Most of us go about blow-drying our hair with the same excitement we reserve for teeth cleanings and filing our taxes. But aching wrists and frizz frustration don’t have to be your drying destiny. Chances are, you’re likely just making one or more of the most common blow-drying mistakes. Our friends at StyleList got the scoop on 10 common blow-drying errors we’re definitely guilty of committing.
In her new book, New York-based beauty expert Eva Scrivo reveals all these secrets in her new book, Eva Scrivo On Beauty. Just as handy with a makeup brush as she is with a pair of stylist shears or a head of highlights, Scrivo has counted famous faces among those who trek to her downtown Bond Street salon.
With all of that A-list appeal, we were surprised to find that Scrivo’s advice is of the chill out variety. The expert says issues typically arise when women try too hard. Are you committing one of these most common mistakes?
1. Not Sectioning Hair First. Flipping your head over and blow-drying until you get dizzy, feel light-headed—or both—isn’t going to help your cause. Keep a claw clip or duckbill clips near your blow dryer, so that you can easily section hair into the bare minimum of three horizontal sections as you dry.
2. Standing Up As You Blow-Dry. “One of the best pieces of blow-drying advice I can give is to have a seat. You will not believe the difference this makes,” says Scrivo. When you’re comfortably seated, you can fully harness that upper-body strength without getting tired. Plus, it always helps to steal those precious rejuvenative moments for yourself, wherever you can during the day.
3. Holding The Brush In The Wrong Hand. Many women lift the hairdryer with their dominant hand, while working the brush with the weaker one. You’ll get better results by instead holding the brush with your stronger hand, as you’ll need the improved dexterity to get the job done in less time. “Even many professional hairdressers learn this incorrectly,” says Scrivo. Well, now you can style with even more finesse than them.
4. Overtwisting The Brush. When you brush that first stroke into a section of hair, you don’t want to go it more than a quarter turn, which is just enough to give it some smoothing tension without risking snarl. After you pull the brush away from the scalp to the midpoint of strand length, then you can safely start twisting the brush to create shape and curl while under the pointed jet stream of your blow dryer. This is where the magic happens!
5. Pulling The Hair Downward At The Crown. The natural inclination is to pull your brush downward, but that will only give you flat results. That just won’t do if you want a roaring mane of silky smoothness. Instead, pull your hair up towards the ceiling, imagining a horseshoe shape coming out of your crown. (Stick with us here.) Hair in the horseshoe should always be blasted in an upwards direction, while hair falling below the horseshoe can be styled downwards for smoothness.
6. Holding The Dryer Too Close. It’s totally counterintuitive; holding the mouth of the blow dryer right on top of hair doesn’t dry it faster, but only leaves tell-tale damage and pouf in its wake. Always dry with a plastic nozzle in place to regulate and direct heat, and keep it at least an inch away from strands. We had to try it to believe it, but it really does speed things along faster by providing a more even dry — kinda of similar to a rotating dish in a microwave.
7. Holding The Dryer In The Wrong Position. Your goal: keep that nozzle parallel to each section of hair you hit. Otherwise, the heat will irritate and rough up the cuticle, leaving you with flyaways, damage and smoking strands. And by that, we don’t mean sexy.
8. Keeping The Dryer Motionless. Some shake, rattle ‘n roll is good for your hips, and apparently, your hair too. Keeping that dryer moving ensures that hair will dry at the same rate all over, and it will actually prevent your shoulder and wrist from hurting from the strain of staying in one spot. “To a stylist, this is second nature, and we do it almost subconsciously,” says Scrivo.
9. Going Too Fast. “Women often blow-dry as if they’re in some kind of panic. This is not a race against time. Slow down the process, be more methodical and careful,” says Scrivo. In fact, if you race through the process, you’ll likely find that you need need to keep going back and re-doing sections anyway, wasting more time in the long run. If your hair dries rapidly (lucky you) before you get a chance to style the section, simply keep a spray bottle of water nearby for a refreshing spritz.
10. Not Drying The Hair Completely. This is for the frizz afflicted out there; if the pouf starts growing almost immediately after you’ve finished blow-drying, it means you didn’t dry it 100 percent. Sometimes hair looks done, but is cold to the touch—which is the dead giveaway that water is still hiding out in there. “Your hair should be room temperature after blow-drying,” advises Scrivo.
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