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5 Mistakes You're Making When You Air-Dry Your Hair

Yes, you’re air-drying your hair, but that shouldn’t mean you’re not supposed to do anything to it.

For Allure, by Deena Campbell.

There are so many beauty tidbits we’ve heard over the years that we now know are complete missteps — like, lingering in a steaming hot shower in the winter (it can compromise your skin’s lipid layer); applying foundation to dry, flaky skin (it actually highlights trouble areas) and matching your eye shadow with your clothing (this is just wrong on every level). But when it comes to hair care, the no-nos aren’t as clear. In fact, many accept the misconceptions as universal truths.

The air-drying hair trend is one you want to get right. One wrong turn and you could turn into an instant frizz ball. That, coupled with air-drying being a hot trend of the moment, led us to ask Edward Tricomi, master stylist and co-founder of Warren-Tricomi Salons and hairstylist Miko Branch of Miss Jessie’s about the common mistakes we should avoid when we air-dry hair. Take a look.

1. You’re using a towel. Wrapping your hair in a towel the moment you step out of the shower is almost instinctual, but if you’re planning to properly air-dry, you may want to rethink it. “Aggressively drying your hair with a towel results in frizz and tangled hair,” Branch tells Allure. “Rather, dab your hair with an old or unwanted T-shirt for a smooth and absorbent approach, then gently squeeze out the moisture so that your hair is no longer dripping wet.”

2. You’re not using product. Yes, you’re air-drying your hair, but that shouldn’t mean you’re not supposed to do anything to it. “Air-drying does not mean being lazy and not putting products into your hair,” says Branch. Tricomi recommends putting a little gel in your hair as it air-dries while gently crunching the hair in your hands for texture. “This will help set the hair, add volume, and reduce frizz and unruliness,” he says.

“Yes, you’re air-drying your hair, but that shouldn’t mean you’re not supposed to do anything to it.”

3. You’re playing with your hair. “Don’t run your hands through your hair or brush your hair excessively as it dries,” says Tricomi. “This will cause the hair to frizz.” But if you must, just use product before touching your hair. “Use a blow-dry serum on your hair as it dries,” he says. “Add the serum and then comb through your hair — the serum will help cut down frizziness.”

4. You’re not styling your hair. Sure, you could wash your hair, apply a little product, and be OK. But to achieve the best air-drying results you must style your hair. “Twirl your hair into a tight bun when damp,” says Branch. “This will elongate and smooth your natural curl pattern. When your hair is fully dry, release your bun and finger-comb through lightly.” Branch also suggests putting your hair in two loose braids as it dries. “Use a [styling product with a] lotion-like consistency so it doesn’t weigh your hair down; then when your hair dries, or is almost dry, take your hair out of the braids, shake your hair around, and you will see loose waves.” But be careful not to keep your hair in the braids for a long period of time unless you are going for a very crimpy look.

5. You’re showering before bed. To pull off the perfect air-dried look, Branch suggests not showering before bed. “When you sleep, your hair can become tangled and knotty which leads to messy hair,” she says. “If you must shower before bed however, try sleeping in a shower cap with some cream.”

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