How to Blow Dry Your Hair Like a Hair Stylist

On my birthday, I got a blow-out at a salon, and my hair was voluminous and silky and glamorous. I felt so good all day! But when I try it at home, it’s flat and messy. So, I asked my hair-stylist friend Reagan to reveal the secrets to doing a perfect blow out at home…


You’ll need:
* Round brush (I like this one by Ibiza).
* A good hair dryer with a nozzle. A good hair dryer is the best product you can have. If you’re going to invest in any hair tool, I’d invest in a good blow dryer more than anything else.
* 3 products: argan oil, mousse and volumizing spray.
* Rubber bands or clips or whatever else you’d like to hold your hair up.

Reagan’s steps to a perfect blow out:

Photos 1-5: After showering, towel dry your hair to get all the extra water out; then put in your products. For a voluminous blow-dry, put in mousse (I like SachaJuan medium hold mousse) throughout your hair, roots to end. Then apply a volumizing spray (I like Oribe Maximista thickening hair spray) at the roots and a little argan oil at the ends for heat protection. For the argan oil, put it from the chin down.

Photo 6: Once your products are applied, rough dry your hair with a hair dryer. Rough drying means that you use your hands and no brush. (There’s no point in trying to create shape while you’re hair is sopping wet. Hair takes shape from damp to dry, NOT wet to damp—so you don’t want to waste your time and effort at this point, and it can take away a lot of volume if you overwork the hair.) Rough dry it almost entirely, like 80%. Focus on the roots and blow dry upwards, since you want volume and don’t want the hair to be slicked to your head.

Photo 7: Next, divide your hair into clean sections. You don’t want them to be too big or messy; they shouldn’t be wider than the width of the brush or taller than the depth of the brush. Put everything into a high bun, except for the back section.

Photos 8-9: Start with the back section of your head, using a really good hair dryer with a nozzle. TENSION is the most important thing to get a really smooth blow-dry. Starting with the roots, wrap your hair around the brush once entirely. The first time I wrap the hair around the brush, I don’t go all the way to the ends—I start with the roots, then mid shaft, and then the ends. (So, say I have a piece of hair sectioned off and that’s what I’m working on, I make sure that the roots are dried first with the brush, and then I make sure that the mid shaft is dry, and then I make sure the ends are dry.) When pulling the brush through my hair, I’m always doing it in an upwards motion—that way, you get curl and volume. If you’re pulling it straight down, you’re losing volume and curl.

Photo 10: Then I basically work my way all around the head in tiers—the bottom and then the next row and the next row above that.

Photos 11-12: Once I get to the crown, I’m left with the crown area and the front, like U-shape. Now you’re really focusing on volume—you want the top section to have the most volume, so be sure to dry it in an upwards motion.

Photo 13: Once everything is dry, roll each of the top sections back up in the brush and blast with cool air until it’s completely cooled off. Twist your hair in the brush very gently without pulling too much to give it a little curl.

Photo 14. If you don’t have bangs, blow dry everything upwards and back; and then after your hair is completely dry, you can create your part wherever you want. If you part your hair first, when you’re hair is still wet, you’ll lose a lot of volume and be forced to wear it in that part. NOTE: If you do have bangs, you want to section those off before you even rough dry. If you dry those upwards, they’re going to look crazy. Just comb them downward and blow dry those first.

Aren’t the final results beautiful? I’d LOVE to have hair like this every day. Thank you so much, Reagan!

P.S. 15 more hair tutorials, including a mermaid braid and three twisted buns

(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo. Styling and modeling by Reagan Baker of Hairdresser on Fire. She’s wearing Sephora Cream Lip Stain #3 and Essie Hip Anema)

  1. This is really helpful. I was always doing in the wrong way, now I got it :)

  2. This took me 10 years back to first blowout learning class I attended when I was 20 years old. The details, especially step by step images that explains everything.

  3. So many great tips! Wow! Thank you so much for all the info, learned lots! Looking forward to more post soon.

  4. This brush is amazing but it has damaged my hair so badly! tons of breakage right around my face!

    • Ok thank you! After I bought a boar bristle round brush for blow drying I also felt like it was partly responsible for hair breakage, especially around the face. Everyone always recommends boar bristle brushes, and while mine did give crazy volume, it seemed to also be doing damage. Any suggestions, anyone?

  5. I tried this and it gave me the best blowout yet, better than any other, even from a salon. So much volume and just beautiful. Thank you!

  6. Leona says...

    Is there a way to straighten hair without the round brush ?? :/

  7. eileen richards says...

    You do not want to use too much product if you have thin hair as it can add weight,” he told us. Blow-dry your hair upside down until it’s 75% dry to increase lift. A trick I really like is to mist a little hairspray at the root of the crown as I blow it out. Shielo make GREAT products for Volume, and they do not add weight. The hair spray I use is the Shielo Flexible Design Hairspray – which is part of their Volume collection.

  8. mariah says...

    pretty hair

  9. ms amazing says...

    I have naturally wavy hair – not too curly but definitely frizzy. I wear my hair both ways – naturally wavy as well as pin straight (via a flat iron).

    Either way I style my hair, I use the Somaluxe Exotic Oil Conditioner – It eliminates/makes the frizz go away and gives you a smooth and sleek look. This product does as good a job and smells great. I have been using the same bottle now for 2 months – it lasts a long time. . .

  10. Trena Savoie says...

    Fantastic step by step!! THANK YOU! I tried to email her about her hair color, however it got kicked back. Would you mind passing it on?

    I loved your hair color and cut on Joanna Goddard’s feed. Would you be willing to give me the details? I live in Idaho, hick town USA, so you have to be pretty specific.
    I would love any info your willing to share!!

  11. Great tips; I generally find it hard to reach all the back sections in order to blow them out properly. Not to mention how sore my arm gets from holding the dryer since I have a lot of hair and drying takes ages

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  13. Hey Jo!The step by step tutorial with pictures is fab! I will definitely try to blow dry my hair this way the next time but my problem is that I have curly hair and they take a lot of time to get straight through blow drying. And Bangs!! They really look crazy as if I had a fight with my hair

  14. Thank you so much for this step-by-step, with pictures, tutorial!!! I tried it today, and was pleasantly surprised that my hair came out almost as good as when I go to the salon!!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  15. My hair is wavy, coarse, long, thick, and super frizzy. When I let my hair air dry, it turns into this awkward frizzy straight hair with wavy pieces but when it’s wet, it’s so wavy it’s almost curly. I hate blow drying my hair (because it takes an our and a half), so I usually just let it air dry overnight and straighten it in the morning. (let me note that my hair is so unruly that I also have to straighten my hair in order to curl it.)

    So last night, I decided to use for the first time the Shielo Leave In Protector – and I didn’t blow dry it. I let it air dry throughout the night. It’s 6 am now, and though parts of my hair are still wet as usual, the parts of my hair that are dry look AMAZING. It looks like my wet hair, but dry. I’m usuing Shielo more for frizz control and the straightening benefit.

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  18. I tried this & it made such a big difference! My hair is baby fine & I have never been able to get this much volume without teasing my hair. I was afraid that following this tutorial would make my hair frizzier, but it’s actually smoother!

  19. Thnx for this post! I just tried it and my hair looks fantastic!!!!It was a little time consuming, but I’m glad I have this up my sleeve for date nights, etc. This is your best post yet!

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  21. You MUST post her hair color, if she colors. It’s the exact strawberry blonde I had as a child but cannot seem to replicate in my, ahem, mature years. LOVE!

  22. With these crazy cold winter months, you should do a feature on how to get smooth hair instead of the crazy static conductor that my hair is right now!

  23. Joanna, can I just say a huge THANK YOU!!! I have been blow drying my hair like this since you posted this, and it totally works! I’ve tried in the past to copy the way my stylist blow dries my hair so I don’t have to use my straightener, but it never worked. I’m somewhat hair illiterate. Your instructions were so easy to follow, and my hair has been smooth, and beautiful, and bouncy ever since! People comment on it all the time, and I have since sent your post out to almost every gal I know. THANK YOU!!!

  24. I tried this weekend before a fancy bridal shower I went to and I must say, it worked great. I was very proud of myself ;-) Thanks!

  25. I love this!

    I’ve been doing it all wrong!

  26. These are great tips, and dummy proof photos.
    Thank you both!

  27. Lately, I’ve been trying to kick it up a notch. I’m 38 and I look pretty good, but I think a little additional effort actually keeps me in a better frame of mind through the day… I am totally going to try this! I think it also might tone my arme. ; )

  28. Yay! I tried this and it actually worked! I have naturally thick curly hair, so it took a while, so I probably won’t do it very often. But I’ve always been frustrated because I get this look at the salon and can never replicate it at home. This worked perfectly! Thank you, Reagan!

  29. Love this! I am sharing this with my Clients so they can use it at a reference when they get home!

  30. Hi Reagan, I too miss your blog, I hope Piper Jane and you are doing fine. Thanks for the advice!

  31. I’ve been doing it all wrong. Thank you! This is a great post.

  32. I get so excited when I see your hair tutorials, but then, as a naturally curly girl, I’m always a little disappointed. Curly hair gets so little attention in magazines and blogs and I’d love to have a few new ideas on how to style my hair. I never blow dry my hair because it makes it frizzy and damaged. But I would love to know how to protect curly hair when blow drying or how to keep it manageable when wearing it down. Thanks!

  33. Love this guide! I used these tips this morning and it made a world of a difference. Perfect timing too! I’ve been looking for a great guide for a perfect blow out for a while.

  34. KT says...

    I freaking love Reagan! Thanks for collaborating with her, Jo!

  35. I have been growing out a near-pixie cut since July and haven’t had time to get it cut since then (baby!). It looks terrible. This morning I tried the 80% dry, blowing “up”, and not making your part until the end tips (I already use a round brush and have a great dryer), and my hair looks 200% better! Plus it took no longer than usual. I feel so pretty today! It is such a treat after a weekend of stomach flu for the whole family and months of sleepless nights. Thanks, Jo :)

  36. Hallelujah.

    I have hair down to my waist, a 15-year-old hair dryer, and twin preschoolers, which is a combination that is not sustainable! I spend an absurd amount of time blowing out my hair (when I’m not wearing it in two long braids), but I’ve been paralyzed with indecision in choosing a new hair dryer.

    Problem solved: I just clicked through the Amazon link and bought the dryer Reagan recommended. Thanks for the suggestion!

  37. Great tutorial! She has absolutely gorgeous hair!

  38. I would kill to have my hair look like that. My hair is naturally wavy and just seems to have an “awkward teenager” look to it at all times. I don’t even own a hairdryer any more, I found it just made my hair even more frizzy, I’m clueless!

  39. What’s her tattoo of on her wrist?

  40. so great! I need this tutorial bad.

  41. i wish this would work on my hair i just went to the Dominican shop and let them do it like i did yesterday, i need a lot of heat for my hair so ill let them do it lol i will kill my hair. but I can do my friends hair when she comes to visit like this she will love this!!!!!

  42. So, yeah, I’m a complete klutz. Am I the only one who finds it really tricky to handle a round brush and dryer at the same time. Lol. It’s like trying to pat my head and rub my belly simultaneously! Anyway, I burnt my scalp, but had great volume! Practice makes perfect I guess. :o)

    New Post: Top 5 Capetown

  43. I actually blow my hair out with a flat brush first and then go through and use the round brush the get more of the volume and soft ends. I might try this version, though it seems like it’d be hard using the round brush on wet hair…?

  44. Thanks for posting! I love her haircut! What can I tell my stylist to get the same haircut. I tried to explain and ended up getting something similar to a mullet and went somewhere else and chopped off another 5 inches to fix it!

  45. I love how it looks, but it’s way too much work. Not doing it. I’ll keep my “au naturale” look.

  46. This is fantastic! Can you do one for shoulder length hair?

  47. This is amazing! I’ve always wanted fabulous model hair, but I never knew what the heck they did. Thanks to Reagan for sharing her wisdom!

  48. I’d love a future tutorial post on how to style/blow dry pixie cuts! Mine can look so boring when I do it on my own, but when a stylist blow dries it, I get perfect texture and a great ‘messy’ look. Love these posts!!

  49. Go Reagan!!

  50. Best hair drying tutorial I have ever seen. Time to invest in a worthy hair dryer! Thank you for the tutoriallll :)

  51. Awesome tutorial! I was trying this early this morning before school, and failed hopelessly, but mostly because I have long, curly hair and didn’t give it enough time. Also, my arms always get so tired! but the results of a good blow-out are so worth it, especially if you can make it last for a couple days. Reagan gave so many helpful little details– those are the things that make a truly helpful tutorial. Plus, she has amazing, golden hair!

  52. This was the best hair tutorial ever! Thank you SO much for posting it!!!

  53. My hairdresser gave me a great tip a long time ago about Avoiding Tired Arms when blowing out long hair … blow it dry then using the big round brush, “set it” with the brushes.. give each one a blast of heat from the dryer then take out the brushes, voila ! smooth full long hair.

  54. She’s so gorgeous! Sadly, this tutorial is useless to me because I sport a pixie cut :)

  55. Loved the tutorial and I’m definitely trying the mousse (I already use argan oil when blow drying); but I usually just turn my head down and dry it like that! It gets lots of volume and looks great in the end.
    But I still believe that, in case of a quick pick-me-up, there is nothing better than going to the nearest hair salon and asking for a wash and blow-dry (and a mani, of course!!). It always helps me feel special without spending much.

  56. I love this, and I love Reagan’s shirt. Any idea where she got it?

  57. I love this, and I love Reagan’s shirt. Any idea where she got it?

  58. Love this! Any tips or tricks for using a roundbrush? I can’t seem to use one without getting it hopelessly tangled in my long hair :/

  59. I love this!! I can’t wait to try it!!

  60. I’m gonna buy me lottery tickets so that I can afford to have a hair stylist on-demand, ha!

    My hair is some sort of DNA mix-up; it is beautifully curly and smooth on the botton third of my head – and then the middle is just wavy, but a bit thicker- and then…then the top, which is of course what one shows to the world, is just very curly and FRIZZY. If I want to wear my hair curly, I’ve to use plenty of mousse, a bit of serum, and wait for it to dry almost completely before leaving the house. It’ll stay beautifully wavy/curly, until I step out; I live in the Seattle area, so as soon as humidity hits it, there goes my effort. Reagan has great hair, as do you Joanna :)

  61. Love this. I am the same way except I feel like my hair WON’T stay in one place. And this Houston humidity is creeping up on us already! I’ve got to get my manes tamed. I think the most helpful part for me is the top section right on top of my head. I need to start brushing it out like her.

  62. Heyyy… She’s reading one of my favorite booksin those pictures! :)

  63. This is great to know. I’m terrible at blow drying my hair – especially since my hair is wavy, it tends to look like a fuzzball when I’m done. But this looks totally do-able!

  64. I’m pretty sure Raegan has the best hair ever. It ALWAYS looks good #haircrush

  65. I already knew all of these things… the problem is, it takes FOREVER to do this. I just don’t have the time! I only blow dry my hair a few times a year for that reason. However, it’s straight on its own so wearing it naturally works fine :)

  66. The neverending battle with the hair! This is a great tutorial and I will try her tips. I tried something close the other day and it came out ok but took FOREVER! Starting at 80% dry would have helped. I have heard that it’s pretty cheap to get a blow out in NYC, is that true? If it were, I might splurge at least once a week! :)

  67. ^ Agree on the layers! So timely, I just went to the stylist last week to ask for layers so that I could get to practicing my blowouts! It really is easy, and even during the “learning” stages, it turns out pretty nice. (Note: I have fine hair; probably would be much more time consuming if i didn’t.)

    Also, I miss Reagan’s blogs. :( Hope she’s doing well!

  68. Layers make the difference also. My hair is very long but mostly one length so while it is not flat to my head, it doesn’t have the same look as the model. I also hate using products in my hair, it is long and straight, so I go with that.
    Just drying your hair / head upside down, will give you volume too.
    This is good when you have time and strong arms lol

  69. I am definitely asking my hairdresser to give me Reagan’s haircut as well, it’s long with the nicest layers!
    This tutorial is amazing, I am excited to try it!

  70. She has such gorgeous hair!

  71. Do the products you used here have heat protection? I recently started blowing out my hair and then curling it and my hairdresser totally lectured me after my haircut last week because she could tell i wasn’t using any heat protection! That was from just about a month and a half of my new routine! Anyway, just started using a heat and shine spray and my hair looks and feels so much better!

  72. reagan, nailing it per usual!

    i agree with her — when i bit the bullet and spent over $100 for a blowdryer, it was the best idea ever. at least five years later, i still use the same one.

    oribe! i keep hearing about them. might need to make that purchase.

  73. jm says...

    I have never sectioned my hair off. I can’t wait to try this.

  74. k. says...

    My Twin Turbo changed my life. I still do the lazy, quick blow-out (head flipped over, paddle brush), but my hair comes out frizz-free and smooth. Just because of a dryer upgrade!

  75. Also, does Reagan recommend another blow dryer that isn’t so expensive? Maybe a 2nd best? ;)

  76. This looks so easy! Thank you for the step by step guide! My husband and I are going on a day date today so I may surprise him by doing this! My hair is red and about the same length and style! Thanks again, great post!

  77. I’m so glad you added the lipstick on the bottom; as soon as I saw it I was planning on asking what it is! It looks amazing with her hair color…

  78. Fab piece, i always struggle with blow drying my hair. Now at least i have a few steps to work with :) Thanks Joanna!

  79. Beautiful! And my goodness, her hair color is gorgeous!!!!!

    I must say-as a girl with naturally curly blonde hair, blow drying my hair straight takes a good solid hour. VERY time consuming. Especially with a 2 1/2 yo. But I can definitly justify having a profesh blow out done. Great tutorial Jo!

  80. Yaay welcome back, Reagan!

  81. carrie, your hair is so gorgeous and thick!

  82. oh how I wish I could do that!!! Sadly the straight hair in my picture is only after several hours of work. Most hairdressers can’t even do my hair (sadly they still take my money – another bad experience this weekend).

    Anyway great post.

  83. I am looking forward to trying this. Thanks for the details!

  84. when reagan was at our house for the photo shoot, i was drying my hair that morning and she said, “i see like 8 things you’re doing wrong!” just little tweaks like getting a round brush and drying upwards would help so, so much.

  85. Great step-by-step photos! I am not sure I have really blow-dried my hair in the past 14 months, which is, coincidentally, how old my baby is…perhaps it is time to get a little more ambitious than the ponytail!