Does Your Curly Hair Feel Impossible to Dry Properly? Here Are Our Tips From the Pros

Written by Dahvi Shira

If you have naturally curly hair, you know the struggle is real. There never seems to be enough product, time, or high-powered appliances to make the natural curls come out just right. Whether you choose to air-dry or blow-dry, frizzy hair or other unprecedented chaos always ensues. So, if you want to know how to dry curly hair the right way, turn to the experts, of course!

Person with bright pink hair using the Mane by Mane Addicts ionic blow dryer on their curly hair | Mane Addicts

About the Experts:

Cassandra Olivia is a textured hair specialist and Leaf + Flower ambassador.

Traci Barrett is a Los Angeles-based hairstylist.

Things to Know Before Drying Curly Hair

If you struggle with drying your natural curls, there are treatments that can help ease the process and keep them in a more manageable curl pattern once they do dry. The keratin treatment, for example, will help tame frizz, add shine, and help your hair type air dry a little faster. That said, curly girlies need to be careful because the treatment can decrease volume, so if you want to hold on to voluminous, defined curls, you may end up with only waves. But if you feel like your curls are unmanageable or you really want to tame them, we do recommend this treatment. We recently learned you can perform this safely from home if you so choose!

Another option is a curl-defining treatment like Leaf + Flower CBD Pro Curl Defining Treatment’s new product. At the moment, this is available in salons only, by licensed professionals—but it utilizes phytoceramides and vegan collagen to replenish depleted protein content within coiled fibers to restore and refortify curl structure. The service leads to curls that are noticeably plumper, glossier, and more resistant to breakage.

How to Dry Curly Hair

Detangle Curls While Hair Is Most Moisturized

It’s easiest to rake through curls when you can easily slip through them. “Use your hands or a comb in the shower with conditioner in,” says Los Angeles-based hairstylist Traci Barrett. “Then you can rinse.”

Apply Styling Products While Hair Is Drenched

Either while still in the shower or immediately over the sink once you’re out, “apply products while your hair is still soaking wet,” Barrett says. “This will help absorb and trap the highest amount of water, resulting in extra moisture.”

Be Mindful of Product Application Order

Barrett says you must apply leave-in conditioner first. “Apply in layers, from root to ends,” she advises. “Then follow with your products of choice: curl mousse, curl cream, and/or gel.”

When it comes to the curl cream of choice, Delaware-based hairstylist Cassandra Olivia suggests the Leaf + Flower CBD Instant Curl Defining Cream. “It boosts moisture and results in healthier, more predictable hair by evenly distributing moisture from the scalp to the tips of each strand,” she explains. “This halts the progressive degeneration of the hair and restores balance, which is essential for healthy curl formation.”

Plop the Hair

Both Barrett and Olivia suggest the “hair plopping” method once your products are applied. This is the act of plopping the wet hair onto a microfibre towel or old T-shirt and using the piece to squeeze and compress the hair with your hand to form curls while removing excess moisture. Take note: “A terry cloth towel is too irritating for curly hair and can disrupt the curl pattern,” Olivia says, which is why the other two are recommended.

Diffuse the Hair (Optional)

From step No. 4, you can either let your hair air-dry or reach for a diffuser. Mind you, this takes a little more time, so if you’re in a rush, we say skip it. But if you want to know how to blow-dry hair without frizz, diffusing is a great option. Pro tip: Barrett says at this point, leave the rest in the hands of this tool. “The less you touch the hair prior to it being 100% dry, the less frizz you’ll encounter,” she explains.

Want to know exactly how to blow-dry curly hair with a diffuser? First, “blow-dry each section by picking up the section and placing it in your diffuser so the heat is evenly distributed from root to tip,” Olivia advises. “Blow-dry each section until they are about 80% dry, and then move on to the next section. Once you dry each section once, start at the beginning and dry each section until they are 100% dry. Flip your hair over as needed to do this.”

To achieve defined curls that are frizz-free, it is essential that you pick a high-quality and effective hair dryer. Our ionic hair dryer will leave you with dry hair and bouncy curls.

Top Off With Another Round of Product Application

Once the hair is 100% dry, Barrett says, “You can break the cast and work a curl cream, smoothing cream, or oil through the hair.” Pro tip: If you are looking for additional tools to use while drying curly hair, consider learning how to use a round brush for long-lasting styles.

Want to give your curls all the TLC they deserve? THESE are the best ways to take care of curly hair!