To air-dry or not to air-dry? For most people, the decision comes down to how well you know your hair and the products you’re using. On the one hand, it’s good to give your strands a break from constant heat styling and potential damage — but if you don’t know how to control your strands to air-dry the right way, you’re likely to be left with a less-than-satisfying-looking head of hair.
Skip the second guessing and step away from that blowdryer: here are our favorite tips, styling tricks, and recommended hair products to turn you into an air-dried hair pro. Since different hair types require different care, we’ll be suggesting curated products and routines to fit your specific needs.
Curly hair needs very specific care — if you want your curls to look their best, you need to look for products that can provide adequate moisture, definition, and control. Find a curl shampoo and curl conditioner to boost the potential of your curls and waves — the Noto almond extract in these Davines curl products are rich in proteins and vitamins that help to elasticize and add volume to curly hair.
Curly and coily hair might need extra moisture, but that doesn’t mean all hair types won’t benefit from making sure your strands are properly hydrated. Try a moisturizing shampoo and moisturizing conditioner like MOMO. The Cartucciaru melon extract is extremely hydrating and packed with Vitamins A and C, potassium, phosphorus and zinc.
If your hair is cosmetically colored, or if you just want to illuminate your natural shades, choose color-friendly hair products that won’t strip your strands of pigment or shine. The Salina caper extract in MINU color shampoo and color conditioner contains color-protecting polyphenols, giving you long-lasting brilliance and shine.
One of the most common concerns with air-dying your hair is the potential for it to dry into an out-of-control, frizzy mess. Lock in moisture and lock out frizz and flyaways with the right smoothing shampoo and smoothing conditioner. The Minuta olive extract in LOVE Smoothing is abundant in fatty acids and Vitamin E, which are extremely nourishing, softening, and moisturizing.
Ever tried brushing your hair in the shower to fight tangles? If you find yourself struggling to brush out knots after washing your hair, you can try brushing your hair in the shower with a wide-tooth comb after applying your conditioner. Not only will this help to detangle before you towel-dry, but it can also help you evenly distribute conditioner throughout your hair to keep it healthy and moisturized.
After washing and conditioning your hair, finish with a cold water rinse to lock in shine and fight frizz and flyaways. Cold water helps the cuticle of your hair lie flat, leaving you with shinier hair (and a stronger foundation for a successfully air-dried hair).
Even though you’re air-drying, you should still start by towel-drying to remove excess water. Use a microfiber towel to gently absorb water, without roughing up your hair like traditional cotton towels can do.
Different hair types need different styling routines — make sure the styling and leave-in prep products you’re using are going to help you lock in your desired look when air-drying. A good sea salt spray can add beachy texture to wavy hair, a curl prep cream will lock in moisture and definition, and someone with fine or limp hair can use a moisturizing leave-in spray to keep strands detangled and happy.
These hair care tips and styling tricks will help you disguise thinning hair and hair loss:
While you might be tempted to adjust your hair while it’s air-drying, your fingers have the potential to rough up the strands and cause frizz and flyaways. Once you have your set air-dry style, just trust the process and let it work!
We mentioned before that traditional cotton towels can be too rough on the cuticle of your hair, leading to potential frizz, damage, and breakage. So remember to use a microfiber towel when towel-drying your hair — this will not only be gentler to use on your hair, but also speed up the drying time.
If you avoid air-drying your hair because it tends to look lifeless and limp, this is a great tip for you — blow dry your hair at the root to boost volume, and then let the rest air-dry as usual. Your ends dry faster than your roots, so this is also a great way to speed up the drying process in general. Just remember to use a heat protectant any time you plan on blow-drying or heat styling your hair!
We know that wet hair is at its most fragile state, so some people advise against air-drying because you’re keeping your hair in a vulnerable state for a longer period of time than if you just blow-dried it. But as long as you use the right protective products and avoid roughing up your hair when it’s drying, you shouldn’t see any damage.
If you’re in a rush, you can still efficiently air-dry your hair. Start by gently squeezing out as much water after you shower, then take a microfiber towel and start by absorbing water from the roots (which we know take longer to dry then ends). Detangle with a wide-tooth comb, and wrap your hair in a microfiber towel for a few minutes to absorb even more water. Then follow your air-dry routine as usual — but consider avoiding heavier leave-ins and creams if you can, since these will potentially slow down the drying process.
There are a few reasons why your hair could be “crunchy” after air-drying. Over-dryness and damage can happen from styling or chemical processing, leading to that crunchy feel, but in many cases this feeling happens when you just use too much product in your hair.
While a quick blast with the blow-dryer might be the fastest way to set your style, air-drying is a great way to give your strands a break (while still looking their best!). Just make sure you use the right products for your hair type, invest in gentle styling aids like a wide-tooth comb and microfiber towel, and experiment to find the right finishing technique you like. No matter what products you choose, you can feel good about Davines — through our partnership with 1% for the Planet, 1% of every purchase on our website is donated to a charity for the betterment of our environment and communities.
by Lauren Hannel, staff contributor
photos by @goldandglowco