The 7 Secrets to Air Dry Your Hair to Perfection

by November 27, 2019

Woman in robe with wet hair

Image by Madison Reed

Air drying your hair...seems easy enough, right? Just jump out of the shower and go on with your day. Hold it right there. Most of us think frizzy unstyled mop when we think of letting our hair dry on its own. And while it’s a good idea to give your hair a break from hot tools as much as possible, there’s no sense in having a bad hair day because of it. Is it possible to look as if your hair is intentionally styled when you just let it air dry? It can be. So feel free to hit the snooze button, because we’re giving you the 7 secrets to air dry your hair to perfection.

And now? You wait. Read a book. Make some toast. Call a friend. One of the most important tips for the perfect hair dry is doing close to nothing.

Woman applying conditioner

  • 1. One Word: Moist

    Our apologies for using the word “moist”. We know it’s not a fave, but it is a favorite of your hair. For frizz-free hair—whether you air dry or even use a flatiron—you need to add adequate moisture to seal the cuticle of your hair. Conditioner is a must...better yet, make it a sulfate-free conditioner that is formulated to protect your color. We’re here to tell you: deeply moisturized hair is shiny, happy hair, especially if you let the air do the drying.

  • 2. End on a Cold Note

    Speaking of sealing your hair, another easy peasy tip for the perfect air dry is to give your hair a final rinse in the shower with cold water. Icy cold is best, but if you can’t stand the chill, anything colder than room temperature helps. If you need more reason to get chilly, there is evidence that taking a cold shower or ending with a blast of cold water boasts a bounty of benefits. It has been said to be good for the skin, helping to close pores, as well as a possible mood booster, stimulating the release of endorphins. Cold water also improves blood circulation, reducing blood flow which in turn, reduces aches and pains. What we do know is that cold water reduces the pain of frizzy hair, so end your shower with cold water to add some shine to your hair. 

  • 3. Types of Towels

    Not all towels are created equal, at least when it comes to your hair. That is, don’t use just any towel on your hair. Those cozy loops of cotton that make your bath towel so absorbent are also responsible for damaging your hair. Yes, they do a great job of drying your hair, but they also dry it out. So don’t use your bath towel to dry your tresses. Instead, opt for a microfiber towel made especially for hair. Or, if you’re in a pinch without the right towel, an old tee shirt will dry without too much damage.

  • 4. Pat, Don’t Rub

    Now, no matter what you use to dry your hair, you never ever want to rub your hair dry. Why? Again, it’s all about keeping the cuticles of your hair closed. Rubbing your hair vigorously will certainly dry it faster, but it will dry a frizzy, knotty mess. So when you get out of the shower, gently squeeze the excess water from your hair, then pat your hair dry or wrap it in a hair towel turban. 

  • woman combing hair

  • 5. Comb It, Or Use Your Fingers

    We all know that hair is most fragile when it’s wet, and yet we all instinctively reach for the brush the moment we get out of the shower. Stop right there, because it’s better to comb through wet or even damp hair with a wide tooth comb or a wet brush. This is especially true for those with curly hair. Even better than a comb for curly haired types is to gently rake through wet hair with your fingers. 

  • 6. Stop!

    Here’s where the beauty of air drying comes in...stop what you’re doing. Put down the comb, your hands, everything. Over-brushing wet hair leads to more frizz and possible damage. If you have wavy or curly hair, the more you touch it or brush it, the more you break up the natural curl or wave, causing frizz. So back away from the mirror slowly. 

  • Styling products

  • 7. And Now for Some Product

    Let’s talk product. It’s more than likely that you may want to use a little something on your hair when air drying, a cream or serum to control flyaways, and yes—possible frizz. Luckily, there are more products out there than there are hairs on your head. But how to choose? We suggest using a finishing styling product free of sulfates, and one that protects your color. Of course, we are partial to our own Madison Reed styling line, with a product for every hair type and hair goal in mind.