How to Dry Natural Hair with a Diffuser

by Bianca Lambert

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Seeking the best way to dry natural hair for curl definition or volume? Look no further. Two hair pros who specialize in curl care share the best techniques and tools to use. 

So you’ve found the right products for your curls, yet somehow still end up with a frizzy, undefined mane. As a 4c girl myself, I understand the frustration. But, it’s important to remember to love your kinks and coils—frizz and all! Thanks to my curl specialist, Christina Poitier of Southern Curl Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, I have a new diffuser technique that helped hydrate and elongate my coils for even more love.

Here are some of her game-changing tips on how to dry natural hair.

Curly natural 4c hair dried in the best way for volume

First, Consider A Hooded Dryer

With relaxed hair, sitting under a hooded dryer is expected at home and at the salon. However, Robin Sjoblom, owner of Southern Curl Inc., says that curly hair types can also benefit from sitting under a hooded dryer—especially dense 4c curls.

“All hair responds better under the hood dryer because of how it dries the hair,” Robin explains.

“Depending on the density of hair in the 4c range and [your] home maintenance regimen, you’ll see more defined curls when you sit under a dryer versus diffuse drying,” she shares. “The ionic hood dryer gives you evenly distributed air,” meaning that neither the air nor your curls move around. “It allows the hair to set evenly, and the product has the opportunity to penetrate the hair shaft.”

For that reason, “I think all curl girls should have a hood dryer for their self-care hair day,” she says.

Still, diffusing has its own styling merits.

use a diffuser for volume

If big hair is your ultimate goal, Sjoblom recommends diffusing.

“If you want to see more definition and let your curls expand over time, then the ionic hood dryer is your friend,” she advises. But “if you want defined curls with more blow-up fullness, use your ionic blow dryer and [a] diffuser.”

Just know that what type of blow dryer and the technique you use on your hair will largely determine the end result.

“Products matter, [but] a good blow dryer makes a big difference,” she says.

How to dry Natural Hair with a diffuser

Here’s the best way to dry natural hair with a diffuser for volume:

1. time your product correctly

The road to hydrated, defined curls starts before you even think about drying your hair. The products you select are one of the major components. However, timing of product application is also key.

If you’re like me and have low-porosity hair, Christina recommends applying products only when the hair makes a “squish” sound. When you work product from root to tip, that sound is an indicator that your hair is wet enough to layer the products for an optimal result.

2. Use the LOC Method

Robin recommends the LOC method for ordering your hair products. Start with a leave-in conditioner or liquid, then apply any oils, and use cream last.

To prevent frizz, she advises adding a sealer, such as a gel or light holding liquid. In my case, we used Original Moxie Pop Life Volumizing Mousse to seal in moisture.

3. gently diffuse

As you begin drying your hair, hold the hair dryer in the same area for a good minute or so. At this point, avoid agitating the curls. (Too much movement while drying initially will cause frizz.)

4. Add Volume

Once your hair is at least 80 percent dry, then Robin says you can start flipping your hair forward and back to build up the volume of your curls.

Showing off the results from the best way to dry natural hair for volume

5. make sure it’s set

Once your hair dries, Robin says you should feel a cast or shield on your coils. By then, you’ll know that your curls have set.

If you prefer to break the crunch later on, you can apply a light conditioning spray. Simply scrunch the product into the hair to add shine and soften your set. Personally, I like to do this on day two.

If you’d rather take this step during the actual drying and styling process, Robin says you can “increase the heat for penetration, but still don’t move the heat button all the way up.”

How Long Will it Last?

If you follow the natural hair drying steps outlined above, your set should last four to seven days depending on your lifestyle.

Luckily, I discovered that it truly is the best way to dry 4c hair. My style lasted for five full days, longer than any washday I’ve had as a natural.


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