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6 Products to Perfect the Air-Dried Hair Method

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6 Products to Perfect the Air-Dried Hair Method featured image
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This article first appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

We all love the results our hot tools give us, from blowdry brushes to curlers and everything in between, but sometimes hair needs a break. When you need a respite from heat damage, or you just want to try a new style, these six air-drying methods can help.

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Pillow Rollers

One to try: Kitsch The Satin Pillow Roller ($14)

What they are: Pillow rollers—they’re soft rather than hard plastic—have become increasingly popular as of late, and celebrity hairstylist Giannandrea Marongiu has some pro tips for how to use them. When hair is about three-quarters dry, divide it into six sections. “When wrapping the hair in the roller, do not wrap it flat, but use your wrist to do a slight twist.” Continue with the rest of your hair, and then sleep on the rollers or let them sit for a few hours. Celebrity hairstylist Kim Kimble says this technique also works on dry hair to help maintain curls

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Air-Dry Cream

One to try: JVN Complete Hydrating Air Dry Hair Cream ($24)

What it is: Marongiu says using air-dry cream is “a fabulous and modern way” to let your hair dry naturally while keeping it in check. Master stylist and colorist Paul Labrecque advises applying the product to the mid-lengths of the hair “out to its ends, and then around your hairline for best results.” Marongiu suggests using a wide comb or Wet Brush to get the hair into the desired shape. “This is perfect for all hair textures, especially on a hot summer day, and will help the hair dry with the right texture and then stay in shape all day,” he adds.

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Hair Plopping

One to try: Aquis Copper Sure Rapid Dry Hair Wrap ($35)

What it is: This technique is best-suited for those with curly hair. First, find something to wrap your hair in, such as a hair wrap or a T-shirt. After washing, apply products and style as you normally would. Then, flip your head over the wrap and gently shake your hair, advises Marongiu. Lower your head onto the wrap so that your curls coil up tight against your head like a slinky. With your head still down, tie the wrap, ensuring your curls are in place at the top of your head. Leave your hair to dry for 30 minutes to a few hours.

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Double Buns

One to try: Hair Prescriptives Daily Nourishing Styling Cream ($35)

What they are: Marongiu has used this technique on many Victoria’s Secret photo shoots, so take notes: Perfect for medium-to-thick textures, the result is “the most natural looking soft beach waves.” After washing and towel-drying hair, squeeze the excess water out and apply a dime-size of styling cream through the mid-lengths. Split hair into two sections and twist it backward from the top behind the ear, but not too tightly, Marongiu advises. “Think ‘Princess Leia buns,’ but leave 2 inches of ends out.” Lock it in place with pins, and once hair is dry, let it loose and use hands to style.

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Texture Spray

One to try: Philip B. Maui Wowie Beach Mist ($30)

What it is: Texturizing spray is an especially great goto for when you need to air-dry hair in a pinch. Labrecque says, “Your style will have more movement to it when it is dry” when you use texturizing spray. Spritz it on the surface and underneath your hair, flipping your head over. Tousle your hair and add texture with your hands until you achieve your desired look.

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Bathrobe Tie

What it is: You’ve probably seen this trend on TikTok: using a bathrobe tie to dry long hair overnight into waves. Labreque says it’s “traditionally called a rag set, and it creates gorgeous, big waves on long, heavy hair.” However, he notes that it’s too tight for fine hair. To nail this trend, separate your hair into two even parts, then lay a bathrobe tie across your head like a headband. Wrap a 2-inch section of hair around the robe tie, and after it makes a full loop, join in another section and continue all the way around—it should almost resemble a French braid. Fasten the bottom with a hair tie, and for convenience, you can cross both sides in the back, bring them to the top of your head and tie them in place. When you wake up, unravel your hair to unleash beautiful, bouncy curls.

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