No one has written more eloquently about ditching her blow-dryer than Heather Schwedel at Slate. In her wet-hair manifesto, she expresses surprise (and a little regret) that her “lazy teenage habit” ― leaving the house with wet hair ― has stuck with her into adulthood. But she knows exactly why it has:
“Blow-drying’s the thing that sucks. How is there not a better solution for drying my hair than the torturous ritual of blow-drying? Twenty minutes, minimum, standing there with your head upside down, and you only have to do it every morning from now until the end of time.”
As someone who blow-dries her own hair for 20 minutes, minimum, two to three times a week, I deeply concur with this conclusion. Blow-drying is the pits. As addicted as I am to my at-home blowout, though, I think now is the time to experiment with air-dried locks. Because, like you, I’m now confined to my home for the foreseeable future.
While the reasons for self-mediated isolation are very, very urgent and frightening, they don’t change the essential fact that none of us are going anywhere anytime soon. Which means it’s the perfect time to begin practicing The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Blow-Dry.
To get started, I talked to eight women who rarely, if ever, blow-dry their hair. Some of them fire up the appliance once in a blue moon; others can’t even remember the last time they used one. What they all have in common: confidence, a sense of freedom and naturally dried, damn good hair.
Rachel Horner, social media manager at “Entertainment Tonight”
Last time she blow-dried: Once in the past 14 months
Horner didn’t start wearing her hair curly until 2 1/2 years ago, when her stylist noticed the damage that straightening had done. “I was also afraid of volume growing up,” Horner told HuffPost. “I’m sure it had a lot to do with what was being shown in the media in high school, where everyone had that flat, straight hair like Mischa Barton in ‘The O.C.’ ... But now that I’m older, [I’ve realized] my face doesn’t look good with stick-straight, flat hair. I was born with this hair because it fits with my face.”
Megan Koren, occupational therapist
Last time she blow-dried: She breaks out the dryer once or twice a month. “I pretty much only do it if I have a hot date or the pope is in town or something,” she joked.
Go-to products: She occasionally applies an oil (vitamin E, castor, argan or coconut) but noted, “I don’t think any of these products really make a big difference.”
Even though Koren dyes her hair platinum, her stylist is always impressed with its health. “I think part of it is because I don’t blow-dry it unless I really have to,” she said. “And even in the winter, you can get by without blow-drying it if you’re a night shower-er. That’s why the braid comes in handy ― you can wake up with loose waves. It looks like you put effort in, but you didn’t.”
Ines Bellina, freelance writer
Last time she blow-dried: “I honestly cannot remember.”
Go-to products: None
Bellina spent her childhood and teen years seeing her thick, wavy hair as a problem. “It was so much hair and I couldn’t tame it,” she told HuffPost. “And my mom would always say, ‘No! I wish I had your hair!’”
Even now, she sometimes feels the need to style it with a heat tool ― but eventually, her better judgment prevails. “You know those weeks when you’re like, ‘I’m going to be polished, starting today’?” she said. “After 10 minutes of me just trying to get it to do what I want and realizing that half my hair was still wet and it wasn’t coming out the way that it comes out when you’re in a stylist’s chair ― I just couldn’t do it. I’m very impatient.”
Kelly Giacalone, junior high teacher
Last time she blow-dried: “It’s been years. I just don’t do it.”
Go-to products: None
Giacalone washes her hair every other day, puts it in a Turbie Twist while getting ready, and then finger-combs it. “There are so many other things that are worth more of my time and energy than my hair or my makeup, really,” she told HuffPost. “I don’t want my daughters to ever feel that their looks are what drives them, either, so I’ve always been very careful to lead with making sure that they’re confident knowing they’re so much more than just their beauty. So that has always been a focal point.”
Nisha Mody, health and life sciences librarian
Last time she blow-dried: “This past Friday.”
How often she blow-dries: “Maybe twice a month,” but she does her bangs every day.
Go-to product: OGX Moroccan Curling Perfection Defining Cream
While vacationing in France last summer, Mody stopped blow-drying her hair and has never looked back (well, almost never). She applies OGX’s Curling Perfection Cream in the shower, and afterward, she “plops” her hair, a technique used by curly- and wavy-haired ladies to keep their tresses “scrunched and contained,” as Mody put it.
Like many women who’ve ditched the blow-dryer, Mody used to feel that her natural hair texture wasn’t professional. “There’s whiteness in this idea of being very ‘kept up’ and very proper and prim,” she said. “And so I think there is some of that internalized hate in me that I shouldn’t be air-drying.” When she began wearing her hair to work in its naturally wavy state, her co-workers loved it, which helped shift her perception. “I definitely feel more liberated and more confident just going places and having my hair like that than I used to,” she said.
Sarah Cascone, senior writer at Artnet News
Last time she blow-dried: “I did try to blow-dry it a little bit in LA last month. Before that, I don’t remember at all.”
Go-to products: None
Cascone used to blow-dry her hair regularly, before realizing that the end result wasn’t much different from the way it looked after she air-dried. “If I go out with a wet head, which isn’t super often, it’s not ideal, but I don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed,” she said. “I feel like, ‘OK, I’m a little unfinished, but it’s fine.’ I’m sure that if I did more to it, it could look better. But I’m lucky because my hair is pretty tamed, in general, so I don’t feel the need to take it up to the next level.”
Ashleigh Berge, physician assistant
Last time she blow-dried: “I do not even own a blow-dryer.”
Go-to product: AG Fast Food Leave On Conditioner. “The only time I’ll ever use anything is if it gets super frizzy, which happens when it rains.”
Berge shampoos and conditions her hair during her nightly shower ― and that’s it. “I go to sleep either with it in a bun, or just naturally loose, and when I wake up in the morning, I have these really natural, beautiful curls,” she said. “If I wake up and I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah, on point today!’ I just let it go. I legit walk out the door with my curly bedhead.”
Salomée Levy, high school senior and part-time tutor
Last time she blow-dried: “I’d say about five years.”
- KeraCare CurlEssence Moisturizing Leave-In Conditioner
- Hawaiian Silky, “to make sure the hair grows out healthy”
- Mixed Chicks Coil, Kink & Curl Styling Cream or Cantu Coconut Curling Cream the day after washing
Levy’s hair can take three to four hours to dry, prompting her classmates to sometimes ask, “Did you just get out of the shower?” It’s annoying, she said, but ultimately, she knows it’s the right choice for her. “Overall, it’s empowering,” she told HuffPost. “A lot of people who do have curly hair experience heat damage” from blow-dryers, straighteners and curling irons. “For me, not using heat products really empowers me to just air-dry my hair because I know I’m keeping a very healthy curl shape and just continuing my healthy, curly hair journey.”