The Right Ways To Dry Your Hair, From Beginning To End

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Written by Georgia Gould

Updated: June 3, 2024

Drying Hair In Content
image via @davidmallett

Want your hair to look like this ⬆️ after every wash day? Ha, you and us both! But gorgeous hair doesn’t just happen—no matter how much TikTok and Instagram try to persuade you otherwise.

From your shampoo all the way through to your blow-dry, if you don’t put in the groundwork, you will never have the hair you deserve. Sorry, but that’s the truth, right there.

Do you really think your favorite A-listers just turn up to the red carpet looking inch-perfect from head-to-toe? Or that they rock out of bed every day with not a hair out of place?

On the contrary, most of them spend hours upon hours being coiffed by their highly trained hair stylists in order to look so perfectly groomed. After all, healthy-looking locks, beachy waves, mega shine and salon-worthy volume all require time, patience and effort. Even for the rich and famous. 

So let’s talk about drying your hair, shall we?

No matter your hair type, the way in which you dry your hair can make or break your final do. Scrub it with a towel and leave it to its own devices, and you may find yourself left with more frizz than you care to mention. Blast it with hot air when it’s sopping wet and you’ll likely be there for hours. And neither of these scenarios are what we imagine are high on your priority list. 

If you feel like your hair drying skills need a little fine tuning, read on for everything we know about how to perfect the different stages of drying your hair—from the minute you step out of the shower to the glorious end result.

Full disclosure, we can’t promise you Jen Aniston hair every time you wash your locks, but follow our tips and we can guarantee you better, shinier and healthier-looking hair every time. 

Knowledge (and a little side of practice!) for the win.

1. The Important Towel Dry Stage

Do you literally grab your blow dryer immediately after showering in a bid to get your hair dried quicker? Big mistake. In fact, the longer you leave it, the better your hair will look and feel. Think about it, the less time you subject your hair to excess heat from your dryer, the less damage it will experience as a result. 


Rubbing the towel like that gave me frizz on the roots 😩 #hairti

♬ My Barn My Rules – MCR-T & horsegiirL

Instead of blow-drying immediately after shampooing and conditioning, use a towel to absorb the majority of water from your hair first. But not just any towel, of course. A microfiber hair towel is your best bet.

How so? Well, cotton towels are great but they have a much rougher surface and those little loops can get caught up in your hair, stretching and potentially damage your wet strands – which are already vulnerable enough, thanks very much. 

Microfiber towels, on the other hand, treat your hair with way more respect because they’re made of much tinier fibers which give them a smoother, snag-free surface. More good news: they’re also way lighter and thinner than bulky regular towels which is not only great from a storage perspective, but also causes less strain on your roots.

Oh, and because each fiber is up to 200 times thinner than an average strand of hair, this makes microfiber towels super absorbent. In fact, most experts agree that wrapping your hair in microfiber towel can cut your drying time by up to a half. The VOLO Hero Microfiber Hair Towel is our current obsession, btw.

So, what’s the best way to go about towel drying your hair? First, gently squeeze out the excess moisture using blotting and scrunching motions with your microfiber towel. Don’t squeeze your hair tight or rub it too vigorously as this will cause strain on the roots of your hair and encourage frizzy lengths and split ends. We don’t like to be dramatic but rubbing your hair with a towel? Kind of like sandpaper.

Once you’ve squeezed out a good amount of water – a minute should do it, depending on the length and thickness of your hair – apply either a leave-in conditioner or smoothing cream. Gently comb this through to detangle your strands, then wrap your hair in your microfiber towel (not too tight, remember) and leave it for ten to 15 minutes, or until your hair is about 70 percent dry.

2. The Best Way To Air Dry Your Hair

Air drying is a great alternative to blow drying, especially if you have wavy or curly locks, or want to enhance the texture of your hair. Doesn’t sound like you? Then skip this section and scroll straight down to #3. Don’t worry, we won’t be offended!

If you’re all about air drying, however, or fancy giving it a go, read on. 

Once your hair is almost dry thanks to your new fabulous towel drying skills (you can thank us later), apply your favorite styling product to encourage the end result you’re trying to achieve. For wavy hair, try an anti-frizz serum like John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength Serum or to enhance your curls go for a priming cream like Oribe Curl Control Silkening Crème


@Tishmal always keeping her hair volume in mind 💫 Here’s her air dry wavy hair care routine to achieve perfect waves. #crownaffairairdry #wavyhairroutine #wavyhairtutorial #healthyhairtips

♬ original sound – Crown Affair

Then, try one of the following methods for air drying your hair…

Scrunch It

If you have loose waves, soft curls or textured hair you want to make the most of, gently scrunch your hair at the lengths and ends as they air dry. Get dressed, eat your breakfast or do your makeup as your hair dries naturally, scrunching the ends every so often to encourage waves. 

Twist It

For a beachy, boho vibe, try twisting sections of your hair from roots to ends with your fingers as it air dries. This is a great method for encouraging movement in straight, layered hair.

Band It

Banding is a super easy way to air dry curly hair into loose, sexy waves. To nail the look, gather your towel dried hair into a ponytail and secure it with a covered band or scrunchie. Next, grab a few more bands and place these at even intervals all the way down your ponytail until you reach the ends. Allow it dry while you occupy yourself elsewhere, then remove the bands and rake through your hair with your fingers. 

3. How To Blow Dry Like A Pro

OK, now for the big finish – the blow dry. 

First, unwrap your hair from your microfiber towel then comb it again with a wide-toothed comb. Spritz all over with your favorite heat protectant to minimize heat damage then, if your hair still feels pretty damp, use your hands and fingers to tousle your hair as you dry it for a minute or so. Don’t pick up a brush until your hair is a good 70-80 percent dry, OK?

5 Of The Best Heat Protectants To Shield Your Hair From Damage

Next, grab a round bristle brush, some sectioning clips and clip the top sections of your hair up and out of the way so you can work on the underneath layers first.

Start off with the front and sides of your hair and part this underneath section into one inch sections, then grab your brush and dry each section with the nozzle pointing down the hair shaft to help the cuticles lie flat and smooth.

We’re sure you’ll have seen your hairdresser rolling each section of your hair up and around the brush from roots to ends, right?

This is one of the best ways to boost volume, shine and movement to your hair so give it a whirl. We’re not gonna lie to you, it’s not easy, but practice makes perfect!

Drying Hair 1 450 x 560
image via @ghdhairpro

The trick is to direct your dryer at the roots first and hold it there for a few seconds. Then turn your dryer away from your hair and allow this section to cool slightly, before bringing the air flow back to your hair and gently pulling the brush down the mid-lengths to the ends.

Create tension with your brush as you go and rotate the brush slightly, twisting and twirling it to create more shape through each section. As we said, practice makes perfect!


Replying to @Val I re-recorded my blow dry routine so I hope this helps! The key is setting each section with cold/cool air before brushing the hair out! Also I’m not a hair expert I just love my hairstylist and take notes every appointment 😂

♬ Maneater – Daryl Hall & John Oates

Continue this process all over, working on one-inch sections and taking your time to make sure  that each section is properly dry before moving on to the next.

And if your arms get tired? Don’t be afraid to switch your hands over, holding your brush with your dominant hand and your dryer with the weaker one. Or just take a break for a few minutes and make some coffee. No biggie.

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