How to Dry Your Hair Like a Pro

You don't have to hit the salon every time you need a blowout

You don’t have to blow your budget to get a perfect blowout. With the right tools and technique, it’s possible to get a sleek, straight, salon-worthy 'do in less than half an hour, says MariLynne Mele, a stylist and educator at Blow, the New York Blow Dry Bar. But it takes practice: "People get overwhelmed by the idea of blow drying their own hair," she says. "But once they get the hang of it, they start to be a little neater with their pieces." After hundreds of blowouts, Mele shares her tips for that knockout blow dry.

Do the Prep Work
Before you start, wear comfortable clothes and pick a well-ventilated room so the heat from the blow dryer doesn't affect you. "If you're in a closed-door bathroom you’re never going to make it through your blowout," says Mele.

Protect your hair with a thermal styling spray; we like Frederic Fekkai’s Coiff Defense Pre-Style Thermal Protectant ($25 at Skip anything that has a greasy film or a high alcohol content, which can shorten the length of your blowout, she says.

To start, you'll want your hair to be about 30 percent dry. Hair that's not sopping wet is easier to style, Mele says. To do this, you can let it air dry for a few minutes. Or, rough dry it: Flip over your hair and use the blow dryer from above your head (hot air blowing from the bottom creates frizz). Using a nozzle on your blow dryer will also prevent heat damage.

Section to Start
To prevent waviness, Mele recommends using large clips to break up the hair into three rows and two columns.

Once hair is parted, start blow-drying a section closest to your face. Because there are more broken hairs around your face, it typically dries faster and frizzes more easily. Then, using a round brush, "work from the very root to the very tip," says Mele. Make sure you're thorough with each section. It's a good idea to split each section even further and take only as much hair as can fit comfortably on a round brush. Always use the blow dryer in only one direction, and never move the blow dryer back and forth. To reach the back of your head, pull hair forward over each shoulder while blow drying, suggests Mele.

As you're blow drying, consider how much volume you’re looking for; the higher you lift your hair with the brush, the more volume you will create. (But no matter how high you lift hair, the angle of your blow dryer should stay positioned so the nozzle blows air down from your roots to your ends.) Additionally, Mele recommends using boar bristle brushes because they can create more pull and friction than a regular brush (so your arms do less of the work).

Finishing Touches
Once you're done with all six sections, seek out any wet spots left in your hair. Leaving moisture in the hair will make it frizz right away, so diligence is key. To add shine and detect any damp roots, Mele recommends blasting cool air all over your hair. If any spots are still cold to the touch afterward, re-dry them. Keep in mind, roots in the middle of your head tend to be the most difficult to dry.

To make your blowout last longer don't use serums on your roots (using on ends is okay). Instead, use hairspray like Sebastian Shaper Fierce Ultra Firm Finishing Spray ($19 at Walgreens) to tame any last-minute flyaways towards the front.

Now all you need is that perfect outfit!

Have any blow-drying tips of your own to share? Chime in below!

Like This? Read These:
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- How Good Hair Can Help You Land a Job
- Just for Fun: Try On Justin Bieber's Hair Online

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