The "French Blow Dry" Might Actually Be the Secret to Your Best Hair

Blow-dry bars may be the modern version of the salon, but this hair-drying technique has been around for a long time, and it’s still one of the best ways to make your style last longer and look absolutely flawless.

What It Is
Known as the “French Blow-Dry” or as it is expressed in French, "Le Brushing," this method styles hair in a fashion that was brought about by the evolution of the once-popular "roller set.” PHYTO national educator Christyn Nawrot says, “It was developed and perfected in the early 1960's by legendary Parisian hairstylist and creator of the famed PHYTO brand hair care products, Mr. Patrick Ales. He is truly the father of the modern blow-dry—the technique that we know and use today.”

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Image/Phyto

The Benefits Behind It
Rather than using conventional rollers (which was standard at this time), Alès created a tool that would force air out of a round brush-like roller to actually smooth the hair and lift at the root so it would fall in its natural pattern. “Today, this is one of the most sold services in a salon,” Nawrot says. “The benefit of the technique is that it allows the finished style to last much longer than a conventional blow-dry that most people do to their hair on a regular basis and receive when going to a salon.”

How It Works
This blow-dry involves a very different, but systematic way of heating, smoothing and using tension on the hair with a round brush then allowing it to cool naturally so that it holds and retains the shape of the style for days and even weeks when done correctly, according to Nawrot. “It involves completely blow-drying the hair from wet to dry, one section at a time starting at the root, then the moving to the-mid lengths and finally to the ends."

Why It Differs From Other Blowouts
Narwot says most stylists in the U.S. do a bit of "rough drying" to eliminate moisture from the hair first before a hair brush is brought to the hair to begin styling. “This can sometimes cause frizz and eventually collapse the hairstyle soon after it is completed. The choice of hairbrush is important as well in this style; the technique requires the use of a round natural fiber and bristle brush to help smooth and create tension to allow perfect shaping of each section of hair. Whereas most stylists in the U.S. use brushes that have metal or synthetic fibers in order to get the hair blown dry quickly thus allowing for a nice quick style, it doesn't last as long.
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The Cooling Factor
Once each section of hair has been completely smoothed and dried during a French Blow-Dry, the sections are clipped into a neat barrel curl and allowed to completely cool naturally—this helps them to retain the shape of the round brush that was used to blow-dry the hair. So how does this differ from just using a dryer with a cool shot at the end? “Unfortunately, this cool shot can cause limited-lasting power for the style because the hair is not been completely dried, and when the cool shot is used, it can cause humidity and render the style lifeless,” Nawrot says.

Can You Find It in the U.S.?
Absolutely. “There are excellent salons that practice the technique in the U.S. and provide lasting results to their beautifully blown-dry styles,” Nawrot says. “This type of Le Brushing takes practice and it takes longer to complete but the results are amazing and long-lasting."  

How to Create It at Home
Nawrot says it's important to use quality products that will allow you to achieve this goal, especially if you don't have the dexterity that your hairstylist has when it comes to blow-drying your hair. “A well-trained stylist can actually teach you how to do a modified version of this brilliant technique so you can create lasting styles yourself at home,” she says. “Use a lightweight anti-frizz products to help eliminate any static frizz and help to expedite your blow-dry. This will keep you from overblowing and rendering your blow-dry style lifeless.” Her picks: Spray a little PHYTOVOLUME ACTIF at the roots for incredible movement, volume and bounce and finish your look with PHYTOLAQUE SOIE for light hold and incredible shine. 

Vive le brushing.

Image/Phyto

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