A Step-by-Step Guide to Diffusing Curly Hair

Jul. 26
Curly hair is so gorgeous; the way the curls cascade down your shoulders or the beautiful bounce, hair definition and volume atop your head, there are tons of reasons why we want to wear out our curls as often as possible. One of the ways to achieve this is by diffusing.
On wash day, styling of the hair is done with products to create the natural curl pattern and left to air dry or more recently, diffused to create bouncy curls. The diffuser is one of the must-have tools for every woman with a head of curly hair. Like the name implies, a diffuser is a round plastic attachment tool for a blow-dryer designed with holes and prongs to diffuse (distribute) the hot air that comes out of your hairdryer throughout your hair. SO now instead of waiting for hours, in my case up to 7 hours for your hair to dry, you can speed up the process to as little as 15 minutes. Genius right? 
However, diffusing can be tricky.  Have you used a diffuser to style your hair? Did you find a hard time getting your hair to co-operate and produce those beautiful curls? It can be so frustrating when we’re left with wild frizzy hair after styling.
Below is a step-by-step guide to help you master the art of diffusing curly hair
Apply Styling Products On Damp Hair
On wash day, after washing your hair, apply your styling products. Start by applying a leave-in conditioner, to moisturize and soften your curls.  With the leave-in in your hair, detangle with a brush or wide tooth comb. Apply a styling gel all over your hair followed by a curl activator cream. You can either use a Denman brush to separate your curls to ensure that the product is coated on the strands but personally, I like to twirl individual strands of hair around my fingers for maximum definition. 
Air Dry for About 3 minutes
Some people skip this step and go straight to diffusing. I discourage this mostly because some dryers don’t have a cool setting. Applying heat immediately on the moist hair could create frizz. While air drying, shake your hair vigorously in different directions. Air drying leaves just the right amount of moisture in your hair; the ends of your hair are still wet while the roots are just damp. 
Diffuse Hair
Attach the diffuser to the dryer and put the dryer’s speed and heat settings to medium. With your head upside down, face the diffuser at the bottom of your head close to your scalp and leave it at that spot for about 30 seconds before switching to another area of your head. Move the diffuser around the bottom and middle of your head. It’s important that you start diffusing at the roots of your hair so that they dry before the ends. This prevents frizz. 
Lift your head up about 6 minutes into diffusing then repeat the process at the top of your head. 
Scrunch Up Hair
When your hair is about 80% dry, 12 minutes into diffusing, scrunch your hair up with your hands and continue diffusing. By scrunching, you’re wrinkling your hair in your hands so as to create more volume and let the curls pop. Try to rotate your head while diffusing to allow the hot air get to every part of your hair.
Style to Your Desire
When your hair is fully dry, about 15 to 20 minutes into diffusing depending on the brand of diffuser and dryer you used, apply a little oil to your hands and lightly touch your hair with it. This creates a beautiful shine and luster. If you want extra volume, fluff it a bit with your hands or a picking comb; I call it an afro comb. Style as you want with bobby pins or hair bands. 
Extra Tips
  • It is much easier to create a part in the hair to the direction in which you’d want the end of your hairstyle to look before you begin diffusing. For example, if you’d like a center part, it’s better to create the center part on your hair in step 1. This does not mean that the center part is not achievable after diffusing, it’s just better to keep your hands out of your hair after diffusing is done.
  • Keep your hands away from your hair while diffusing except when it’s about 80% dry and you need to scrunch. The products applied on your hair are meant to dry on your hair to create a defined style. Putting your hands on your hair transfers the products from your hands to your hair.
  • Diffuse in sections.
  • Do not put the diffuser directly on your scalp. Try to keep it at least three inches away from your scalp.
  • Do not diffuse the ends of your hair until your roots are completely dry. This is the major reason why your hair should be flipped upside down.
Products Used
Dyson supersonic hair dryer and diffuser attachment: I will admit the Dyson runs a bit on the more expensive end of the spectrum and you could achieve this look with a cheaper brand but I would recommend the Dyson because I feel it’s worth the investment and will pay for itself when it lasts for many years to come.  
In conclusion, if you still want to stick to air drying to create your curls, then by all means go ahead. I will still say this: diffusing is so much better. When I air-dry, I never really know if all the curls will form correctly but diffusing allows me to control the final look. It also saves me so much time. 
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