Personally I am a huge fan of the diffuser. It’s this ingenious life saving device that you attach to the end of your blow dryer nozzle and its purpose is to speed up the drying process if you don’t have 7 hours to air dry your curls! Particularly in the winter months, leaving your curls to air dry can not only mean you need to start the grueling process several hour earlier to allow time for air drying but you could get sick if you go outside with wet hair. Diffusing your curls can be a huge help to not only speeding up drying time but effectively enhancing your natural curls. Before you diffuse here are some “DO’S and DON’TS” I would like to share with those of you who are diffusing virgins or already part of the diffusing bandwagon:
DON’T- Diffuse INTO your curls. What I mean by this is if you are standing upright facing the mirror and you position the diffuser horizontally to just blow straight INTO your curls you will be there all day. This will be very time consuming since you will be waiting for that specific area to dry. Since the curls are all grouped together there will be nowhere for the air to go. This is because you are pointing the diffuser directly at the scalp, rather than the curls you’re trying to dry! Lastly, diffusing into your curls could potentially destroy the curl formation you just worked so hard to create.
DO – Flip your head forward so that you wet curls are hanging forward and diffuse upwards. Gently diffuse in an upward motion and then move to a different area and do the same thing. The diffuser will catch or encompass the grouped curls and heat them up without burning you while giving the hot air the ability to flow freely. One fantastic thing that results from this technique is that you achieve much more volume in your curly hairstyle when you diffuse with your head flipped forward. It is important that you continue to keep the dryer moving rather than just holding it in place. Each time you move it to a new section of curls, lower the diffuser and let the curl fall into the diffuser and then reposition it. You repeat this process until the curls are 75-90% dry and then you let the rest air dry completely without touching it.
DON’T- Just use HOT air when diffusing your soaking wet hair. Perhaps at the beginning it’s a good idea to blast hot air to jump start the drying process. However, after the first 5 minutes of diffusing, if you continue to just use hot air, either you will possibly melt or it will take much longer to dry your curls completely. Although, using a high temperature when you start to diffuse will seal the hair cuticle, which helps to reinforce the ringlet shape to stay in place. If you start diffusing dripping wet hair with cold air first, you won’t get very far.
DO- Switch it up and give your curls a blast of COLD air. This does 3 things: Firstly, it cools down the curls. This allows you to be able to tell if they are truly dry vs. still damp. Secondly, your curls dry much faster: if you alternate between blasts of hot and cold air together, it’s a huge bonus if you are pressed for time. Lastly it helps to secure the ringlet formation of the curls and shut the cuticle properly.
DON’T- Use high heat AND a high setting. We are aiming for a polished, voluminous look with defined curls, not Mufasa coming out of the Matrix! High setting means that air is blowing all over the place and in essence is blowing our curls left right and center at a fast speed. Diffusing your curls on a high setting means that the air flow is not as controlled. This leads to our mortal enemy and devil… frizzy curls.
DO- Use high heat and a LOW setting. A lower setting enables the air flow to be controlled and localized. The less your curls move during the diffusing process the fewer frizzes you will end up with. This is essentially the goal we are trying to attain when diffusing curls.
DON’T- Skip on a heat protectant. The best way to stop damage is prevention. By using a high strength heat protectant you can be sure that your curls are safe while adding extra hold, volume and shine to your style. It's a win-win!
If you haven’t tried diffusing before, I hope these tips will help you on your first attempt! Remember that practice makes perfect! For those of you who already diffuse and are looking to have optimal results, try a few of these tricks and if there is anything that you are doing that you shouldn’t be, these adjustments can give you the results you are looking for.