The trick to an ace blowout is the right blow-dryer, and Allure has expert tips on how to pick your perfect drying mate.
Plenty of people I know like nothing more than a good blowout, but to me there's a lot to dislike about the process: the loud, sustained noise; the occasional hair-caught-in-the-vent fiasco; the added static; and, of course, the ridiculously long time it always seems to take. But there are times when leaving my apartment with damp hair just isn't a viable option. (True story: I once went outside on a Winter day with wet hair and inadvertently re-created Cameron Diaz's infamous There's Something About Mary hairstyle when a breeze froze my bangs straight up in the air.)
So I figured I may as well learn how to blow-dry my hair correctly — and how to get it over with as quickly as possible. For help, I turned to hairstylists Kerrie Urban, an Allure product finder expert who has worked with Lady Gaga and Mariah Carey, and Hansen Liu, a stylist at Sally Hershberger Downtown.
Get Urban's expert tips when you keep reading.
Pay attention to wattage. "The higher the wattage, the hotter and faster the blow-dryer," says Urban. Simple enough. Both stylists recommend using dryers with at least 1800 to 1850 watts for the speediest results.
Ionic is important. When it comes to speed, ionic dryers are the way to go, according to Liu, who says they can help speed the drying process by up to 70 percent. They can also make hair smoother and less fried. "The idea is that negatively charged ions help evaporate the water from the hair as you're drying, so the dryer doesn't need to be scalding hot. By using less heat, you're also preventing damage," explains Urban. (The Bio Ionic PowerLight Pro-Dryer, Sedu Revolution Pro 6000i Dryer ($160), and RUSK Speed Freak Ceramic and Tourmaline 2000 Watt Dryer ($130) are all good options).
Learn from the pros. Liu's favorite fast dryer is the Velecta Paramount XQ Onyx Blow Dryer ($250). "It has 1875 watts, is powerful yet very quiet, and is super lightweight," he says. Urban's go-to is the T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i ($250). "I use it on set, on my clients, and for myself. It's ionic, has plenty of heat, but doesn't fry out the hair, and is fairly quiet compared to most dryers out there," she says. Both recommend using a thermal styling spray, like Sally Hershberger Go With the Blow Thermal Styler ($13) or Nexxus Pro-Mend Heat Protexx Heat Protection Styling Spray ($12) for added protection and smoothness.
Don't start with soaking-wet hair. Before you even start your blowout, let your hair air-dry as much as possible or wrap it in a towel while you're getting ready. "The towel will absorb a good amount of moisture, and once you take it down, you will have less to do," says Urban. (Don't rough up your hair with the towel, though, as that can cause breakage.) When you do start with the blow-dryer, dry your hair as much as possible while combing it through with your fingers — all before you section your hair off and use a round brush. "The brush shouldn't touch your hair until it's 80 to 90 percent dry," she says.
More From Allure: