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How To Blow Dry Curly Hair Without A Diffuser

Blow-drying curly hair is a tough task. Frizzy and messy locks just don’t want to settle into a nice and neat hairstyle. Some women spend up to an hour trying to style their hair and eventually end up failing.

A diffuser is a savior for many girls with curly locks. It makes the hair look neat and curly without the strands flailing all around. But what do you do if you don’t have a diffuser handy?

Most of the time such a problem occurs when you go on vacation or travel on some other occasion. Travel hair dryers rarely have diffuser nozzles, while those in the hotel rooms have never heard of them at all.

Blow Dry Curly Hair With towel

Steps to Blow Dry Curly Hair Without Diffuser

Blow drying curly hair without a diffuser requires a gentle approach to maintain the integrity of the curls and avoid frizz. Here are detailed steps to do it effectively:

Pre-Drying Preparation

After washing your hair, gently squeeze out excess water. Use a microfiber towel or a soft cotton T-shirt to blot your hair. These materials are gentler on curls compared to a regular towel.

Avoid rubbing your hair vigorously with a towel as it can disrupt the curl pattern and cause frizz.

Use products like curl-defining creams, mousses, or gels. These help in defining curls and providing hold.
Apply these products evenly throughout your hair, focusing on areas that tend to frizz or have less definition.

Divide your hair into manageable sections. You can use clips to hold sections in place. Working in sections ensures that you evenly dry all parts of your hair and maintain the curl pattern.

Set the Blow Dryer Correctly

Use a blow dryer with multiple heat and speed settings. Set your dryer to a low or medium heat and a low speed. High heat can be very damaging to curly hair.

Blow Drying Technique

Hold the dryer about 6 inches away from your hair to avoid direct heat. Begin by drying the roots of your hair.

Once the roots are partially dry, move to the lengths and ends of your hair. Using your other hand, gently scrunch the hair in the section as you dry. This helps to maintain the curl pattern.

Avoid focusing the dryer on one spot for too long. Continuously move it around to distribute the heat evenly and prevent heat damage.

You can tilt your head forward or to the sides to lift the roots away from your scalp for better air circulation.

Finish Drying With Cool Air

Use the cool shot button on your dryer once your hair is almost dry. This helps to set the curls and reduce frizz. Cooling your hair helps to close the hair cuticle, adding shine and smoothness.

Once your hair is dry, you can apply a light hair oil or serum to add shine and tame any remaining frizz.
Avoid touching your hair too much after it’s dry, as this can cause frizz and disrupt the curl pattern.

These simple steps to blow dry curly hair without a diffuser can help you go on the road without taking too much equipment with you.

Alternative Techniques for Drying Curly Hair

Drying curly hair effectively while maintaining its natural texture and minimizing frizz requires alternative techniques, especially when you’re not using a diffuser. Here are some alternative methods:

1. Cool Air Flow

If you don’t have a diffuser handy and have plenty of time, just leave your hair alone. Many curly women report that the best curly hair results are reached when you don’t try to dry it artificially.

In order to get the best look while air drying, follow the simple steps:

  • After washing your hair, carefully dry it using a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt in order to get rid of the extra moisture.
  • Apply a leave-in conditioner, which is labeled “for curly hair” to your locks. While running your fingers through the hair, scrunch the hair to form curls.
  • Leave your hair alone until it’s fully dry in order to reduce static electricity.

The same results can be achieved faster if you use cool hair-drying options. Most professional hair dryers have a cool button. What it does is just blow cool air. Even though air drying is better, you can get satisfactory results with cool airflow.

2. Hooded Drying

Hooded dryers are not something most women have at home. However, you can find them at gyms and hair salons.

A hooded dryer is an expensive appliance, but it can save you time when drying your curly hair. Whenever you are using twist-outs and rollers, such a dryer can become your best friend. They also improve the deep conditioning process.

If you are not a fan of diffusers and don’t like holding your hand up when drying, consider buying a hooded dryer.

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3. T-Shirt Wrapping Method

 T-Shirt drying Method

This is a timeless technique that our grandmother and great-grandmothers had been using back In the 20th century. There is no reason why it wouldn’t work today! All you need is a cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel and some time. You’ll get better curls, faster drying, and minimum frizz.

  • Put the towel or t-shirt on the bed or on the counter.
  • Flip your hair forward so your hanging locks are placed in the middle of the fabric.
  • Fold the towel or shirt over your hair and tie it so it stays in place.
  • Wait about 1 hour before unraveling the towel.

You get dry and neat curls without too much hassle.

4. Use Your Car

One of the fastest and most surprising methods to dry your hair without a diffuser is to use your car. Just make sure you don’t try this trick when it’s really cold out and you have to walk to the garage with your hair wet. This is also a wonderful option for women who are pressed for time.

Both the AC and heater in your car can work as a hooded dryer. All you have to do is get into the car, close the windows and turn on the heater or the AC(at the warmest setting) at the highest speed.  If you want your hair to get extra volume, you can open the car windows.

5. Make Braids

If you want to slightly alter your curl texture while keeping it neat and frizz-free, you can use the simple braiding method.

After washing your hair, make tight French braids. The more you make, the more volume you’ll get. If you are after nice and neat waves, just two braids will do.

Blow-dry the braids at a medium setting, wait about 15 minutes and unbraid them. The hair might be slightly wet inside. If such is the case, use cool airflow to dry it.

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Some of these methods last longer than diffuser-made curls, so you can try them even when the nozzle is available.

If you use a diffuser to make a beautiful curly mane, watch this video:


Is a diffuser necessary for curly hair?

Well, kind of, at least if you’re using a blow dryer. A diffuser helps keep the hair from blowing around while drying it. So it reduces frizz and helps keep your style in place.

Can I use a sock as a diffuser?

In a pinch, yes. A sock also diffuses the heat of a blow dryer, but because the fabric and weaves are unpredictable, it’s better to use cheesecloth and a rubber band.

How do I dry curly hair naturally?

You can try air drying after using a t-shirt to scrunch the hair or you can try car drying.

How do I air dry curls?

You can try t-shirt wrapping, also known as plopping. Then once your curls are in place, air dry your hair without touching it.

How do I find volume without a diffuser?

Plopping helps to increase volume because you hold your head upside down at the beginning of the process to create volume.

Should I air dry or diffuse my curly hair?

No heat is always better than low heat or diffused heat. Heat is always damaging to the hair, it just depends on the degree of damage due to the temperature or how it’s used.

So air drying is always going to be better than diffusing because of the heat involved.

What can I use as a diffuser?

You can use a square of cheesecloth or a thin handkerchief or purchase a sock diffuser that’s meant for the purpose.

What is plopping for curly hair?

Plopping is the same as t-shirt wrapping. You can actually use a blow dryer outside of the t-shirt to dry your hair to at least 80% before air drying.

How do I dry curly hair overnight?

You can also leave a t-shirt wrap in your hair overnight to dry it.

How can I air dry wavy hair without getting frizz?

By using the same method of plopping you can air dry wavy hair without frizz.

How do I sleep with curly hair?

The best way to preserve your curls while sleeping is to pineapple your hair. That means to pull your hair up into a loose ponytail atop your head. Then wrap the sides of your hair with a silk scarf.

What exactly is a diffuser?

A diffuser is a device that connects to the end of a blow dryer to diffuse the heat. You apply a diffuser onto the roots of the hair so that the hair can dry quicker than air drying without much damage.

Can I diffuse straight hair?