How to Use a Diffuser on Curly Hair

You’ve just finished applying styling products to your soaking wet hair and are unsure of what to do next because your diffuser feels like a foreign object.

You’ve got a diffuser and know nothing about its usage, is it time to throw it in the closet? Nope! I’ll be sharing steps and techniques to help achieve your perfect hair dream using a diffuser.


Why do you need a diffuser?

diffused curly hair
Instagram/ @hairicome_

A diffuser is an attachment to a blow-dryer that disperses air evenly around your curls and stimulates natural air drying.

A diffuser helps to minimize frizz, keeps the curl pattern intact, and creates a big volume.

The amazing thing about using a diffuser is that it allows curls to retain their natural pattern and be frizz-free.

Simply put, a diffuser equals a faster morning routine and well-defined curls.

Preparatory Steps to take before diffusing Curly hair

1. It begins in the Shower

The art of great curls begins in the shower. Don’t you agree?

After the shampooing process, add a super-hydrating conditioner to help the curls stay moisturized.

Curly hair is naturally prone to dryness and this is because it isn’t naturally textured and so, it’s harder for the scalp’s natural oils or sebum to travel down the hair shaft from root to ends when the cuticle shape isn’t straight.

In essence, it lacks moisture, so the first thing after shampooing would be to add in a super hydrating conditioner.

Next, use a wide-tooth comb to delicately detangle conditioned hair and smooth out the knots without causing hair breakage.

To avoid disrupting curl patterns and enabling frizz, don’t attempt to comb out curls after they’ve begun to dry.

2. Do not use a Towel!

After stepping out of the shower, your thought might be to dry out your hair with a towel but don’t do that. Instead, squeeze out the excess water from your hair with a light T-shirt, or preferably a microfiber towel.

Using a softer fabric reduces friction and decreases the chance of hair damage.

With a towel, the hair would be irritated causing more frizz and hair breakage.

3. Your Curl pattern is up to you

If you feel like you still have knots, run your fingers through your hair and gently detangle it before the diffusing process.

Combing your curls shouldn’t be an option, as it would disrupt the curl’s natural pattern and encourage frizz.

To help the curls have a defined shape or look, you could apply a generous amount of curly hair mousse, curl cream, and a leave-in conditioner, that would also help them stay hydrated.

How do you use a diffuser?

hair diffuser
@Katrina Lalor

If you are not a fan of a massive volume of curls and just want to have that perfect balance of volume and frizz-free.

Try these out.

Step 1: Allow your hair to partially air dry after applying your preferred styling products.

One thing to note is before using a diffuser your hair health should be a priority and the best way to avoid damaging your hair is to use a heat protectant.

Here are some affordable heat protectants you can use:

CHI Silk Infusion

Aveda’s Damage Remedy daily hair repair 

Step 2: The Hover technique

Start with high heat and low setting and in a circulating motion and at a safe distance hover the diffuser facing downwards towards your hair roots. If you feel your arms getting weak or tired, you can brace the dryer where you’ll be comfortable.

Step 3: Make small head movements, and sway your hair from side to side while directing the diffuser.

How to diffuse for more volume and defined curls

Step 4: Change the heat setting to medium or low and the speed to medium. Take a section of your hair into the diffuser cup and place it on your head against the scalp and air-dry it for 10- 20 seconds, turn it off, and let your hair down.

Step 5: Switch to a different area till all the sections of your hair are done. Hang your head sideways or flip your hair side to side while diffusing so the roots don’t settle downward.

Step 6: To get an extra volume or add fluff to the root, you can try backcombing, especially if you have curly roots. You do this by holding the ends of your hair for a little extra control and brushing back, not out.

Mistakes To Avoid While Diffusing Curly Hair

1. Avoid touching your hair

Restrain from touching your hair with your fingers as you could take away some of the styling products and also introduce germs in the process, resulting in frizz and disrupting the curl pattern.

The general rule when it comes to diffusing curly hair is to keep your hands away because the more you touch, the worse it could get.

2. Start from the Root to the tip

I’ve seen most curlies diffuse directly to the curls with little or no attention to the roots and that is a very wrong thing to do as it could be damaging to the curls and result in hair breakage

3. Moving the diffuser around too much

The constant movement of the diffuser causes frizz. I know that’s probably contrary to what you’ve heard. But, minimal movement of the diffuser is the best way to dry your hair.

Instead, focus on making small head movements like tilting your head to the side or back, or flipping your hair side to side while your diffuser remains in a location and if you were to move the diffuser around, stay at a section for no more than 10-20 seconds before moving to the next.

4. Lack of Hair Protective Cover While sleeping

The need for a protective hair cover for sleeping might seem a bit much, but it’s totally necessary. When you sleep, your sheets absorb your hair’s natural oils, depleting them of moisture which would result in frizz.

Keeping your hair covered in a silk scarf or pillowcase would help retain moisture, reduce friction and maintain a curl pattern.

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