Hang around anyone with hair that’s got more than just a bit wave to it and you’ll hear the travails of living with curly hair. Not to mention life with curls comes with a vocabulary and worries almost all its own.
Rake and shake.
Terms like that come up especially when the conversation turns to styling curly locks.
You also soon find out that some feel curly hair, much like that kid screaming at the top of their lungs in the restaurant the other night, needs serious discipline.
Turns out the discipline is actually quite easy to come by.
It comes in the form of an unexpected styling tool and a product many claim they can’t live without. Plus, of course, knowing how to use them in concert to produce amazing, humidity resistant curls helps.
The Tool? Your blow dryer armed with a diffuser used correctly.
The product? Ouidad Climate Control gel applied liberally to your ready-to-be-unruly, yet still damp strands.
So you got it?
You need more?
Okay. If you insist.
Quick Section Navigation
- Diffuser Deliverance
- The Diffuser Difference
- Ion Disparity
- Styling Product Must Have
- Video Tutorial: How To Blow-Dry Curly Hair Using A Diffuser
- Five More Curly Hair Diffuser Tips
- VIDEO: Is It Better To Air Dry Or Diffuse Curly Hair?
- How To Diffuse Curly Hair For Volume
- How To Diffuse Curly Hair Without Frizz
Bonus: In a hurry? Want more? No worries. Let me send you the super-sized guide “33 Genius Diffuser Tips for Those Sick of Frizzy Hair”. It’s just what you need if you hate how frizzy hair makes you look. Click here to get it FREE!
To get a full dose of the technique involved be sure to watch the video below. But let’s do a little more prep work before turning you loose on that.
Because without a doubt a headful of big, bouncy bodacious curls looks OMG gorgeous, doesn’t it?
It’s just that getting your hair to that point of awesomeness sometimes can take a lot of work.
Enter the diffuser.
Yep. To cut down on that work is why I suspect the hair dryer diffuser was invented.
This odd looking dryer nozzle is a gift from the hair gods to girls with curls.
It exists solely to lead you to frizz free curly hair happiness.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
As stylist Britt White pointed out in Good Housekeeping magazine:
“A diffuser is a blowdryer attachment that minimizes a lot of the frizz that comes when curly hair is naturally air dried. It also gives a boost to the curls that may lay flat because of your hair’s weight and length.”
White goes on to point out your diffuser is the perfect tool for gently setting curl patterns or bringing out the loveliness of curls hidden in hair that appears to be simply wavy.
If you think about it, all you’re doing is just giving your curls some direction when wet that will allow them to shape up when dry.
In other words the diffuser has the ability to make all the difference in how your curly hair looks.
Naturally this assumes you are moisturizing properly, not over shampooing, not brushing, not vigorously rubbing your mane with a towel after showering and so forth.
The Diffuser Difference
Okay so a diffuser works like this.
Rather than exposing your curls to the hurricane force winds that normally blast out from the business end of your blow dryer, the diffuser cups your hair and gently disperses the air around the swirling strands to maintain your curl pattern.
This is important since it disturbs the curls as little as possible while teasing out maximum curl definition and texture.
Best of all this reduces the risk of a frizz breakout to nearly zero. And you don’t need me to tell you that’s a common complaint for those with curly mops.
The result are well formed curls that pop in a way that’s possible no other way – assuming you avoid the mistake of a frontal assault with your hair dryer.
Another possible blow drying mistake some make is to unleash a stream of ions on their curls. The result can be hair that looks deflated since the ions naturally depress any hope of body and volume.
So stash your high tech ionic dryer and go old school.
Not to say ionic dryers don’t have their place. Just probably not in your bathroom.
Somewhat Twisted Is Good
Also don’t underestimate the role twisting small sections of hair plays when styling.
Honestly, sometimes curl control depends on how well you can wrap your strands around your finger.
Meaning a gentle twist that starts at the scalp and ends at the tips will create smooth uniform curls AND deal with any frizz that may be thinking about forming. Leaving you with curls like this:
Styling Product Must Have
Finally as hinted earlier, the right product can make all the difference between showing off properly tousled curly locks and a frizz ball trying to pass as a hair style.
Many have found the right product to be Ouidad Climate Control gel applied before unleashing the diffuser.
To apply it you want to take your hair in small sections and rake about a nickel to quarter sized dollop through your hair.
Then shake things up to promote curl formation.
This is often referred to as the “Rake and Shake” which the Ouidad website explains in more detail quite nicely if you’re not familiar with the term.
Anyway, you want to work your way around your head through all the hair not being stingy with the product. Done right it will lock out Public Enemy #1, humidity, while helping to define your curls to perfection.
Best of all it performs this styling sleight of hand without leaving your hair the least bit crunchy.
Giving you a frizz free style that holds day after day all without weighing your curls down. Making this gel worth every penny.
With that I feel we’re ready for the video that pulls this all together.
Video Tutorial: How To Blow-Dry Curly Hair Using A Diffuser
First apply the Ouidad Climate Control gel throughout your damp mane.
For pretty curls framing your face, take small strands of hair, twirl them, then let the hair fall off your finger.
If you spot any bits of hair displaying the slightest hint of frizz give them special attention now. Finger curl them too.
Once that product’s been applied flip your hair forward and scrunch away.
Next it’s time to reach for your blow dryer. With the diffuser firmly in place set the dryer on the low power setting and at most warm heat.
The big idea here is to diffuse from as many angles as you can to help with the volume.
Once again flip your hair forward and while upside down let the strands drape on the diffuser. (This is often referred to as cupping your hair with the diffuser.) Then slide the blow dryer up into your strands. Depending on how long your hair is this step might require three to five minutes or longer.
Next flip your hair to the side and repeat the process again letting your hair fall onto the diffuser as you lift it into the mass of curls. This is another three minute process.
Okay you guessed it, now you flip it to the opposite side keeping in mind the idea is to approach your hair from different angles.
Then flip your hair upside down for old time’s sakes and continue diffusing.
TIP: Use your free hand, the one NOT holding the blow dryer, to get a little opening at the roots for air flow.
Finally give your curls a cold blast. Keep the power reduced but change the heat setting to cool or cold. Do this with your hair upside down and then to each side. You want to seal the deal, ie definition, with the cool air.
If I can read your mind, yes, this does take a while. But if the style holds so you don’t shampoo but every four or five days it’s not so bad.
Besides the difference between air drying compared to diffuser drying can be dramatic. Get a load of her beauteous curls!
Oh and if a lack of volume near the roots is a problem for you, you may want to try the volume boosting approach she explains in the video.
One last bit of advice that I know you know – but don’t touch your curls once they’re dry. You’ll just mess up the curl which is not a smart thing to do if you want the curls to hold up.
Five More Curly Hair Diffuser Tips
Here’s a few more quick tips and tricks for diffusing your curls with your blow dryer.
Tried Layering on Products?
You probably know products can make or break your curls. Many have found that layering them on in a specific order makes a huge difference when it comes to softness and frizz reduction.
Sure some just go with leave in conditioner by itself. Others find that leave in plus curling cream, an oil, or styling gel for extra moisture and hold.
You know, the ole LOC, LCEG or LCO routine? (The details of which we’ll leave for another time.)
Here’s why to LOC, LCEG or LCO.
Two words. Moisture retention.
The promise of bouncy, defined, frizz almost free curls should make it worth at least testing to see what layering can do for you.
Target the Roots Then The Ends
Which part of your curly strands are driest? Right the ends.
Which part takes the longest to dry? Right again, the roots.
If you target the roots and ends at once the ends will get fried.
Which is why you may want to scrunch the diffuser into your hair and let it linger at your roots to give them extra volume and definition.
Oh and some swear turning off the dryer whenever repositioning the diffuser avoids frizz. Others feel it lets them avoid disrupting curls patterns. You may or may not find this makes a difference for you but enough do it to make it worth bringing up.
Need to Adapt?
This isn’t so much a tip as much as a solution to an often seen problem.
Because don’t you just hate it when you see a raved about diffuser online (looking at you Xtava Black Orchid Diffuser) but it’s not universal?
SnozzlePro to the rescue! It gives you a way to get a perfect fit while avoiding having to duct tape your diffuser onto your blow dryer. How great is that?
As long as the nozzle diameter of your hair dryer comes in at between 1.5 inches to 2.25 inches you’ll be SnozzlePro good to go
Stop When Hair Is Almost Dry
When drying curly hair with a diffuser you’re not necessarily shooting for 100% dry. (Unless your hair is prone to frizz – then see below.) Instead 90-95% dry may be a better target. Almost but not quite.
That said what you likely want the driest is your roots cause no one like halo frizz.
Pick or Fluff For Extra Volume
Don’t forget to get all the body and volume possible takes one more step.
Essentially you’re stealing a bit more volume with just a little effort.
Working your hair over with a pick or fluffing your curls from the underside is a smart way to give things one final body boost.
Now you may also be wondering …
Is It Better To Air Dry Or Diffuse Curly Hair?
So yeah, should you air dry or diffuse curly hair?
This is a question that brings out different points of view. Strong opinions even.
Some swear using a diffuser unleashes a frizz-fest in their hair. Not to mention doing so shrinks their curls almost beyond recognition. (Although not the end of the world if that’s the look you’re going for.)
But as others are quick to point out do you really have the whole day to wait for your curls to finally dry?
Then too there’s that wet hair laying on the back of your neck or down your back thing. And don’t you just hate how that feels?
Well this battle of styling techniques shows the side by side difference of air drying vs diffusing.
I always love a good side by side technique comparison, don’t you?
Three hours later the air dried side was done.
Which result do you like better?
Then there’s this benefit of diffusing.
How To Diffuse Curly Hair For Volume
Do your curls seem to have a mind of their own?
But the porosity, texture and density all play a role in how well your strands will respond to a specific hacks. So admittedly volume tricks like these five will work for some but not another. Just so you know.
Hack #1: Scrunching the diffuser fingers deep into your hair can add lots more volume because the air movement helps to elevate the roots.
Hack #2: Smart styling product usage can help too. That’s because any product formulated to bodify when combined with diffusing will only work that much better.
Which means products like volumizing mousse are one way to go. Applied before drying it lets your curls dry with a lot of extra volume baked in.
Hack #3: Earlier we shared a hack to try if you suffer from next to no lift near your crown. Here’s another.
Strategically placed duckbill clips or root clips stuck in at the roots can also coax added lift at the root level. They work because they lift the root up and away from your scalp. These on Amazon are what I’m talking about.
Hack #4: Another obvious trick would be to diffuse with your hair flipped upside down. This helps many curly girls get added volume.
Hack #5: A not so obvious one would be to use hair picks to gently fluff the curls up and out to build in volume. You do this AFTER you’re done diffusing. Some find that ratting with the pick just the least little bit helps too. Just beware picking your curls for volume can be both addicting and life changing.
Wondering How To Diffuse Curly Hair Without Frizz?
Using a hair dryer without a diffuser is just asking for frizz. But you still have to use the attachment right to avoid the unwanted frizz fest. So if you’re wondering “How Do I stop diffusing frizz” keep reading.
Just understand as with anything curly hair there are few absolutes. The idea here is to share ideas that should work. But you may have to customize them for your hair.
Naturally everyone wants big, voluminous, frizz free curls. To get those you need holy grail products that work with your hair. It’s all the more true that the right products can make a huge difference when it comes to frizz.
Everyone’s best-ones-to-use-will vary. But the list of ones to layer in might include the usual suspects like a mousse or a leave in combined with light defining gel.
Damp Hair Please
Then while sopping wet hair is often required for products you don’t want sopping wet hair for diffusing.
So it’s never a bad idea to start off by plopping your hair for at least 10-15 minutes or so to sop up the excess moisture into the micro fiber towel.
This also cuts down the dryer time. Now if you need it here’s a refresher we put together on the right way to plop your hair.
Remember. Despite what was mentioned earlier about leaving things ALMOST dry if your hair is prone to frizz you’re not done until your hair is 100% dry. Anything short of 100% just opens the door for things to frizz up.
Thought this video sorta tied a lot of this all together. If you haven’t seen it yet it’s worth a watch.
The biggest takeaway to me was that everyone’s curls are different. It’s going to take some experimentation to find out the routine that works best for you.
You know things like …
- Blow dryer heat and fan settings.
- Which products.
- Finger coiling yes or no?
- And what to do when
… are a good place to start.
But then you already knew that, right?
Wait! There’s more …
This post is a good start. But this bonus special report I put together for you is a better next step.
It reveals 33 epic hacks – from frizz busters, to definition enhancers to volume boosters.
Like…diffuser mistakes not to make…how to get the best curl definition of your life… what blow dryer settings are best and when to break that rule…how dry is too dry…what to do to lock out your arch enemy – humidity…how to fix unflattering flatness on the top of your head aka the land lift forget.
Every curly girl needs to know these truly genius hair diffuser tricks – but only if you love beautifully bouncy curls. This deep dive into diffusers can help.
Fill in your email above so I can send it to you.
Now if you could use more genius hair hacks like this little gem please do remember to follow our curly haired board on Pinterest, okay curlfriend?
Loved this? thank you.
Love the video! I couldn’t find the clips she used for root volume. Can you help?
Glad it was helpful. 🙂 The post was updated with a link to the clips used.
You know was so so HILARIOUS….. it’s a rule for curlies to NEVER use a hairdryer that’s releases IONS…. but she was more than happy to announce this is the ICONic hairdryer…. ? i thought that was too too funny. Other than that I think her hair is gorgeous and would be even more gorgeous if she had drenched it with some regular or leave in conditioner, or even a cream…. It’s seems that her hair should have had WAY MORE moisture before adding the gel but I have heard SO MANY good things about this gel… Gonna get some soon. I have naturally curly hair and also follow the curly girl method very strictly but I have yet to break down and get a layered cut…. It’s very long but I feel if the right person cut it that it would look even better. I actually screenshot this girl in video because I LOVE her cut/shape/layers….its just hard to find someone here in Gadsden Alabama that is a curl expert. I seriously need some layers and her hair TRULY made me want them for sure. She is gorgeous!!!!! ?
Debbie Wiseman says
Thank you so very much. I am going to be 60 in November (60 is the new 40 lol, yeah tell my body that, anywho, I try to stay up with all things fashion & I have a big old head of natural curls. This video is going to help me so much. I am going to try the OUIDAD hair gel also!!! From one curly head girl to another Thanks again????
Look at you! A start at something new is more than most people who have read this ever achieve. Glad you found this info helpful, Debbie. And do enjoy the last month’s of being a youthful 50-something!
Thanks for the tricks I will rehearse with my Karmin that I love.
I find that the constant moving around of the diffuser disturbs my curls and leads to frizz. My very best hair days happen when I have the time to apply my product, clip my roots for volume and then allow my hair to COMPLETELY air dry without touching it AT ALL. If I do this, I get shiny, defined, frizz-free curls.
I was unable to find the link to the root-lifting clips. Help?
They’re called Roller Jaw Clamps and can be found various places. That link leads to Amazon.
Is it ok to brush your hair before you do all this?
As a general rule, Bailey, you want to avoid brushing your curls, right? You may use a wide tooth comb to detangle. But it may be best to deal with those while in the shower. Brushing or combing once your hair has started to dry runs the risk of a frizz outbreak. So the rule would be no brushes unless your hair is wet. Hope that helps.
I find much better results if you layer on the products fresh out of the shower, before plopping any water out of my hair. While it’s still soaking wet, apply the products, then use the microfiber towel to squish the curls, plop then diffuse. Much less frizz and the curls really keep form. Water is your best friend for curly haired girls! Also, the denman brush to get those real finger curls with evenly distributed products. But again, products THEN plop!
Good points. Thanks, Austin!