take neat sections no wider than the brush and keep the rest of the hair out of the way. Slant sections downwards around the hairline.
- Lift sections high at a tangent to the scalp so you have proper control of the roots. This will eliminate snagging and give tension control without painful pulling.
- Keep a one-inch gap between the hair and the dryer and keep the dryer in live with the hair, pointing towards the ends.
- Do not over dry the section. If it isn’t right, damp it and start again. All the damage is done when continuing to blowdry hair that’s already dry. This goes beyond taking out excess water and strips the hairs own innate moisture leading to thinner, brittle hair that eventually splits and breaks. Dry to 98% and let it air dry the rest of the way.
- If blowdrying curly hair straight keep the section tight, closed and in position when you take the brush away. This will limit the hair absorbing surrounding moisture whilst you move onto the next section.
- Give a good blast at the end on medium heat to fully dry, give a more natural feel and blend the sections.