The Best Way to Air Dry Your Hair at Any Length

Natasha Burton


Let’s be honest, no one wants to blow-dry their hair in the summer. It’s hot outside, for one, and who has time for styling when there are beach parties, BBQs, and bonfires to partake in?!

So you can enjoy your summer soirees sooner, here are some expert tips on how to air dry your locks—and look like you totally styled your hair—no matter what length your mane is.

Before you begin:

Hair pro Jim Markham from ColorProof says it’s key to have the right towel when you’re air drying. “It might seem strange, but the towel you are using to remove excess water can be causing unnecessary frizz,” he explains. “The cotton fibers in most bath towels pull on the hairs’ cuticle causing it to lift, resulting in pesky frizz before air-drying even begins. Opt for a microfiber hair towel or gently blot hair or use paper towels to remove excess moisture, keeping the cuticle in tact and hair frizz free.”

Cutler/Redken stylist Micki Charles also suggests starting with a volumizer (like Cutler Volumizing Spray) at the root. “I love this product for air-drying because it doesn’t get sticky, allowing the hair to have effortless volume,” she says.

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 If you have short hair:

Charles advises applying a pliable texture paste (like Redken Rewind 06) to the ends of the hair, then, twist your hair in sections: Be random and don’t over-think the style. Let it air-dry and once it’s almost completely dry, shake it out and use a shine spray for added depth and texture. 

For those with curly, short hair, Ron Williams from PHYTO Universe says definition is key. “Go for products that offer hold without over-drying like Phyto Specific Moisturizing Styling Cream,” he advises. “Also, beware of over-handling the hair after product application—it promotes frizz.”

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If you have shoulder/medium length hair:

Braid your hair in sections, Charles says, and remember, the more braids you have, the smaller the wave pattern will turn out. “Let hair air-dry overnight, take the braids out in the morning and shake out your hair. For added texture, finish with Redken Wax Blast 10,” she says.

If you have long hair:

“Twist your hair up into a high bun that sits on the crown of your head,” Charles suggests.”Having all your hair air-dry in the opposite direction of its natural growth pattern will help you achieve maximum volume.” Be sure that your hair dries completely before you undo it, otherwise, if your hair is damp when you let it out, it will be too heavy and pull any wave out of your hair.

For hair on the thinner-side (if you need more volume), Markham suggests wrapping hair in two buns, one on top of the other: Create the first bun as if you were doing a half-up style, securing it with an elastic band. Then, pull remaining hair into a bun at the nape of the neck. Once dry, use your fingers to gently comb through for a wavy, tousled style.

If you have long wavy or curly hair, he advises applying a curl defining crème, such as ColorProof Evolved Color Care’s TruCurl Curl Perfecting Crème, throughout. Then, working in one-inch sections, wrap curls around your finger from the bottom up to set the curl pattern and release. “Allow hair to dry completely while refraining from touching it as much as possible to reduce frizz,” he says. “Finish your style with an allover spray to weatherproof your look and lock out humidity while adding a final layer of color protection.”