But before heat styling of any kind, you should always do a little prep work. Prepping your hair with product will protect your hair, shorten your dry time, and extend the life of your blowout. Think of prepping your mane for a blowout like building the foundation of a house. The stronger the foundation, the better the build. Applying the right styling products based on your choice of finish is key. Looking for a voluminous round brush? Reach for a root lifter. A smooth, frizz-free finish? Go for a straightening serum. But always, always, use a heat protectant or hair oil before you start bringing the heat.
The following statement might feel contradictory, but before you start your official blowout, you should rough-dry your mane a bit. When it comes to blow-drying your strands, oftentimes it's best to not start out with completely wet hair. Now, this will depend on your hair type and how prone to frizz you are, but rough-drying your hair about 70% of the way will help speed up the process later. If you are prone to frizz, rough-drying might look more like softly hand-drying the back and underneath of your mane, while those not prone to frizz will finger comb and partially dry their hair all over.
The key here is to not dry your hair upside down. Drying your hair upside down can blast open the cuticle of your hair, causing more frizz and frazzled ends. Always stand upright and blow-dry down towards the ends of your hair when rough drying.
Once you have rough-dried your hair to its desired or needed level, it’s time to start sectioning. Sectioning the hair properly is key to a fully finished blowout. The general method used to section the hair comes in three parts: the nape, the occipital bone and areas above and around the ears, and the top (or everything around the crown).
Start by sectioning off the top of your hair from your temples up. Think of the shape like a horseshoe, from temple to temple curving around the back of your head. Once you have clipped this area up, move down. Depending on the thickness of your hair, you might need two sectioning clips to accomplish this step, but take everything from below your temples, just behind your ears, and around the back of the head (aim for where the back of your head rounds down, also called the occipital bone). Clip this up into another section, or two divided left and right. Your final section, and the first section you will dry, is the nape of the neck. You can leave this area down because this is where you will begin your blowout.
The right brush and direction you blow dry all depend on your desired finish. Are you going for a voluminous blowout or are you trying to achieve smooth and straight hair? Paddle brushes are great for smooth, straight looks and building volume, whereas round brushes are good for bodybuilding and volume. Denman brushes are ideal for straightening tighter curls while vented brushes are good for hair that holds onto moisture.
Once you have chosen the right blow dryer brush for your finish, begin working on the nape of the neck. Drying this area first is usually best as more moisture lives here. Go in with your round brush to curl and smooth, or the flat brush of your choice to smooth and straighten. As you move up the head, consider the angle of your hand and the brush. If building volume is your goal, once you enter the next section start pulling the hair upward as you dry it, ultimately drying your mane straight up and toward the face once you hit the top section. If a smooth, straight finish is your concern, run the brush across each section and pull down as you dry.
Once your hair has hit 100% dryness, you must set it and forget it. Mist it with hairspray or your favorite finishing styling product if you desire, but do not touch your locks until they have fully cooled. We’ve been told that “hot hair is like wet paint” because the moment you touch it, the finish “smears” or becomes altered. Let your mane cool before you do anything else to it.
Once every section has dried and cooled, take a step back and marvel at the bombshell blowout you have created.