How to Air Dry Your Curly Hair for Volume

I’m not too fond of heat styling and prefer to wear my hair naturally, but there are instances when I am forced to use a diffuser. Even though I like to let my hair air dry, I do not enjoy looking like a wet dog for most of the morning. I figured I’d provide a few tips for hastening the air drying process.

Although air drying curly hair is the safest method, if done wrong, it might harm your hair; you’re probably startled. You want to make sure you are checking these; excessive wind exposure and humid conditions can be harsh on the strands. Additionally, it may stretch and break off if the hair absorbs too much moisture.

How to Air Dry Curly Hair Without Causing Frizz, More Volume, and Faster Drying Time 

Air Dry Curly Hair
Instagram / @curls_by_mer

To start the air drying process, begin with a wash, start by saturating your hair under the sink or running water and adding a moisturizing or sulfate-free shampoo to minimize frizz.

A sulfate-free shampoo enables the hair to retain its natural oils because it doesn’t contain harsh surfactants like sulfates which are too stripping and result in dryness and an outcome of that is frizz for us curlies. The reason is that curly hair is naturally textured, so the hair’s natural oils find it difficult to travel down the hair shaft.

Afterward, you follow up with a conditioner applying from the mid-lengths to the tips and gently finger detangling in the process to ensure the hair strands are evenly distributed and coated. If fingers alone won’t get those tangles out, use a wide tooth comb or brush to detangle, working your way in sections. Give your hair a thorough rinse after that.

1. Wash First Thing in the Morning 

This should be an obvious tip; you want to cut off your drying time and be able to step out of the house, wake up earlier than you usually would, and give your hair a good wash.

2. Apply Products to Wet Hair

Now that we’ve got nice wet hair squeeze out the excess water. Start applying your favorite product; I love the air dry leave-in conditioner from curl smith; it is weightless, which would help the hair dry faster because the more product you have on it, the longer it takes to dry. And it also helps to ensure the strands stay moisturized, minimizing frizz.

To apply the leave-in conditioner, take a quarter-size amount in your palms, rub together and rake it through your hair. After which, add in a generous amount of gel because you’ll be plopping after.

3. Plopping with a T-shirt

Plopping your curls is one great way to achieve defined curls and reduce drying time. While it works beautifully for some, others have reported that it doesn’t, and that’s perfectly okay. But it’s worth giving it a try!

hair plopping

To plop, you’ll need either a microfiber towel that is excellent at absorbing moisture and lint-free or a t-shirt with long sleeves.

There are various methods for plopping curls. Lay the towel or t-shirt used as the plopping device on a surface that is handy for you to start. Bending forward, flip your hair to the front, grab the towel’s ends, drape it over your head, and twist the ends of your hair as you stand. You now have two towel side rolls. Rolls like these should be tucked, tied, clipped, or wrapped around your head.

Reverse Plopping is another technique; start this process standing with your hair just hanging, normally down your back. Lay the hem of the t-shirt across your shoulders with the sleeves and neck hanging below and your hair comfortably sitting on it. Take sides resting on the shoulder and make a knot at the top of your head.

With the sleeves and the body of your shirt resting on your back, fold upwards, enveloping the hair to the knot at the front, and tuck the neckband area underneath with the sleeves dangling at this point. Take those sleeves forward and secure the plop by making a knot at the front. You could tuck the tails into the folds at the sides.

After hair plopping
After hair plopping by @theflirtylashes

4. Let your Hair Dry

After plopping, style your hair in the other direction for additional volume by parting it in a series of diagonals from the rear of the crown to the front of the section and brushing it off in opposing directions at the crown.

While the hair is air drying, clip some of the roots! Set your bangs in the style you choose if you have them. They usually stay wherever they are dry. When air drying, movement is the word! Your hair won’t dry if you remain motionless as a statue. Get moving and sway your hair from side to side.

Flip your hair, so it sits on top of your pillow if you want to let it air dry overnight. A pillowcase made of silk or satin can help ensure your curls are frizz free the next morning due to the smooth surface area; your curls experience reduced friction. I do not suggest sleeping on a plop since having a wet cloth touching your head all night might worsen existing scalp conditions and lead to long-term problems like fungus.

5. Diffuse for 10- 15 minutes 

This is optional, but in my experience, lower porosity hair types and longer, thicker curly hair may require it. Your hair’s porosity mostly determines how quickly it dries. Your hair’s porosity determines its capacity to take in and hold moisture.

The high porosity hair type can quickly absorb and release moisture as well; they could have their hair dry in 1-2 hours. Low porosity hair doesn’t absorb moisture easily but can retain it well. We low porosity curlies could spend hours or days drying our hair.

Connect a diffuser to a blow dryer to diffuse. A diffuser is excellent for adding volume, maintaining the curl pattern, and distributing natural air evenly to reduce frizz.

Hover the diffuser on your head and circulate at the roots of your hair to ensure it is thoroughly dried, and direct the diffuser on the sections that aren’t completely dry. 

You could use a diffuser on your hair after styling to get it 50 percent dry and let it air dry completely or diffuse after air drying. For more volume when diffusing, scoop the curls into a diffuser bowl, turn on the blow dryer using low to medium settings and let it sit for about ten seconds; turn it off, and do the rest for the remaining sections.

6. Scrunch the Crunch 

The scrunch is that crispy and crunching feeling the gel presence gives the hair. To rid that cast-off, add a hair serum, or your hands can do just fine. As you wrap upwards, take a section and cup the curls, giving them a good squeeze.

Do this process on dry hair, and if you feel the volume isn’t enough, insert a hair picker at the root of your hair and give it a lift. Or, insert your fingers at the root and give your hair a shake underneath those curls.

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