When I’m working in the salon one of the main things I find myself doing for new clients is giving them blow drying and styling hacks. A lot of the time people don’t need a dramatic change of style, they need something they can manage themselves. It’s our job as hairdressers to help show clients how to manage the haircut we give them. In this post I’ll give you some of my top blow drying and styling hacks to help you with the ever-confusing task of styling your own hair.
Blow drying your fringe area.
Fringes can be a bit of a marmite style. You either love them or hate them. If you have one cut in it could be the greatest decision you ever made, or it could ruin your life for 12 weeks. There are so many ways you can cut and wear a fringe, but generally, they should all be dried with this method.
1. Put down the round brush.
Round brushes should be used to finish, never to begin. And even then, they may not be necessary. Grab yourself a flat brush, by which I mean something like a slim paddle brush. My personal favourite is the classic Denman D3.
2. Remove any parting you have.
Work with your fringe as a whole. This rule applies to drying your hair in general. I always recommend putting the parting in once your hair is dry.
3. Opposites attract.
This is my ultimate hair hack. Always dry your hair in the opposite direction to where you want it to sit. For example, if your fringe sweeps to the right, you will be drying it to the left.
Grab your brush, and brush the hair down and across your face in the opposite direction. I call this a ‘wrapping’ technique, as you are wrapping the hair around the head. This means you are utilising your head and its natural curve to get a soft bevel on your fringe.
Blow drying against your hairs natural fall also helps flatten any jumps or cows licks you may have. Once dry, flip it over to where you want it to sit. If you want more volume, or more of a bevel (bend) on the ends, now is the time for your round brush. Working with your fringe as a whole again, and in the opposite direction, round brush to your desire. The next hack also applies to your fringe blow dry.
Hair sets as it cools.
The heading pretty much sums this one up. But how does this apply to your blow drying and styling regime? Let me tell you the many ways. With the fringe, say you have finished round brushing to get an extra bounce in it. As soon as you pull the brush and dryer away, your hair remains hot. DO NOT TOUCH your hair, only if you want to pull that volume and shape straight out.
It is a natural temptation to immediately run your hands through it and put it into place. This will undo the work you have done. If you are in a rush, then use the cool setting on your hairdryer. Most have a handy little button that gives you a ‘shot’ of cold air. This saves you trying to faff with the other settings while holding your hair in a brush with the other hand.
It is completely possible to curl hair with both straighteners and a curling tong. Most straighteners (or irons) have bevelled edges for this exact purpose. The hair sets while it cools rule is so important when curling hair. A lot of clients in the salon tell me their hair doesn’t hold a curl. I see it as a personal challenge to literally give them waves for days. I’m also asked a lot if clients should be using a curling tong or wand rather than a straightener. My answer to this is everyone can curl their hair with either, there are a few tricks to help along the way.
When curling hair with hot tools, you are putting about 150-230 Celsius on your hair. That’s hot. Because of this intense heat you do not need to be holding your hair in the tool for a long time. Just long enough to evenly distribute the heat. Even heat distribution is another key factor we will address.
Curling with straighteners.
This technique requires you to place the straightener/iron about half way down the hair, flip it 180 degrees, and slide it down. This is where even heat distribution is important. If you do this in a jerky motion, or stop at any point, you will get ‘hot spots’, and put dents in your curl. This whole motion needs to be as smooth as possible, and glide the iron through the hair.
The trick here is; the faster you slide the iron through the hair, the tighter the curl. Likewise, the slower you pull the iron through the hair, the looser the curl. If you find when you release the hair that the curl is too tight or bounces up too much, simply pull it down. As it sets as it cools, if you hold it straight, it will loosen the curl. This is why you should not touch your curls if you feel they are not too tight, until the hair is completely cold.
Curling with tongs.
If you are using tongs with a clip, then you will clip the hair, flip it 180 degrees and slide it down. Follow the instructions above as the same rules apply. If you stop at any point that clip will put a lovely line in your hair, so fluidity is key.
Wands or tongs without a clip on them need a little less thought. Simply wrap the hair around the wand in the direction you want the curl to sit. Tap the hair that is wrapped around the wand to see if it is hot. If it is cold, this means the heat has not reached the outer hair and so it will not curl. Again, release and do not touch the hair until it is cold, unless you feel like it is far too tight a curl, then pull it down.
Using a round brush.
If you struggle with using a round brush to polish your hair, this trick is for you. I understand the struggle trying to use a round brush and a hairdryer at the same time. It is one I hear of too often. If you don’t own a round brush with a metal barrel, then I recommend you get one.
Most round brushes have aluminium barrels designed to retain heat. This is to help you smooth the hair while blow drying. You can use this to your advantage if you really struggle. Heat the barrel of the brush using the hair dryer, then work it through the hair, and hold it in place of the style desired. I.e. if you want a bend on the ends, roll the ends in several times and then hold the brush on the ends for a few seconds. The longer you hold it, the better. What you are doing is heating the hair to manipulate and smooth it, then allowing it to cool. And, therefore set.