My blowdryer and I took a break this summer; with the heat index in the triple digits, the last thing I wanted was to spend 15-20 minutes blasting my head with hot air in my tiny bathroom, so I let my thick mane do it’s sort-of-wavy thing, and fully embraced the art of the air dry. Now I’m totally hooked on the low-maintenance routine, and as I grow out last year’s lob and highlights in an effort to “get back to my roots” — grays and all — using fewer hot tools means less breakage and healthier, happier hair.
To get maximum volume and texture with minimum effort, I use a team of great products to do the hard work for me: de-puff and tame frizz, lift up the roots, enhance my hair’s natural wave/curl, and add some grit and separation for that effortlessly undone, ‘lived-in’ look.
I rounded up some of my favorite everyday styling products, as well as a few tips for the best #airhair!
1. Good “air hair” starts in the shower.
I tend to use a lot more product when I air dry, so I lather up once a week with Bumble & Bumble’s clarifying Sunday shampoo for a deep cleanse, and follow it up with a super-hydrating Davines conditioner. Through the rest of the week, I use Living Proof ‘Perfect Hair Day’ shampoo and conditioner as needed.
I always let conditioner ‘marinate’ in my hair for 3-5 minutes for deep hydration. While it’s in there doing it’s thing, I use a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle. I like this one; it’s 2 bucks at Target and has a handle to hang on my shower caddy.
When I’m finished with my shower, before I step out, I use my hands to wring as much water out of my hair as possible and immediately (and generously) spray a leave-in conditioner from mid-length to ends. Right now I’m loving Bumble & Bumble’s Invisible Oil, but It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product is great, too, and available at most drugstores.
Every now and then, I put a tiny bit of my favorite multi-purpose oil through the ends for extra hydration.
2. Do not towel dry. I repeat: do NOT towel dry!
The less you touch your hair after the shower, the better your air dry results. As someone who’s spent decades twisting her sopping wet hair up into a towel turban, this was a difficult habit to break, but trust me, you’ll reduce frizz and maintain more of your hair’s natural wave and texture if you let it dry on its own.
Just ring out any excess water with a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt and go about your business. (You’ll get used to the feeling of a very wet shirt.)
While you’re at it, skip any combing or brushing after this point, too. You already detangled with a comb and conditioner in the shower, so you should be good to go! If you still have tangles or just can’t resist one more brush-through, try a Wet Brush.
3. Add a styling balm.
While your hair is still wet, work a styling balm through the length, avoiding the roots and crown. Two of my favorites are the Don’t Blow It (H)air Styler and Hairstory’s hair balm. They both help to control frizz and tame fly-aways while adding definition and “piecey-ness” — yep, that’s a word — to layers for that lived-in, easy texture.
If I want more texture, I add a tiny bit of Moroccanoil Beach Wave Mousse through the length and scrunch. It blows my mind how much curl I get from this stuff, but I have to be careful because it can get super crunchy if I use too much.
A note: I like to wash my hair in the evening to save a step in my morning routine, so I do most of my air drying at night. When I do, I stop here and pick up with step 4 in the AM. Sometimes I go in with a curling wand first to fix any weird flat pieces that I slept on, and/or add some easy waves to the front.
4. Lift the roots.
When my hair is nearly dry, I use a dry shampoo or volumizing texture spray to lift up the roots. Living Proof’s Full Dry Volume Blast is the best and gives my hair some serious oomph. (I also really enjoy the amp² Instant Texture Volumizer, and I recently added Alterna’s Caviar Miracle Multiplying Volume Mist to my routine after receiving a travel size in a Sephora Play box.)
A tip for dry shampoo and volume sprays: lift your hair a bit at the root, and spray from underneath at least 10-12 inches away. Then use your fingers to massage the product in as you push the roots up.
5. Finish with a wave spray.
As a final step to add a little sheen and hold my waves all day, I lightly spray this heavenly-smelling wave spray all through my hair and give it one more good scrunch.