The best way to air dry your hair – without frizz or fuss
Written by: Brianna Peters
Published on: September 20, 2022
Photo courtesy of DanielBrunoGrandl/Blaublut-Edition.com
The confidence that comes from embracing your natural hair texture can be powerful. The bonus, of course, is that it keeps your hair healthy; blow drying and heat styling are harmful, no matter how careful you are. Top LA hairstylist (he often does Gwyneth’s hair for events) and creative director of Virtue Labs Adir Abergel loves a good air-dry—and he has incredible tips for making air-dried hair look its best.
Shampoo makes a big difference
in the way your hair looks
When blow-drying, you have many steps (and styling products) that can potentially change the appearance of your hair. When you air dry, the basics become more important because you don’t have all the styling backup. “Choose a shampoo that’s specific to your hair’s needs,” says Abergel. “If you lack volume, use a volumizing shampoo. If it’s dry and brittle, use something really moisturizing. Shampoo really makes the biggest difference.”
After you’ve conditioned, rinse with cold water
“Conditioner can be just as important as shampoo,” says Abergel, so choose one that’s right for your hair type and texture. And, he says, a quick cold rinse before you jump out of the shower helps seal the cuticle, for less frizz and more shine.
Detangle in the shower
“While your hair is wet and the conditioner is still soaking in, you have a little more release, so you’re less likely to break when you brush your hair,” says Abergel. He loves a wide-tooth comb or the popular Manta brush: “It’s so great and gentle on the scalp.”
Get serious about masks
“Treat your hair with a mask or serum once a week and your hair will be shinier and more elastic,” says Abergel. His tip: Smooth hair treatments from around where your brows are down to your tips. “The first few inches of your hair are typically the healthiest—you don’t need to put treatments there,” he says.
Dry without shaking
For a really special occasion (like the red carpet), Abergel avoids frizz by drying wet hair between paper towels or an old cotton T-shirt. “Place the ends of your hair between sheets of paper towels and scrunch it up so the paper towel absorbs most of the moisture,” he says. “It creates less friction, so your hair dries smoother.” In real life, microfiber towels perform a similar function, helping hair dry faster with significantly less frizz.
Styling creams and oils work wet or dry
Abergel suggests that those with curlier hair apply leave-in conditioner or frizz cream while the hair is still really wet. For straighter or wavy hair types, use a cream or oil after your hair is somewhat dry. “I smooth the product over my hands like a hand cream and then run it through my hair,” he says. “That way, the product distributes itself evenly.”
The editors’ tricks for their best air dry
executive beauty director
Hair type: Wavy and dry
“I agree with Adir: Shampoo makes all the difference. I alternate between Grown Alchemist Nourishing and Rahua Hydration – I just can’t choose. But if I really want my hair to look amazing, I use the goop hair serum before I shampoo: The resulting texture and shine is really noticeable. I find that conditioner makes a little less of a difference, but again I use GA’s Nourishing and Rahua’s Moisturizing. I go out, smooth in Sangre de Fruta leave-in conditioner and brush my hair (once, ideally) with the incredible No. 002 brush from Crown Affair (it feels like heaven) and I’m done.”
associate beauty director
Hair type: Curly and dry
“My hair mood is gently tousled and relaxed, whether I’m heading into the office or sipping a Negroni at a fancy wedding. To give my curls soft definition, it’s not also polished, after washing I wrap it in this special microfiber towel that speeds up drying time; then after a few minutes I spray this frizz-smoothing, super-moisturizing leave-in cream that smells faintly of mango and holiday (a leave-in moisture bomb like this is the secret to making curly hair shiny and manageable). I gather my damp lengths into four braids around my head and twist each one into a little bun, secured with these thin silk scrunchies that don’t hang (and look so cool). In the morning, I untangle the braids and the resulting curly, beachy, silky texture is exactly what I want.”
associate beauty editor
Hair type: Straight, fine and highlighted
“If I leave my hair to it’s own devices, it air dries lifeless and flat, with no waves, volume or texture. Here’s what works: When I get out of the shower, I lightly towel dry and then apply a generous amount of leave-in conditioner from my mid-lengths to the ends. Then I divide my hair into six sections while still damp, twist each section, then twist three already twisted sections together and clip them at the ends with these incredible clips. They easily secure my hair and leave no residue kinks or dents. The result? Sexy, tousled hair with a not-too-perfect vibe.”
assistant beauty editor
Hair type: Thin, full and smooth
“As soon as I get out of the shower, I wrap my hair in a towel so my hair dries faster, with a softer texture and a little more volume. I brush my hair through once, and if I’m still in my apartment, once it’s completely dry, I add two drops of this amazing hair oil to the ends for shine.”