Blow-Dry Your Hair Like a Pro
The Goal: Volume and Body Around the Hairline and Smooth, Silky Strands From Roots to Ends
Step 1: To prep your hair for drying, rub a few drops of smoothing serum between your palms, then run your hands down the damp hair, suggests Julien Farel, owner of the Julien Farel Salon, in New York City. Use a comb to distribute the product evenly, and begin predrying hair on a medium-heat and high-speed setting. Massage hair at the roots to give it lift. Part your hair and secure the top layers with clips.
Step 2: Attach the nozzle to your dryer, and turn the heat setting up and the speed of the air down. (Heat allows you to manipulate the shape of your hair, but you don't want the uncontrollable force of a leaf blower.) Starting with the back section, direct small, manageable sections of hair forward with a large round brush as you dry to create a smoother, fuller appearance. Dry from roots to ends, moving the brush and the dryer together down the hair shafts. Always keep the airflow angled down toward the ends, which will make the cuticles lie flat and ultimately make your hair look smoother and shinier. Work your way around your head. Unclip the top layers and repeat.
Step 3: To style the hair around your face, roll the layers forward on the brush as you dry, says Farel. Be sure to keep a comfortable tension between your hair and the brush to achieve a sleek, flat-ironed effect. After your hair is dry to the touch, give it a blast of cool air to set the style in place. Finally, massage a pea-size amount of smoothing serum (or styling cream) into the ends to flatten flyaways, and pat the top of your head with your hands so that any residual serum will level shorter, broken hairs that tend to stand up around the crown.
RS picks: Phytolisse Finishing Serum ($30, sephora.com). A few drops eliminate frizz and add sleekness. Scunci Thick Hair Clips ($3 for two at drugstores). These will hold heavy, damp hair out of the way while you blow-dry.