For curly-hair girls, a hair diffuser is a styling essential. It helps tame frizz and gives your curls or waves bounce, volume, and shape, without making them look greasy or crunchy.
To get the most out of your hair diffuser, experts suggest starting with a freshly washed head and applying a heat protectant before blow-drying.
If you are a member of the curly hair club and want to get those picture-perfect bouncy curls that grace red carpets and magazine pages, a diffuser is your friend. A diffuser is an attachment that goes on the end of a blow dryer that helps retain your curl pattern by spreading out the air flow.
Before you begin diffusing, apply a curl-enhancing product (such as a mousse or leave-in conditioner). Then, start with your roots and work your way down, section by section. Remember to never touch your hair while it’s diffusing, since touching the curls will cause them to frizz up.
Next, liberally spritz your hair with a thermal protectant to place a barrier between your hair and the heat. Finally, put on a pair of rubber gloves and get to work. Using a diffuser can be tricky at first, but once you master the technique, you will have gorgeous ringlets or coils in no time.
Curly girls can spend hours waiting for their locks to air dry, but the right hair diffuser can make all the difference. “Curly hair needs gliding agents to help it slide through the fiber and hydrate all the way down,” says Fitzsimons, who recommends the T3 Soft Curl diffuser because of its elongated prongs.
The key is to keep the hand movement to a minimum—trying to scrunch or comb your curls while they’re drying can cause frizz, says Cusamano. Instead, she suggests using your fingers to lightly separate your curls and then diffusing them with a low setting.
If you have wavy hair, you can also use a diffuser to boost volume and tame frizz. Just be sure to only apply heat when your locks are 80% dry, as this will prevent over-drying and split ends. The T3 Soft Curl diffuser has a nozzle that can be adjusted to control the amount of air flow, so you can easily switch between a lighter or heavier amount of moisture.
For girls with straight strands, the hair diffuser can be used to create a looser and more beachy look. With the right product cocktail and a lot of scrunching, you can get a slight wave or curl to your hair for a more relaxed summer style, or even a night out with friends.
For a more defined look, add in some curl or wave-preserving hair serum. Use your fingers to apply the product, then gently scrunch the ends of your hair while diffusing to lock in a soft bend and help define your waves or curls.
The general rule when diffusing curly hair is to gently dry your strands until they are about 80% dry, advises Diaz. Then, let your hair air dry for a bouncy finish that looks hydrated. (Check out more of our favorite curl-enhancing products here.) But there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to diffusing textured hair.
With a hair diffuser, even girls with long wavy or curly hair can get that buoyant, voluminous mane they’ve been dreaming of. The key is knowing the right technique and using a good hair product that works with your texture.
Once you’ve detangled with a hair brush for curly hair, start diffusing your locks at the roots and midsection, concentrating on hard-to-reach areas like the back of the head and the center of the neck. When you reach the ends, flip your hair over and use the diffuser upside down to dry them in a lifted position for added volume.
Continue to gently diffuse until your hair is about 80% dry and let the rest air-dry for a voluminous finish. Adding curl or wave-preserving hair products before and during the drying process can also help your strands retain their shape and give them more bounce. Then, spray your hair with a light hold hairspray to keep your bouncy look intact all day.