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What You Need:
- Wet hair
- Hair dryer
- Hair diffuser attachment
- Wide-tooth comb
- Microfiber towel
- Styling product (optional)
Prep Time Needed:
2 or 3 minutes
Total Time Needed:
Varies depending on hair length, texture and thickness
Most of us have limited appreciation for hair diffusers. These styling tools are an often-overlooked hair dryer accessory that can help upgrade your primping process.
At first glance, this pronged attachment can be intimidating—you may be envisioning a complex process, but once you learn how to use a blow dryer with a diffuser, we promise you’ll be singing its praises.
What is a hair diffuser?
If you’re not sure exactly what a hair dryer diffuser is, don't feel bad. A lot of people don't!
A hair diffuser is a blow dryer attachment that often comes with new hair dryers. The attachment has a bowl-like shape with prongs that are meant to cradle hair while it’s drying.
If your hair dryer didn't come with a diffuser, you may have to buy the attachment separately, but they're typically inexpensive and buying one on its own will allow you to find the perfect diffuser for your hair type and preferred style.
What does a hair diffuser do?
This nifty attachment closely mimics air drying by diffusing warm air around each section of hair. It also stops you from pulling hair straight or making it frizzy as you blow dry it.
Essentially, the diffuser’s bowl gives your hair space to dry while keeping the curls separated by plastic spikes. The air is circulated around the wet hair, which mimics the properties of air drying, results in more clearly defined curls. Hair will generally feel softer, and those with straight hair will often get more volume.
How to use a hair diffuser
Ready to try it out? Follow these steps to use your hair diffuser.
Step 1: Detangle and dry your hair
Before you get out of the shower, use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair. Scrunch your hair with a microfiber towel to remove excess water—don’t use a terry cloth towel, as this can increase frizz. Taking out excess moisture helps the process go faster than it would if you had soaking wet strands.
Step 2: Add product, if desired
Apply your preferred hair product, like a leave-in conditioner or curl cream, through your hair.
Step 4: Diffuse hair in sections
Place a small section of hair into the diffuser bowl, then bring the dryer toward your head, making sure all of the hair is cradled within the bowl.
Step 5: Alternate sections
Hold the diffuser in place for 30 seconds before moving on to the next section. Continue this process until your hair is dry all over. You may need to use hair clips to hold sections out of the way to reach the under layers of your hair.
Make sure you don’t rotate the dryer while your hair is in the bowl, as this will cause major tangles.
Step 6: Final scrunch
Once your hair is dry, add any finishing products to maintain volume or curl, and scrunch your hair one last time.
What is a hair diffuser good for: Tips for all hair types
If you’re using a hair dryer with a diffuser, you’ll see the best results if you have naturally wavy or curly hair. However, it’s still possible to achieve a voluminous, wavy look if you have straight hair.
Here are some tips on using a diffuser on every type of hair.
- You know your hair and its curl pattern best, so stick with your favorite curl cream and other tried-and-true products.
- It can be helpful to set your hair in twists or braids before diffusing.
- Choose a hair product that controls frizz and holds your natural curls.
- You’ll get looser waves or curls if you leave your hair a little damp.
- Use beach or wave spray before you diffuse.
- Avoid moving the diffuser from side to side when you’re drying your hair to prevent frizz.
- Dry your hair completely to make sure the curls don’t immediately go limp.
- Use a styling product that adds volume.
If your hair diffuser has been sitting in the bottom of a drawer since you bought it, now's the time to break it out. It takes a little practice, but you'll quickly get the hang of diffusing, and it can bring new life to your tresses.