It was a sticky, humid, NYC day – the type that weighed on you, even through central air. I was blow drying my hair, and having a tough time getting it to behave because of the humidity. I was also really resenting this ritual of blowing hot air on myself in my last few air conditioned minutes before my swampy commute. It was at this moment over 10 years ago – hair dryer in one hand, Mason Pearson in the other – that I swore off blowdryers forever. If my hair was going to be heat styled, it would be by a professional in a salon, or not at all.
What? Ditch the Dryer?!
I know this idea is unfathomable to many women. I know this because female guest after female guest at my lake house would ask me where I kept the blow dryer, their voices thick with presumption. My reply was, simply, “there isn’t one”. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE ISN’T ONE! WHAT DO YOU USE?” They were nothing short of panicked. After the third such inquiry, I bought a blowdryer to be kept in the guest bathroom, lest my hosting skills be drawn into question. Though I’ve never used it to this day, many other women have, so I GET IT. YOU ALL REALLY LIKE TO BLOWDRY YOUR HAIR.
However, no matter how hot and steamy your relationship is with your T3, giving up your blowdryer IS possible! Here’s how I beat the heat.
The most important step in blowing off the blowdryer is getting a quality cut. When you have a quality haircut, done by a skilled professional and suited to you and your hair type, styling said hair should take very little time. This quality cut will also grow out gracefully, so you won’t need to get your hair cut quite so often. If you color your hair (like me) and/or wear your hair shoulder length or shorter (also like me), you may need to get a haircut more often than someone who does not do those things. My rule of thumb is, if it takes longer than 60 seconds of styling for my hair to look good (I style it only after it has air dried a little), it’s time for a cut. For me, eight weeks seems to be the hard limit.
Now, what do I mean by a “quality” cut? Probably one that’s expensive, unfortunately…unless Orlando Pita is a personal friend. I know, I know. But you can find countless beauty articles declaring which aspects of your beauty routine to “splurge” on and which to “save” on. I say – without reservation – that a haircut falls solidly into the former category…and most of those articles back me up on this.
There are some cost-mitigating benefits to paying more for a better cut: in addition to needing less haircuts (see above), you’ll also need to buy less styling products, expensive conditioning treatments, etc., because the right cut “optimizes” your hair: it exploits your hair’s strengths and masks your hair’s weaknesses. These factors probably won’t cover the whole difference between a Supercut and a super cut, but hey, it’s something.
No surprise here: The better condition your hair is in, the better it looks when it dries naturally. (Also, the less you heat style your hair, the better condition it will be in over the long term. We’ve got an anti-vicious cycle going here.) Make sure to treat your hair to a conditioning treatment at least once a week. We love Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer here at TBHQ; it significantly improves hair quality: shine, texture, moisture, strength, etc. Since it’s pre-shampoo, you’re not confined to shower time for treatment. You can apply it an hour before your shower – or even the night before – really letting it sit in your hair for a while, working its magic.
Once you’ve found someone who really gets your hair like Peeta gets Katniss, ask her/him to show you how to make your hair gorge, sans styling tools. From shampoo to shine spray, get a list of all the products you should use, and how you should use them. Ask your stylist to show you the way with a quick demo. They have all sorts or tricks up their capes that we mere mortals are completely unaware of.
Experiment at Home
It may take a few tries, but you will figure out your hair’s magic formula. I used to comb my hair while it was still damp and then apply a mousse for volume and texture, until I found the S-HEART-S Scalp Brush. Now, I can skip the comb (which can have a flattening effect on my ‘do) and add a volume/texture product after my hair has dried a bit (towel dried if I’m in a rush…but never rubbed! Just squeezed inside the towel to absorb excess moisture.)
If you’re going to forgo the blow, experiment with texture products that can give hair some life and dimension. I love mousses (Arrojo makes great ones) and/or salt sprays. Depending on your hair, you may need to add a creamy product to smooth and fight frizz. Even if you’re completely frizz-free, gals with layers, and especially gals with layers and/or choppy cuts and/or hair that’s shoulder length or above should definitely experiment with applying a cream or oil just to the ends of hair. Applying these products gives hair “life” (I’m sure there is a bit of salon industry jargon I’m ignorant of for this phenomenon). Your hair won’t move as one huge mass, but each piece you created with the product kind of does its own thing. If you’d prefer a cream for this job, Caretrico After Treatment Enrich Milk is perfect. If you’d like an oil, Huile 27 is one of our favorite multi-purpose oils – you can put it on your face, body, nails and/or hair. If you’re going the oil route, wait until your hair has air dried a bit before applying, and of course, use sparingly! You can always add more if needed, but you can’t unapply it without a shampooing!
Have you blown off your blow dryer? We want to hear all about it! Leave us a comment and let’s chat!
By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram: @clairemcmack