The Biggest Blow-Drying Mistakes You’re Making (and How to Fix Them!)

Rachel Krause
Alliance/iStock/Getty Images

Alliance/iStock/Getty Images

We aren’t particularly enthusiastic about blow-drying our own hair on a regular basis, but like flossing or getting our eyebrows waxed, it’s a basic maintenance move that we feel qualified to maintain. After all, mastering a solid at-home blowout is one of the best ways to save time and money in our beauty routine, but we’ll also readily admit that it can feel like a chore. Aching wrists? A frizzy finish? We’ve all been there, but educating yourself with these common blow-drying mistakes—and how to fix them!—should lead you back in the right direction.

1. You’re holding the brush wrong.
If you hold the hairdryer with your dominant hand and work the brush with the weaker, you’re not alone—but you are wrong. While it feels more natural to hold the larger, heavier item with your stronger hand, you need the better dexterity of your dominant hand to better control the brush and get the job done in less time and with less exertion. Retrain yourself to do it the right way, and you’ll see better, smoother results with less dry time overall.

2. Your hair is too wet to begin with.
Believe it or not, hair should be about 60% dry before you start going in with the blow-dryer. The longer your hair is exposed to the heat, the more damage is likely to occur, and sopping wet hair is more likely to develop frizz as you attempt to dry it. Try to absorb as much moisture as possible with a towel or cloth before you pick up your blow-dryer and wait a good 15-20 minutes post-shower to give hair a chance to dry.

3. The dryer isn’t the right temperature.
A blow-dryer that’s not nearly hot enough has its own set of issues, sure, but we’re especially concerned with a dryer that’s too hot. In an effort to dry your hair faster, you could be totally frying your strands without even knowing it, plus triggering frizz and split ends. You should begin blow-drying your hair on the lowest heat setting possible—nine times out of ten, you won’t end up needing anything hotter than that, so don’t get ahead of yourself by jumping straight to the max.

4. You’re skipping heat protectant.
Even if you don’t consider yourself to have damaged, vulnerable hair in need of protecting, a heat styling product is an absolute must. Not only do they protect the hair from incurring damage as a result of heat exposure, but they also help to optimize the performance of hot tools, which means you get safer, healthier hair and a better style overall. It’s a win-win, so don’t even think about skipping this step.

5. You’re using the wrong brush.
Here’s the thing about using a metal brush when you blow-dry your hair: Metal overheats. This can not only cause worsening damage, but it can actually burn the hair, too. Always opt for a brush that’s made to be used in conjunction with heat tools, like those with boar bristles, which provide great grip without overheating.

6. You didn’t section your hair.
Why properly section your hair when you can just flip your head upside down and blast it all with the blow-dryer? Because unless you dry section by section, you’re going to end up with frizzy, inconsistent texture and a seriously sore neck. Use claw or duckbill clips to secure several medium-sized sections horizontally around the head and dry one at a time before releasing and moving onto the next.

7. You’re pulling your hair downward.
Blowing and brushing hair downward sort of seems like it would enable better smoothing of the hair, but pulling the hair down actually zaps any and all volume for a flat, lackluster results. Instead, extend your arm up and out when you’re drying at the root for body and bounce, then let your arm fall once you’ve reached the ends of the hair with your brush. This technique will give hair both movement and sleekness, no sacrifices necessary.

8. You aren’t allowing each section to set.
If you want lots of body and movement, you have to let your hair cool in formation to retain that shape. When you twirl the hair around your round brush and immediately release it, you’re not giving the hair a chance to set in place to better hold the style. As you finish off a section, let the hair cool into its desired shape, either by letting it sit on the brush or holding it in place with your hand.

9. You aren’t drying your hair completely.
If your hair seems to get frizzy and fall flat just minutes after blow-drying, then it’s very likely that you simply aren’t drying your hair fully. If your hair looks dry, but feels cold to the touch, it’s a dead giveaway that there’s still leftover moisture, so be sure that every section has been dried to room temperature post-blow-dry. It’s the only way to protect yourself from unsightly frizz.

Read more from Daily Makeover: 5 Weird Ways to Protect Your Blowout