Of all the things on my #NOPE list in the morning (which is an extensive list, suck it, mornings), I have to say blow-drying my hair is probably the NOPIEST. I hate blow-drying my hair in the a.m. It’s the worst. I hate standing in my bathroom with wet hair, being not-fully-awake and holding something mildly heavy and noisy over my head for five to ten minutes. I hate styling my hair with a brush in my other hand while doing this. I hate how there’s always one spot I didn’t dry well enough, so that later a cowlick does a merry Rockette-kick out from underneath my ‘do. BOO HAIR DRYERS.
My hatred for hair dryers means that I will do anything possible to avoid using one. Usually this means I’ll sleep on my damp hair at night, but that means I wake up with oddly bumpy, strangely waved hair that I don’t really know how to style. Now that I’m of an age where I’m noticing that most other people have simple human tasks such as grooming down pat, I want to do better. I’m ready to learn how to do my hair! I asked Heather Packer, Senior Stylist at Cutler Salons and founder of Fearless Beauty, to talk to me about a few ways I can style my hair without having to blow-dry it.
I asked Heather what daily blow-drying does to hair, thinking she’d tell me it was terrible for hair and praise me for hating to do it. Instead, I discovered it’s not all bad! “The amount of heat and styling that hair can withstand without damage depends on the hair texture, density, and condition of the hair,” says Heather. “For example, thick healthy shiny hair may be blow-dried daily with little or no negative effects, but fine, color-treated hair may be much more prone to more damage from blow-drying and heat styling.” So stay away from hair dryers if your hair is in any way damaged, right? Nah. “I tell my clients to remove as much moisture as possible through towel and hand drying, and then use heat protectants before drying, ironing, or curling their hair.”
What to do when you’re running out the door with wet hair but still have to look presentable? Do the bun! “When you are in a hurry, there is nothing that seems as chic as a bun,” says Heather. She outlined the process for me: “Starting with towel-dried hair (or for those who shower at night and allow hair to dry as they sleep), comb your hair back into a slick tight high or low ponytail. If it is low, use your natural part as a center and comb back, otherwise with a high pony, you can comb straight back. Once secured with a ponytail holder, twist the hair around itself into an effortless, clean bun.” This I can do. But only if the word “chic” is involved, instead of “lazy.”
I’d love to air-dry my hair and still have it look like I did it, instead of how it currently looks when I air-dry it, which is “kind of how it looked when I was 12.” Heather tells me it’s all about product choice, application, and timing. Apparently, it’s important that you apply plenty of product when the hair is still wet and gently towel-dried. “I like to use products that have hold and create separation,” she says. “Lately I have been loving applying a cream wax first, sectioning the hair in different-shaped and sized sections, and twisting the sections. Once the whole head has been twisted, I mist a salt spray over the top.” So what I’m hearing here is that in order to have air-dried waves that look done, I might have to do something to them. Go figure.
Heather had loads of ideas for me! First up: braids. “Braids are versatile, quick and easy.” Keep damp hair braided until dry and untie them for shiny, kinky waves, or keep ‘em in place and out of the way all day. And don’t forget parts! “I like to play with parting hair in different places and angles. Adding a severe part to a beachy wave look can dramatically change the look from a center part. I like center, side, straight, diagonal parts personally — just NO zigzagging!” No arguments with Heather on that one—I think next time I want to skip the blow dryer (read: tomorrow), I’ll try a deep side part and a chic low bun.