5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Diffusing Curly Hair

Experts explain how to get beautiful bouncy curls.

Curly hair types, you know the drill. You've endured the constant trial-and-error of testing products and techniques to make your hair look defined and healthy. Not to mention, because your curls or coils tend to be drier than straight hair, frizz is also a challenge. If you're someone who loves to embrace your natural texture, then chances are you've used a diffuser. You might even use one every time you wash your hair.

A diffuser is a plastic attachment for your hair dryer that helps keep the natural curl pattern. It's a game-changer when it comes to heat-styling curly hair. But use it incorrectly, and you can end up with frizzy and undefined hair.

People make several common mistakes when using a diffuser. Here, we spoke with three celebrity hairstylists to help steer us straight away from these five diffuser mishaps.

01 of 05

Your hair isn't wet enough.

You might have heard that you should wait until your hair is 80 percent air-dried before applying heat, but this rule doesn't apply when diffusing curly hair. According to Jonathan Colombini, a celebrity hairstylist for L'Oréal Paris, it's best to keep your hair as wet as possible before diffusing to help eliminate frizz. We're talking dripping-wet hair.

If you need to dry your wet hair just a bit, Michael Dueñas, a celebrity hairstylist and consulting creative director, says you can scrunch it couple of times with a micro-fiber towel to soak up some of the water, but be gentle. "I see some clients roughly drying their hair with a towel and being abrasive with it, which will stretch your curls and create more frizz," he says.

To help enhance your curls, Colombini suggests molding them by wrapping them around your index finger, creating tendrils. "This will later be broken up once completely dry," he says.

02 of 05

You're not applying enough product.

After starting with sopping-wet hair, saturate your curls with the right product to ensure smooth, defined results. Find products that offer moisture and control, says Colombini. He recommends using the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Shampoo ($4, target.com) and Conditioner ($5, target.com) in the shower.

Once you're out of the shower, prep with your favorite styling product and leave-in conditioner. The Ouidad Curl Reboot Nourish and Strength Leave-in Mask is a great leave-in option for curly hair types ($38, nordstrom.com) that will nourish and soften your hair. Apply enough product so that when you scrunch your hair, you can hear a squishy noise. That will indicate your hair is wet and moisturized enough for diffusing.

03 of 05

You aren't using a low enough setting.

One of the biggest causes of frizzy hair post-diffuser is not using the lowest heat and pressure setting on your hair dryer. "Be patient when diffusing your hair," says Colombini. "Low heat and low pressure create a longer styling process, but it's worth it!"

04 of 05

You're moving the diffuser too much.

"Bouncing the diffuser around and constantly moving it creates frizz," says Dueñas. The best way to dry your hair is to keep the diffuser in place and flip your hair to the section you want to dry. "Tilt your head to the side and back, or upside down and hold the diffuser in one spot as close to your scalp as you can without burning yourself," he says. "Leave the diffuser in that one location until the section is completely dry, then move to the next section."

The exception to this rule is for those with tighter curl patterns. "On textured, tight coils, set your hair where you would like it to live and move the diffuser around your head without touching your hair," says Dueñas. Do this until your hair is completely dry.

05 of 05

You're touching your hair.

Finally, and most importantly, touching your hair at any point throughout the diffusing process will make it frizzy. As difficult as it can be to leave your hair alone, it's best to not touch it until it is fully dry. And even then, try not to touch it unless your hair feels crunchy or hard.

"Once your hair is completely dry, scrunch it gently with your hands by gathering the hair from the ends to the root gently in your palm," says Colombini. "Then, softly squeeze and open your hand in a gentle compression. Do not rub your fingers together, as this will break up the cast that any product has left on your hair." Never pull your fingers through your curls because that will break up the curl pattern and create frizz.

These tips are sure to help keep your curls looking fresh, beautiful, and defined next time you diffuse your hair.

Related: 11 Salon-Worthy Hair Dryers That Minimize Heat Damage (and Give Your Hair a Perfect Blowout)

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles