My hair is the bane of my existence. It could partially be because I live in Mississippi and we frequently have super high humidity. I learned that blowouts are worthless in 90+ percent humidity, it was a tough lesson. It wasn’t always like this. My hair used to easily do whatever I wanted. I air dried it, I colored it myself with lowlights so good that professional stylists told me I should go to school and be a colorist. Then, sometime around age 30, my hair decided that it needs to be wavy. I was a teenager in the 90s, so I wanted curly hair. I actually got perms. Then, when I no longer wanted curly hair, poof! Waves. Not the kind of waves that you want with a lob (long bob) but this shit curls up at the ends so hard the ends are at my ears. It’s ridiculous. I can no longer air dry my hair because even straightening it won’t completely fix it.
When I get a blowout at the salon, it looks like this:
Smooth. Shiny. Perfect.
I thought about buying the products that they use, but it’s $58 Kerastase spray and that’s just way more than I’m willing to spend on a hair product. I feel weird spending $30 on hair products. So I set out about four months ago to figure out how to get my hair to look a closely to a salon blowout as is humanly possible, without using ridiculously priced products.
This is the result of my four month journey, I look oddly surprised or stoned in this picture, so just ignore that messed up expression. The photo on the left is my hair after I gave myself a blow-out at home yesterday. Not quite as shiny and smooth, but I can’t afford to get blow-outs at the salon every two days; although I told my stylist that if I’m ever rich I will go to the salon to get blowouts every two days and I was really not kidding. If you’re a professional woman in your 30s, appearance matters a lot. We want to pretend that it doesn’t, but it does in most industries.
I have a lob or really a “mob” a medium bob with an angle cut. It’s not a no fuss style. The first thing I learned about home blow-outs is that technique and having the right tools means everything. About 15 years ago, maybe even longer, I tried a round brush in my hair. I have really thick hair so it got tangled and stuck, and I never used a round brush again. I didn’t realize there’s actually different sizes for different hair lengths! Drybar actually has a great video on that! I use the Cricket Technique Tourmaline Thermal Round Brush X-Large 1-3/4 from Ulta. It’s a good mid-priced brush at $16.95 so you’re not investing a ton of money.
For technique, you cannot beat YouTube tutorials. There are literally thousands of how-to videos on YouTube.
This is a great short video of round brush technique but the main difference I have found for short to medium hair is to pull straight out or even up. Drybar also has a great video on technique. The main thing I have found for myself is that my hair is too thick to go back up the hair once the round brush is at the end. This is another good one for lobs!
So here’s what works best for me.
I use just a plain old basic bought at Target conair blowdryer and straightener. Both of these are under $30. I also use a diffuser instead of the attachment that concentrates the air. I also bought this kick-ass holder from Bed, bath and beyond. It’s metal so you can put your straightener in it while it’s still hot so you don’t have to worry about letting it cool down before you put it away. Love it!
Next is products. I have tried sooooooo many different things over the years. Because I color my hair, I found the “sexy hair” products because their shampoos and conditions are sulfate free. I decided to try the styling products and I’ve been really happy with them. I start off with the Smooth Sexy Hair Encounter Blow Dry Crème right after I get out of the shower and comb my hair free of tangles. I usually do a few other things like moisturize and put concealer under my eyes. Then I spray it with Style Sexy Hair 450 Blow Out Heat Defense Blow Out Spray as a heat protectant, it smells like strawberries! Next I blowdry my hair til it’s damp, just about 85% dry. I had been making the mistake of using a round brush the entire time I dried and that was a HUGE mistake. It makes it so much more time consuming and your arms start to hurt after a while! Definitely don’t make that mistake.
Once it’s mostly dry, that’s the point where I section off my hair.
I am not the most patient person and I really hate blow drying so I only do it in a couple parts. I twist up the top layer left and right, and the top layer of the back and use butterfly clips to keep it out of the way. I also bought mine at Ulta because I shop there way too much but you can get them anywhere. This is where you start using the round brush. At that point, it doesn’t take very long to get the bottom layer completely dry. Maybe 2 minutes. The other thing I learned from youtube is that the “cool” button on the hairdryer is actually really helpful. Who knew?!?
The way it works is this. When you blowdry your hair, the heat opens the hair follicles. This is part of why you always want to dry DOWN the hair shaft toward the end and have to hold the stupid blowdryer way up over your head. That thing gets heavy. Anyhow, if you hit it with a shot of cool air, it closes the follicles to seal in the style. The point is, it’s nice and straight and it’s curling under not over. Because, left to its own airdrying devices, this shit will be insane. I’m not even kidding. This is what it looks like when I take it down from the clips and it is NOT due to it being twisted, I promise you.
So before you take the butterfly clips down, you want to clip the dry portions back out of the way. The most important thing at this point is that your hair is 100% dry. Not 95%, not 98%. Take your hand and feel it and dry it more if it’s even slightly damp. Some people use a straightener at this point but I don’t because I’m not trying to add extra steps to it. It takes me long enough in the morning without making it more complicated! Keep the back clipped up, just unclip the left and right sides. At this point just repeat with the round brush, blowdrying the sections pulling straight out, or up. Also, in case you didn’t watch any of the youtube videos I linked to, make sure you are following the brush with the dryer so the heat is consistently on whatever hair is on the brush. Once both side of your hair are completely dry, unclip the back and continue drying with the round brush. I usually make sure to dry the back straight up to make sure to get some volume back there. Again, I cannot stress too much that you need to dry it 100% dry. Then, once it’s dry. I push it behind my ears and do my makeup. This is why I don’t flat iron until the end. Even though it’s dry, I want it out of the way so I can do my makeup before I style it.
I have tried this many different ways but it’s quickest for me if I dry first. I do this naked in my bathroom because I get sweaty when I blowdry. Hey, it’s Mississippi and it’s July. It’s f***ing hot. So I get dressed, do my makeup, and then I actually run a hair straightener over my hair if necessary, and style it. The final result, is this nearly but not quite as good as salon blowout.
So there you have it! Home blowout, nearly as good as a salon. It’s taken a lot of time, frustration, products, fits of rage, tears, and mornings late to work to figure all this out. I hope that y’all can learn from all of my frustration!