Style

A Trick for Air Drying Your Hair

How to Air Dry Your Hair

Reagan Baker is a hair genius. Today, she’s sharing her proven method for air drying your hair, with lots of volume and zero frizz. The best part? It all boils down to one easy trick…

First, shampoo and condition your hair as you normally would, then brush through the conditioner in the shower. Next, rinse your hair to get all the conditioner out, and gently squeeze out the water.

When you’re out of the shower, gently blot with a towel to remove any excess water. “The best way to do this is by cupping your hair with the towel,” Reagan explains. “Make sure not to shake it back and forth.” Then, add product based on your type of hair (see below) and scrunch up your hair with the towel.

Finally — and this next part is very important — never touch it again, until it’s completely dry. According to Reagan, not touching it AT ALL is the big secret to getting hair to air dry nicely. “Once it’s completely dry, then you can tousle it,” she says. “You can also put in some product to touch it up, if you’d like — at that point, you’re just spot treating.”

Here are Reagan’s tips for each hair type:

How to Air Dry Your Hair

Shoko
Hair type: fine, silky, straight
“For fine, silky hair, you want to add texture,” Reagan explains. To do this, she loves Grandiose mousse by Oribe. For Shoko, she applied just a gumball size amount in the roots, for volume. Next, she sprayed Ocean Mist by Sachajuan at the ends, for texture. Finally, she scrunched her hair, using her hands instead of a towel, and let it dry — without touching it, of course. What a difference that makes! “For people who have super straight hair, try tucking it behind your ears while it’s drying, and it will give you a little kick there.”

How to Air Dry Your Hair

Reagan
Hair type: fine, dry, wavy/curly
“My hair is fine and curls naturally, so I need to encourage some curl in the roots so it doesn’t fall flat,” Reagan says. To do this, she sprayed some Ocean Mist by Sachajuan directly in the roots, to add volume. Because her ends are dry, she sprayed some leave-in conditioner at the ends, for added moisture.

How to Air Dry Your Hair

Claire
Hair type: coarse, thick, curly
First, Reagan sprayed in Curl Revive by Iles, which is good for wavy and curly hair. “It’s a cream-based product, but there’s a little hold in it, so it will prevent frizz without being too heavy or crunchy,” she says. Next, she scrunched her hair using the towel and left it to dry.

One final note: “There’s a period while it’s drying where it looks like it’s really frizzy,” Reagan says. “But it’s still wet! If you wait until it’s fully dry to touch, all that frizz should go away.” If you avoid aggravating your hair in any way and are gentle with it throughout, she promises it will work. “It’s going to bring out so much more texture than you thought you had. Just try it!”

What do you think? Do you let your hair air dry? Do you have any other tricks for air drying you’ve discovered over the years?

P.S. More hair tutorials, including a fishtail pony and how to blow dry your hair like a hairstylist.

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo. Makeup by Ashlee Glazer.)

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  1. A Microfiber Hair Towel makes a huge difference! It literally cuts your drying time in half, perfect for air-drying. You’ll also benefit from less frizz, damage and split ends, because regular cotton towels are way too rough on your hair. Check out EMIKO Beauty’s hair towel on Amazon.com – such an easy and affordable ($9.99) way to care for you hair. :)

  2. Robyn says...

    I’m pretty late to this, but I’d appreciate any advice!

    Using this method my fine hair dries into ringlet-y curls. Following the natural way of things that everyone wants what they don’t have, I dislike these tight curls! Does anyone know of a product or trick to soften my tight curls into waves?

    • anne says...

      I don’t know if this will work for you, but my hair dries into ringlets as well. When I want it to be wavier, I just run a wide tooth comb through once it is all the way dry, and that helps break up the curls and make it a bit more of an old-hollywood wave situation. Again, depends a lot on your hair, but that’s what works for me! Good luck!

    • M says...

      after you’ve scrunched out most of the liquid but your hair is still wet, when you’re applying product, twist larger sections of it into curled locks. leave these twists intact until fully dry – this is basically a variant on what they call “curl training.” it’s what i do to get beachy waves, although sounds like your hair may be finer than mine. hope this helps anyway!

  3. I find absorbing the excess water with a soft cotton t-shirt instead of a towel also helps with the frizz.

  4. I love air drying my hair, I recently cut it into a short bob and been loving OUAI’s Airdrying Foam, no frizz and smells amazng!

  5. Kim says...

    Does anyone else have a really inconsistent wave to their hair? Underneath my hair is VERY wavy but the hair on top…not so much. It looks weird if air dried because of this. Has anyone figured out what to do with this problem? My hair is very thick and long and before kids was much less wavy and easier to manage. But now after having my third kid 8 mos ago I just cant seem to figure out how to make it look decent (without using a curling iron or straightener – which I never have time for) maybe the haircut is the key?

    • Megan says...

      I would look up if your area has hairstylists that do the Deva Cut (after lockdown lifts of course). A cut from someone who knows wavy/curly hair is key and they will have the right products to try. I use Deva curl wavy products and so much better !

    • Silvia says...

      I have very similar hair and have been recently doing one small thing that makes it look so much better. I let my natural waves air dry all the way, usually overnight and in the morning take a flat iron to just the ends. I iron the tips (1 – 2 inches) throughout my hair and then finish with a little bit of hairspray over the top to smooth out the flyaways. I know you mentioned not using a straightener, but it’s very quick, maybe 2 minutes, and it makes big difference with my hair.

  6. Lainey says...

    Wow! My hair is super straight and quite fine. This technique actually gave me subtle waves and body – something only usually achieved with a curling iron and a ton of product. Color me impressed!

  7. Cassandra McGrath says...

    What about someone with bangs? If I let them air dry it is very bad times indeed. The rest of my hair, whatever. Thoughts?

  8. Laura says...

    I use Bumble and Bumble Defining Curl Creme, using the method Reagan describes. It’s $30+, but I only use a pea sized amount on the top and another pea sized amount for the rest of my hair, so it lasts a long time. After washing, I lean over, blot my hair with the towel, then rub a pea sized amount of the cream between my hands and scrunch it through the top of my head, and them another pea sized amount scrunched through the rest. After it dries, I just tousle it with my hands and it looks exactly like Reagan’s hair. I wash it every three days – on in between days, I lean over, spray with water and scrunch – no additional product applied, as that just tends to weigh my hair down. Beautiful soft waves/curls!

  9. Jessa says...

    Claire looks like the gorgeous protagonist of a classic 90s rom com.

  10. Cynthia Miller says...

    My curly hair curls best when I go to sleep with it wet. Somehow not having gravity pull it down as it dries means it is full of springy curls in the morning.
    I almost always air dry my hair- about once a year or less I have it blown out.

  11. I have crazy curly hair and if I did anything to it while it dries (or while it *is* dry, for that matter), I could star as the Lion King right off the bat. I haven’t used a hair dryer in over 15 years and only brush my hair through right before a wash and immediately after. After that, no touching until the next wash. Very carefree, yes, but also a bit difficult to do any kind of hairstyle. Also: I haven’t found a hairdresser yet who understood my hair so I cut it myself. Once dried, you won’t see the wonky cuts anyway :D

    • Margie says...

      Hi Simone – My name is Margie. I too have the Lion King hair but found a really great hairstylist in Toronto. His wife has very similar hair so I trust him. If you live in Toronto, the salon is called Qi. It is Jeremy who I see.

  12. Jo says...

    I air dry most of the time (Wavy girl here, texture very similar to Shoko’s in the images here) but my hair holds moisture so it will be wet ALL DAY. So I recently bought a diffuser attachment for my hair dryer and it is life changing. I can diffuse in the morning on low speed, cool temp for about 15 minutes and it takes my hair to the 2PM point when air drying – think, mostly dry but still partially wet. Then it usually only takes about an hour to dry the rest of the way! Highly recommend if you’re antsy about having wet hair for most of the day.

  13. JP says...

    My hair is so thick that if I did this, I would have to wait 6+ hours and even then it would be a damp in the back under the layers and itchy.

    • AS says...

      Yeah I second this. I don’t have super thick hair but mine is porus and it takes hours and hours for it to dry. Sleeping with it wet is not an option (will look shitty in the AM) and I dont’ want to be seen when it’s in the in-between wet-to-dry stage. Basically, great in the summer when the air is warm and hair dries quicker but not a winter option for me. (Pro Tip: Keratin Treatments – the toxic kind, sorry – work amazing for my hair type. I keep a wave and my hair dries like 10x faster)

  14. Jeanny says...

    So happy to see Reagan again!

  15. Rue says...

    While air drying thin/fine/flat hair, consider parting it to the opposite side of how you normally part it. Then as it is almost completely dry, flip it back to it your normal part. I find this method helps add volume and the part looks more natural than forced!

    • Jess says...

      Love this! I have fine, usually pin straight hair and just tried this without products and I have plenty of curls (although some bits still straight?!) Remarkable!

      One question I have, that maybe Reagan or someone else in this lovely community could answer – I have such fine, feeble hair that if I use sea salt spray my hair it is irreparably damaged (I used Not Your Mother’s sea salt spray for about two weeks and my hair was so dry and damaged my hairdresser had to cut it all off). Could anyone recommend a product that will encourage and define curls and waves, but won’t dry out my hair?

    • Sarah says...

      Jess – I find Aveda’s “light elements texturizing creme” gives some life to my fine, otherwise pin straight hair, without drying it out. And I look forward to trying out this tip, Rue!

  16. Hannah says...

    I grew up in Alaska (only blow drying my hair because it was too cold to air dry) and I always thought I had straight hair. Cue a move to Hawaii, where humidity + air drying = crazy wavy hair! I rarely use a brush anymore and my hair looks almost identical to Reagan’s.

  17. Maureen says...

    Claire! Love your sweater!!! Where is it from?

  18. Cynthia says...

    I air dry my hair when it is warm; otherwise, I feel cold if I don’t blow dry it. My hair is short, and it’s easy for me to care for it.

  19. Colleen S says...

    I have somewhat thick wavy hair. I say somewhat thick because my hair is thinning quickly at the top. Air-drying my hair when I can’t be bothered to blow-dry it somewhat straight is hideous. I know people say it isn’t possible, but my hair in its naturally wavy state does not work with my face shape. Add my thinning scalp, and I look like a drowned rat with a round face.

    • Alison says...

      LOL these are my thoughts exactly. Drowned rat…perfect analogy!

  20. RO says...

    Hi there!

    Where is Shoko’s jumpsuit from? It’s so cute!

    Thanks :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’ll ask!

  21. Kellianne Ritter says...

    Adding to this, esp. for you gals with weird cowlicks at your hairline: (after your hair is parted, you’re out of the shower, all that business) take the front section–about where your bangs would be if you had them–and flip it over, so that it’s now parted on the opposite side of your head. Finger comb at the roots so you don’t get weird kinks in your hair. The front third of your hair is now parted (messily) on one side; the back two thirds are parted on the other side. You’ll look insane for the next two hours or so while your hair dries but when it’s fully dry, flip it on over. This gives me a pretty and predictable volume boost around my face, with no heat.

    (I have fine, very “impressionable” hair, so if I do this with my whole part, it never figures itself out post-flip. When I figured the above out, it was a game changer for air drying!)

    • Ange says...

      My cow lick drives me bonkers, thanks for the tip!

  22. Christina says...

    One more tip: dress warmly! On days I let my hair air-dry, I am absolutely freezing from my 6 am shower until it finally dries around 2-3 pm. :-(

    • Sharon says...

      so true! That’s my biggest issue. It’s not low maintenance if I have to walk around with wet hair all day. I have a ton of hair and it does look best air dried. But it will take a solid 12 hours to dry completely without heat.

  23. Yes! I have wavy hair and I’ve been air drying for YEARS. I follow all of these steps except I don’t comb conditioner through. I brush my hair before getting in the shower, but that’s it. I do the whole thing, blot and then put up in a hair towel, then work a dollop of Bumble and Bumble curl through it, and then, just like Regan said, I don’t touch it AT ALL until it’s dry. Does this mean it looks flat and not cute for a couple hours? YES. But once it’s dry, I put spread my fingers under my hair and tousle it to loosen up the waves and it’s perfect. But here’s the other big secret: a good hair cut. Tell your stylist you want a cut that can air dry. My stylist gives me a ton of layers, and a certain type of layer, in order to make my hair it’s waviest.

    Air drying is the way to go!

  24. Rusty says...

    Maybe this virus-induced season is the time for people who haven’t embraced their natural hair colour and/or grays, to let them come. See them. Accept them…and just be who you really are, since….we’re all just the same underneath the masks society expects. ?

    • Katie Lee says...

      I told myself for years that if I stopped dying my hair to cover the greys (which I started getting at 25) would make me look old. One day I realised that I had no idea if this was true or not, and wouldn’t know unless I tried it. Turns out, I love the way the greys look, it doesn’t change how old I look at all (that I can tell, anyway) and people compliment my ‘highlights’ all the time!

  25. Tammy Madsen says...

    I have curly hair and always air dry. I think I’ve used a blow dryer maybe five times in the last two decades.

    Oribe products aren’t cheap, but my hair loves the brand’s styling products. The Curl Gloss, in particular, is really good. Their Surfcomber Mousse is also great. Reminds me of the VO5 mousse that I coveted in the late 1980s.

    Less is more is the best philosophy to keep in mind when using styling products with curly hair. So if you spend more on styling products, stretch them out.

    • Megan says...

      Oribe is great and smells so good! I have loved using their Gelee. My husband is a hair stylist and it’s been a favorite since his salon started carrying the line. Both my husband and I have curly hair, so we switch between Oribe and Davines. Davines seems to be more moisturizing in their conditioner and lighter in their curl-building serum, which has been great in the late winter and early spring months when my hair doesn’t curl as much and the heavier Oribe gelee can weigh it down.

  26. Rini Kouzoukas says...

    Where is Claire’s cardigan from?? So cute!

  27. Fernanda says...

    Loved this post and the pictures. But I always miss tips to thick straight hair to air-dry.

    My asian straight hair has no volume at the roots when I let it air-dry. I’d love some tips ;)

    • Danna says...

      Second this. My hair is curly and thick but fine and i only need a small amount. Very thick and/or coarse hair will probably need more.

      I’ve also found that any kind of protein on my hair just makes a big fuzzy mess. Naturallycurly.com explains how to tell if your hair is porous or non-porous and that determines whether your hair can tolerate proteins. I forget which mine is but I know I can’t use proteins.

  28. Deb says...

    On a separate hair note, I’m using this confinement time to try out the “no poo” movement. My hair is super fine, and currently super gross! Fingers crossed I can train it into some better habits… does this count as making lemonade when life gives you lemons? :-D

    • China says...

      So I tried this a few years ago when I was housebound with a premature baby born in January. I stuck with it, washing much less than normal and waiting for my hair oil to “rebalance.” Fast forward a year and I was at the dermatologist freaking out because my postpartum hair loss was way worse than my first kid and not bouncing back. She gave me some scalp treatments and gently explained that lots of people (Not everyone, but definitely some people) actually need to wash there hair frequently or they will develop scalp inflammation that can seriously impact hair growth. Just a heads up that if it doesn’t seem like it’s working after 4-6 weeks, it might mean it’s not for you!

    • sari says...

      The key is daily brushing with natural bristles to distribute the oils, I’ve heard…

  29. Sabrina says...

    Where is Reagan’s outfit from?? Love the zipper detail on her pants…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’ll ask!

  30. Elle says...

    I haven’t blown dry my thin, fine, straight, shoulder-length hair in decades. Who has time? The last time I tried it, for a wedding, all the little flyaway hairs dried standing straight up and I looked ridiculous.

    I let it air-dry; sometimes I scrunch or put it in a top-knot for volume. When I travel, my hair behaves differently, maybe because of the water. At home, it’s thin and straight. In Italy, it was thicker, with surprising waves. In other parts of Europe and the US, it is somewhere between the two. I should move; I’d have nicer hair.

    Several years ago, I stopped needing to wash it every day, which I’d done religiously since middle school. Now my hair has more volume and body each day until it’s time to wash it, about twice a week most of the year. But I still can’t be bothered to blow-dry it — who does that?? Everyone but me, apparently!

  31. J Ray says...

    I air-dry exclusively–I have coarse and wiry hair, with a bit of wave. I basically do the “touch it not” approach unless I have to go to work or something before it will dry. Then, I’ll use a super wide dollar-store comb to get rid of the tangles. It looks totally awful while it’s drying, but then once it’s dry, it looks great. But if I’m at home, I won’t comb it until it’s dry.

  32. Molly says...

    Best air drying product I’ve ever used is called “moisture defining Whipp” by virtue labs. Encourages waves without any crunchiness or pieced hair. Looks like you curled it with an iron! So good. I have the frizziest hair and this product totally alleviates the frizz. And its true to not touch your hair before it fully dries.

  33. LA Lady says...

    My question is what about Day 2? When I sleep on my air dried hair, it looks crazy frizzy in the morning. I’d rather not wash it every day. So far my solution is to spray it with water and put more stuff in it, but it never looks as good as Day 1. The benefit of a blow dry is that it looks good for 3, sometimes 4 days.

    • Robbersoup says...

      Have you tried a satin pillowcase? It saves my hair overnight, no more waking up with the frizzies. I take one with me on trips! Total game changer.

    • Emmie says...

      Yup. THIS.

    • Sophie says...

      I put my hair in a ‘unicorn horn’ right on top of my head – like a ponytail where you look vaguely like a pineapple, thankfully just to sleep. In the morning i undo it and let it come down. I have quite curly hair and it takes a little bit for it to sit back down again. I find it means that all the frizz forms on what will be the underlayer of your hair so when you take it out it looks good again. Try to use a scrunchy or soft hair band. This gets me 2-3 day days for my air dried hair.

  34. Caitlin says...

    I love this! Particularly relevant now, since I have no desire or need to blow-dry my hair while working from home. :)

  35. Casey says...

    I have always air dried my hair and inadvertently discovered a great way to do it. I put it up in a clip, and am careful to twist it in the way I want it to lay. It’s up through my walk to work, I take it out, and — voila!

  36. Amanda says...

    Miss Jessie’s multicultural curls is $16 at target/ amazon and is SO GOOD. I have really thick curly frizzy hair and it’s been fantastic even in Florida summers

  37. Ash says...

    Would someone be willing to share clean and affordable products for FRIZZY curly hair? I can’t do $35 for the suggested product.

    Deva Curl destroyed my hair and would love to find something to replace it. ?

    • A says...

      As I Am Co-wash and leave in conditioner are both AMAZING! My curls feel clean, but not stripped, and very moisturized. All their products are less than $10 :)

    • Kat says...

      Innersense products have been amazing for my curls. (Deva Curl wrecked my hair too)

    • Helen says...

      Kinky custard, they have shampoo, knot today and stellar strands as well as custard. The stellar strands stops the fallout and breakage.

    • Grace says...

      Check out the curly hair subreddit! I recommend Kinky Curly curling custard. LA Looks blue gel and Aussie instant freeze are curly girl method approved and super cheap. My best tip for cutting down on frizz is to style my hair, add more water, and then squeeze the excess water out with a tshirt.

    • CMG says...

      Whats up with Deva Curl? What type of hair damage did you experience? I’ve used their products for years and loved them. Have they changed the formulas?

    • diana Kokoszka says...

      Be Free shampoo has worked great for me. I bought it because it’s the actress who played Topanga’s haircare line but I’ve been using it for weeks and I’m so happy with the results. SO smooth, doesn’t weigh down my curls.

    • Katherine says...

      Also check out naturallycurly.com – I’ve used some of their homemade hair treatments and really reduced my frizz. Protein rather than moisture really helped, you things like natural yoghurt or eggs.
      Other than that I have been air drying a lot like described here, but after scrunching with a towel, I use a curl gel that is only about $10 (I’m not in the US though).
      Check out the website though. You can learn a lot about your curls and find helpful methods and a range of products.

    • sari says...

      wish I could see pictures of you all : )

    • Sophia F. says...

      Hi Ash, I have naturally super frizzy 2c/3a curls that are an insane limp at the top puffball if I air dry. Second the recommendation for r/curlyhair – it really helped me figure out my foolproof routine. I use the SheaMoisture Restore and Repair line shampoo/conditioner (in a tan bottle, available at Target and most drugstores), Cantu Moisturizing Curl Activating Cream (cheap and drugstore) and then plop (look it up – life changing!) and then add some gel (your choice) and diffuse. My hair looks great, if I dare say.

  38. Naomi says...

    $70 worth of hair products?! Not this girl. Have any drugstore dupes?

  39. Megan says...

    I would just add not to judge what your hair looks like when it’s drying. I started routinely air drying about 10 years ago and even now sometimes I catch myself in the mirror halfway through drying and am convinced the outcome is going to be a train wreck. Remember, it’s always darkest before the dawn!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahaha good advice!

  40. Kim says...

    I have waist-length dreadlocks and I frequently let my hair air dry during the summer. While my hair is still wet I apply cream or oil to the scalp area, then twist, braid or put my hair in a bun. I go about my day or run errands while it dries. When I take the twists out, my locks are wavy or curled, and smell really good. But alas this is a warm- weather luxury. During the winter, drying takes forever and I usually blow dry.

  41. Kirsten says...

    I have very thick but fine hair that creates annoyingly undefined frizz waves.
    Ditto on the it would take all day to dry.

    But that said, if I can be outside in the summer sun, I use Kirsten Ess Weightless Shine Air Creme ($10.00 – Target) Doesn’t get more affordable and gives some definition.

  42. Catharine says...

    Real talk! Can we see simple tutorials or links for haircuts at home? Men! Women! Kids! This is what I want to read.

    • Meg says...

      Joanna-
      Oh my heart, your babies! Adorable Toby and Anton’s squish-ably delicious rolls!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahaha yes Anton was the squishiest!

    • Rusty says...

      YES!!! We planned to have haircuts before isolating, but my partner got his and I missed out, because we had to lock down at home a week earlier due to my being in the scary 4% of vulnerable. Just not worth the risk.
      My hair was tine, thick and straight…glorious and underappreciated.
      After chemo, it’s now tine, thin and…..curly/wavy, with some dead-set ringlets underneath.
      I have cut my own hair before, with varying results…and I WILL need to soon…. help?

    • Rusty says...

      Fine…not tine! I can’t feel the tips of my fingers, sorry. Ha!

    • Emily says...

      Me too! Nothing crazy, but please help me trim mine and my partners’ hair! I don’t want it to look TOO crazy when we get out of here…

  43. Olga says...

    This is just the perfect time to try out this method. Just a question from a non-native English speaker: what does it mean to “scrunch” your hair with a towel? Do you wear the towel wrapped around your head turban-style? I don’t see anyone in the pictures doing that, so I guess not?

    • CB says...

      Scrunching is pushing your hair into waves from the bottom. Hard to describe, but picture taking a section of your hair into your open hand from the bottom and pushing it upward so the hair bends into waves/curls. I do it when I’m applying product to activate curls after the shower. Hope this helps. :)

    • KC says...

      Imagine crumpling a sheet of newspaper into a loose ball – you’re not folding it or rolling it, but moving your hands together so that it forms lots of zig-zags instead of flopping to a single fold?

      Then imagine a towel over your hands, and moving your hands towards your head in that sort-of-newspaper-crumpling motion so that your hair is being “crumpled” towards your scalp while the towel absorbs some of the moisture and keeps hair from escaping.

      Or (realizing that my description is lacking!) look on youtube. :-)

  44. Corrie says...

    I always let my medium thick wavy/curly hair air dry using no product because I’m lazy AND My hair + blow dryers= weird frizz. I find that my hair dries the best if I wash at night and then sleep on it when it’s damp. Most days it turns out good and other days it’s time for a bun or ponytail. I’ve also found that having the under layers of hair aggressively thinned helps reduce those weird flat hanks of hair in the back.

  45. melat says...

    The other great tip is to not use regular towels but a t-shirt or quick-dry towel.

    • Rosie says...

      Second this! All for the quick-dry towel or t-shirt. It’s made a huge difference in my hair.

  46. Annie says...

    This is really helpful. Does Reagan have any budget friendly options? I can’t shell out that much for mousse :) (recession is coming!)

    • Rosie says...

      Tresseme, John Freida and Bumble and Bumble all make great mouses and last forever. I’ve been using the same bottle of Bumble and Bumble Thickening Mousse for nearly a year.

    • Cynthia says...

      Tresemme’ makes a nice mousse for about $5. I don’t like to spend a lot on hair care products either.

  47. Zsuzsanna says...

    No, mine is flat if I airdry. Sorry.

  48. Claire says...

    I air dry my hair all the time (fine, straight, very slight wave at the ends). I don’t usually put styling products in because I don’t blow dry, and I always thought those work best with a blow dryer. So I will give this technique a try- thanks! I do what some others suggest and wait until it’s practically dry then twist parts of it or weave some tiny braids, then after a while take those out. It helps give some extra wave and texture.
    Also, I’ve been using Prose custom hair products and i like them very much. I thought they would be expensive but with the promotional offers they aren’t really. And they smell really good.

  49. Kate says...

    WHOA.

  50. Claire says...

    I air dry my hair every day, unless I have three minutes to speed up the process with a little “help” from a blowdryer. Elementary school staff start time is early, so don’t want to wake up the house with the noise!)

    My hair is most similar to Shoko’s, in that it’s straight, silky and fine. It gets oily quickly, so I wash every day. I’m curious if anyone has experience with the recommended products? Normally, any product that I add to my hair leaves it looking oily and gross and don’t add any style, just weight/grit. Any recommendations to help my hair do a little something… fun? I’m thankful that my hair air dries nicely and looks pretty good, but I’d love to learn how to style it effectively. Right now, any time I curl it or even braid it, all the work becomes undone about 30 mins later!

    • Cristina K. says...

      Game changer!!! I have hair similar to Shoko’s—and while air drying, I always tousle my hair side to side and run my fingers through it. My thought has always been, “ it’ll dry voluminously”. I am very excited to try this out, stay tuned!

    • Anna says...

      My hair is exactly like yours. I would like an answer to this too. Even my hairdresser who I’ve trusted for many years doesn’t bother using products on my hair now. She says, Look, your hair has no volume and no texture and nothing I do is going to change that! We just aim for sleekness and shine, never volume or texture. I’m dubious that any products can transform my look, though I do regularly air dry just by virtue of having small kids and no time. Hair still looks flat as a pancake!

    • sari says...

      my mother has seriously flat hair and she rubs volumizing mousse into the roots, combs it through, *important*, UPSIDE DOWN, then blow dry’s the roots upside down. It works for the day. The next day, if not washing, she’ll mist with a water sprayer to reactivate the same mousse and blow dry again. Can usually get a couple days out of it.

  51. Rachel says...

    My hair is sort of similar to Reagan’s, and I let it air dry 6/7 days a week. However, I am a compulsive hair twirler, which I find adds to the curliness and shape. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  52. Maia says...

    As someone living in a humid city in India and whose hair is threatening to turn into a frizz monster (summer has begun here!), this couldn’t come at a better time. My hair is exactly like Claire’s – I’ll try the trick tomorrow to see if it works. Thank you!

  53. Kelly says...

    I wish I could do this! My hair is super thick (which, yes, is great in its own way), and if I tried to air dry my hair in the morning it would still be damp at dinner.

    • Rusty says...

      My hair used to be crazy thick and straight.
      I’d go outside when possible, turn my head upside down and the use a hard, straight hand to sort of flick it downward. It’d dry pretty fast instead of hours later and have a great shine.

  54. Megan says...

    Can she or you guys recommend some products that are in the inexpensive range, like below 20 dollars? We are in trying times now and it would be nice to have some budget-friendly hair tips for those who are interested. Thanks!

    • Mary says...

      Megan, have you checked out Verb? They’re far more budget-friendly but offer great products for hair, including leave-in conditioners, volumizers, etc. I’ve been a devoted customer of theirs for years!

      verbproducts.com

    • Calla Martyn says...

      I second verb products!

    • Jo says...

      I have wavy/curly hair (depending on the day and the product I use!) and swear by Alaffia’s leave-in conditioner, which is available at Whole Foods and Target, and often on sale for $9! (Usually it’s about twelve.)

    • Heidi says...

      The Kristin Ess line from Target is great and pretty low priced compared to salon prices.

    • CB says...

      For my curly/wavy hair I use JessiCurl spiralicious styling gel (it’s more of a cream). Love it and it’s great for air drying!

    • Cynthia says...

      The Cantu curling cream is great! My hair gets really wavy in the summer and this makes my hair look even better and it smells so good. I bought a $2 travel size jar in Target and a little bit goes a long way.

  55. Heidi says...

    It’s such a treat when we get a post from Reagan! I’m going to try this method next time I wash.

  56. Katie says...

    The trick that’s always worked for me is to put some leave in conditioner in while my head is upside down, then twist the front parts right by my face and finally scrunch everything. You end up with kind of rabbi curls (I think they’re called payot?), but it helps create some curl in the area that is always the straightest and also helps keep everything out of my face while it dries. Then, once it’s all dry, break up the twists and then you have nice, contained waves.

  57. M says...

    I always air dry it unless I have an event or a VERY important meeting. I use dry shampoo on days I shower but don’t wash my hair and it is greasy. Who has time to blow dry hair?!! I have very thick hair so it takes awhile. I wish I had that kind of time!

    • Jo says...

      I love this post in part because it addresses those of us with curly hair! (This method is basically identical to my own, except that I use a t-shirt to dry my hair, as it’s more gentle!)

      I wonder if Reagan/CoJ would consider doing a post for the many, many of us who color our hair, who are unsure how to cope during this period of social isolation, as our roots crazily come in. My salon actually sent out a note begging people not to do box color—to use cover up spray instead—but if you have a lot of gray it’s very tempting to try to cover your roots on your own. Would love to hear Reagan’s take!

  58. Stephanie says...

    Just wondering… were any tools (like a curling iron or wand) used after air drying to touch the hair up for photos? It would just help to know the process step by step.

  59. Nerissa says...

    Great post!
    I read somewhere that the fabrics in most towels is not great for hair– something about how it causes frizz? So I use old cotton tee shirts/fancy cotton nightgowns that I no longer wear to mop up the dampness. Because my hair is thick and long, I even wrap it in a turban to stop the drips down my back.

  60. Amanda says...

    I often let my hair air dry whenever it’s warm enough to do so without freezing, but I always kind of look like Chewbacca when I do.

    I’ve never seen one of these tutorials for thick, straight, coarse hair – the assumption is always that straight hair is fine.

    • Calla says...

      sometimes I find that putting my hair in a loose french braid when it is mostly dry but still damp encourages it into loose waves without too much volume. Also don’t be afraid to have your hairdresser razor out some of the thickness (once we have access to hairdressers again)! I have really fine (but plentiful) hair and after I had it thinned out I can finally air dry it for the first time

  61. Kate says...

    Quick technical question: do you brush your hair into whatever part you like in the shower when you’re brushing in the conditioner?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! part your hair in the shower.

  62. R says...

    This may be gross, but I’ve noticed that whenever I let my hair air dry, I get a “scalp smell,” almost as if there’s mildew or yeast in my hair. Probably from the moisture? It’s less noticeable when I blow dry my hair and make sure to really get the back of my head.

    I’ve had this problem for forever. Does Reagan have any tips on getting rid of that smell? (I’ve heard tea tree oil might help, for example.)

    • Kim says...

      Tea tree shampoos, a salicylic shampoo (Neutrogena makes one) might be helpful.

    • Nadia says...

      This happened to me last summer and from what I’ve read, it’s a build-up of bacteria on the scalp that causes “smelly scalp syndrome.” So gross! But it can be alleviated. I drenched my hair/scalp with apple cider vinegar 2x a week for a few weeks and made sure to never go to sleep with wet hair and the bad smell has gone away completely. You can search different methods, I’m sure tea tree would work great as well but I had ACV on hand and it worked. Good luck!

  63. Ann says...

    I always air dry my hair but have now realized I’ve been doing it all wrong! I usually wrap it in a towel and walk around with that for quite awhile, then put the stuff in (bed head don’t blow it) then I end up putting it up in a clip! Will try this new technique tmrw!

  64. Kristen says...

    For those of you with thick hair – when do you wash/air dry? It takes so long for my hair to air dry that it only seems feasible if I wash in the late afternoon and let it dry before evening/bedtime. It’s rarely possible for me to do that though. Any tricks for air drying in the morning and making it look acceptable in time for work??

    • Amanda says...

      Unless your hair dries really fast, I don’t think you can wash it in the AM and go to work with dry hair. My hair is thick and it takes hours (like 4 – 5) to dry. The only time I can air dry is a) when I’m working from home (so…right now) and b) when I work out in the afternoon and hop in the shower before doing anything else. And even then it’s sometimes still damp at the roots and I’ve got to hit it with a dryer there before going to bed.

    • Bailey says...

      It’s really not possible. I shower at 6am, leave the house at 7:30am, and my hair is still wet. Yet I still air dry every day. Blow drying would take me like an hour. I bike 25 minutes to work most days, so I’ve just learned to accept the fairly frizzy, wind blown helmet head look.

    • Kirsten says...

      Thick-haired ladies – there is nothing like the Rusk Speed Freak hairdryer. It used to take me a half hour to do a blow out. No joke, 10-minutes with this bad boy. Worth every cent.

  65. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! One of my help-I’m-stuck-in-my-house goals is to figure out how to do my hair! I’m practicing using the hot air brush for “fancy” days, but have been looking for a casual day routine.
    I’m always so stumped as to which products to use! Will be checking these out!

  66. Mouse says...

    I always air-dry my grey, fine dry wavy/curly-ish hair. I often pull the front part up from my ears with a butterfly clip on top of my head; this seems to give some lift to the roots. A barrette doesn’t quite get enough drag.

  67. Emily R says...

    ha! I let my hair airdry for the first time in YEARS today. Honestly, it looks terrible, and I really dislike all this wet hair on me! I have very long, very straight, fine hair. I think I’ll stick with the blowdryer, but at least I got to try it without embarrassing myself.

  68. Alison says...

    Can anyone with curly hair tell me how you let it air dry without it getting in your face the whole time? If I don’t tuck the top layers of my hair behind my ears or pin it back I feel like it just dangles in front of my eyes or sticks to my forehead and drives me crazy. But if I DO part it and do an ‘ear tuck’ it flattens all the natural volume I have on top. Help!

    • OO says...

      I have this exact problem. Is it long enough to put it in a loose braid? That will keep it out of your face and shouldn’t flatten it on top. If it’s short, a Turbie might help. Haven’t tried it myself but I’ve heard really good things. Actually I think I’m going to buy one now…

    • Jess says...

      Right after I get out of the shower, while my hair is still dripping wet, I use metal duck clips to pin up individual curls around the crown of my head. I don’t touch until they’re dry, and then I slide out the clips. My hair is super thick and heavy, and this keeps it from flattening out on top.

    • KT DO says...

      A great solution for me is to put an athletic type headband in my chin-length super-curly thick coarse hair while still wet (after the towel and product and scrunching). It functions to maintain an “ear tuck” but you can pouf some volume in the front part that’s held down by the headband. I hate that I look frizzy and disheveled during the hours it takes to dry, but if I don’t touch it, as the article instructs, it really does look healthy and bouncy in the end, and then I can remove the headband. (Headband like this. I have black ones that are inconspicuous in my dark hair: https://smile.amazon.com/NIKE-Swoosh-Headbands-Assorted-Colors/dp/B00OY9KCG0/ref=sr_1_24?dchild=1&keywords=athletic+headbands+for+women&qid=1585075608&sr=8-24).

    • Ashley says...

      I loosely twist my two front pieces back (not tightly!) So they curl perfectly and then Bobby pin them in place until my hair is probably about 80% dry!

    • I know Sherry from Young House Love uses a pair of sunglasses to keep it out of her face while drying!

  69. Amber says...

    I find when I air dry my roots immediately look dirty again! I need to hit the roots with the blowdryer to avoid this happening….but, then my good friend frizz shows up. Anyone find this as well? Any tips to get around this? xo

    • Em says...

      Yes! This! It feels oily at the root too, even if I’ve used a clarifying shampoo. I don’t understand how that is since it was JUST washed. I worry that my hair has become so accustomed to that extra heat/air from the drier that it makes more oil to protect itself? And now I have about 15 years of scalp retraining to do if I want to stop blow drying…

    • Rusty says...

      On,y condition the ends, not the roots.
      Try a leave in conditioner with this method and don’t use too much…just a little.

  70. Frédérique Poirier says...

    Such beautiful and inspiring woman! Xx

  71. Alyssa N says...

    I have been following Reagan’s air dry method via Instagram and it has changed my life. Thank you, Reagan!

  72. I’ve been a SAHM for three years and stopped air drying my hair pretty much three years ago – I always get time to wash it, but I rarely get time for any primping after the shower itself. I started showering in the evening and going to bed with damp hair some nights. It looks CRAZY in the morning but I sort of love it??

    Just in case anyone needed to read an anecdote that is 100% unhelpful.

    • Emily R says...

      I think this is just the sort of thing we all need right now!

    • Kristen says...

      It 100% helped make me chuckle :)

    • Una says...

      Hahahah sitting here and having a good giggle at your last sentence. Thanks for the joyful moment!

    • Haley says...

      Replying to say I enjoyed reading your unhelpful anecdote as it matches my own situation quite a bit. I take pride in the insanity of my morning hair as well, as I have crazy curly hair.

    • Erika says...

      Hahaha- love the “unhelpful anecdote.” I also do the damp (or even totally wet!) hair to bed thing all the time, and it’s kind of fun to see what I’ll get when I wake up! It’s usually still damp and half straight/half wavy, but occasionally the hair fairy visits, and it looks like a million bucks! Plus mostly I wear it in a messy bun or pony tail as a SAHM, so it works either way!

    • Yulia says...

      Washing my hair at night, putting in product, and then sleeping on it, is actually the only way I’m able to maintain any volume in my super-thin, wavy hair. So your anecdote is actually super helpful! I scoop it on top of my pillow so it dries “standing up.” I’d say 50 percent of the time I get pretty lucky with Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman hair and the other 50%, it’s pretty wonky, and I have to throw it into a bun. Still worth it! If I let it air dry, it always looks obscenely flat at the crown, no matter what I do. There are very specific metrics for which product, how much, and when to put it in. My formula: a nickel-size amount of cream-gel (a combo formula), with hair as wet as possible, but not dripping. I’ve got it down to a science. Night washers unite!

  73. Katie says...

    YES! Have been doing this to my hair forever and feel so seen lol! It’s much easier than people think. Key moment of panic, exactly like you said, is that half-dry, frizzy moment. If you can wait that out, you’re golden. Really hoping beach-y waves remain in style always because low maintenance = the best.

  74. Elizabeth says...

    I’ll try anything. Thank you, COJ, for this post. I would like to know, however, what can people with straight, thick hair do to coax a little shape into their hair in the air-drying process? Is our condition hopeless?

    • bre says...

      amen!

    • Breamons says...

      Wait for it to get 3/4 dry then do either of these things:

      1. Scrunch it up into a bun either on the top of your head. Proper scrunching technique: flip your hair upside down and cup it into a bun. Leave it in the bun until it dries – take it out and do not touch it. This will leave you with sort of crazy crinkly hair.

      2. Pull the top half into a high ponytail – but leave the bottom of the pony tucked in so it makes a smooth bun. Like a loop.
      Do this with the bottom section as well. Let dry.
      This will leave you with set waves in your hair.

      Good luck straight haired beauties!!

    • GJ says...

      Yes! I have the same question. Hoping we can get this straight, thick hair acting right, Elizabeth. ;)

    • Meg says...

      Hi Elizabeth –

      I have straight, thick(ish) hair and have been air-drying since high school – so at least the last 15 yrs if not more. (And yes, I work in a professional office, lived in a cold climate/never got sick, etc.)

      1. Take a shower in the morning, wash hair.
      2. Comb it and part it – I don’t use any product, but I imagine if you do, now is the time to.
      3. Put it into a low ponytail, bun at the nape of my neck. I do this to the side/usually right side.
      4. Allow to dry in the low bun for about 2-3 hours – this lets the top layer dry smoothly and enforces the part. But I find that this really cuts down on the fly-away situation too!
      5. Around lunchtime, I’ll take the bun out. At this point the top part of my hair is dry and relatively straight and the hair which was in the bun is still damp, but has a nice wave to it!

      Voila! Hope this helps! If your hair is too short for a ponytail, you could probably do the same thing with hair clips to smooth down the top part/top layer of hair.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Thanks, COJ friends! My wet hair is in a bun at this very moment. One more question if anyone is still reading my SOS: are there any products you recommend for us thick, straight hair types?

  75. Ashley says...

    Love this post! I, too, have been using this trick for a while and it works every time on my hair (my texture is almost exactly like Regans). The key really is DO NOT TOUCH, and trust me you’re going to want to touch it and you’re going to look in the mirror and say “well this doesn’t work for me I guess,” because as it’s drying it looks anything but good, but I PROMISE you, wait it out. Trust the process, friends. I don’t even use product on my hair at all…just shampoo, condition, towel and air dry. I scrunch the curls a bit right as I get done using the towel. It also works even better on hair that has just been water washed. On days I don’t shampoo/condition, just wet it, using this method works very well with the natural oils on your hair and scalp and creates even more beautiful texture. Just wait it out!! Know that you’re going to look in the mirror and be like WTF halfway through drying and see it through!

  76. val says...

    i just started air-drying my thick, curly, chin length hair about 4-5 months ago. it took some getting used to leaving it alone and just letting it do it’s own thing until it dries, but now i realize that for some things in life–the less you do, the better. it can be a little scary at first–but leaving things alone sometimes is just the thing you never knew you needed.

  77. A says...

    I have wavy, coarse hair and definitely agree with the no-touching thing. I do find that once my hair is fully dry most of the frizz goes away. I actually don’t even like putting any styling creams in it anymore while it’s drying because I found that it would mess up the wave and/or cause floof

  78. amy weber says...

    i am going to try this technique tomorrow…..and the next day and the next ;-)