Get the Perfect Blowout at Home

woman blowdrying hair at home
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Ah, the perfect blowout. How is it we never really look as put together as we do when we leave the salon? Is there magic to achieving the perfect blowout and is it possible to do it yourself?

Turns out, it's easier than you might think. With just a few simple steps and the right tools, any woman can learn how to blow-dry her hair just like the pros.

The Tools You Need

One of the secrets to a good blowout is the tools you use.

For the best results, you'll want to use a quality blow-dryer that is at least 1800 watts, though one over 2000 watts is going to work better for thick hair. Additionally, a dryer with heat and speed control is always preferred. This is your first line of defense against frizzy hair and a good blow-dryer is worth the investment because it can prevent damage.

Your brush choice is just as important and can determine your style. If you're going for some curl, choose a round barrel brush that matches the size of curls you want. For sleek, straight hair, pick up a flat paddle brush and be sure your dryer has a nozzle attachment.

Start With Freshly Washed Hair

If you have dry hair, condition it in the shower. If you have fine hair, condition only the ends. To keep your blowout intact for several days, make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly after washing it to get out any conditioner residue.

Blot your hair—never rub it—with a towel to get rid of excess moisture.

If you attempt to do a blowout with super wet hair, it will take forever.

Apply Product to Towel-Dried Hair

A good styling product is one of the main keys to the perfect blowout. It adds body to fine, limp hair, and is essential for keeping frizzies at bay with thick, curly hair. Plus, products actually prevent hair from getting oily.

Spritz your damp locks with a volumizer spray or mousse before blowing it dry. You want to make sure to coat every strand of hair with product.

  • If you have dry hair, work in a leave-in conditioner, a straightening balm, or shine serum. Start by coating the ends and work your way up the hair shaft. Finish by combing the product through hair.
  • If you have flat, limp hair, spritz a thickening spray (we swear by Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray) or work in a mousse. Stay away from gels.

Pre-Dry Hair and Blow-Dry Your Bangs

You have a couple options when it's time to pre-dry your hair. Your ultimate goal is to get your hair 75 to 80 percent dry.

You can either let your hair air dry until it reaches that level of dryness or, if you are short on time, use a dryer to remove excess moisture before you start the blowout. Bend over at the waist to get a boost at the roots.

If you have bangs, dry them right away because the shorter hairs dry the fastest. Use your brush to give them an initial style so they're easier to control later.

Separate Hair Into Sections

Divide combed hair into sections and secure it with clips or ponytail holders. Winding hair into mini buns—two in the back and one on each side—often works well.

If you have very thick or heavy hair, try dividing each of your sections into a bottom and top layer to help manage the blowout. 

Leave out a section to start with.

Point the Nozzle Downward

One of the secrets to the salon blowout is that your stylist stands behind you so she can get the blow dryer at the perfect angle. This is a little trickier when you're working on your own head, so you'll have to play around with it until you find what works. Many stylists recommend sitting down so your arms have some support and don't get tired out before you're done.

The trick is to always point the nozzle of the dryer down the hair shaft, never up. This seals the cuticle and helps prevent frizz. Set your drier at high heat and low speed, if possible. 

Pull Hair Taut as You Dry

The other blowout secret you need to remember is to keep your hair as taut as possible as you work.

When you hold your hair tight with the brush and get the dryer at the right angle, you're two steps closer to perfecting this technique.

If you have wavy or curly hair and are going for a straight look, it's even more important to keep your hair taut. As you pull the brush through your hair, follow the brush closely with the dryer and concentrate it just on the hair in the brush. 

Manhattan stylist David Dieguez offers a great tip in Lucky Magazine:

"Imagine there's a point six inches in front of your nose. Stretch the hair toward that point as you dry. It sounds crazy, but when you're done, the tips won't flip under or up—they'll just sort of fan out over your shoulders." 

Start With Your Fingers

Keeping those two tricks in mind, it's time to actually begin the blowout. Stylists always start with their fingers to get at the roots. "A brush can only get so close in," says Dieguez. He suggests holding the hair super taut here as well, "otherwise, moisture stays in the hair shaft and frizzes it up."

Starting at the roots, pull your fingers through your hair. Pull hair out a few inches and hold it while using the dryer to shoot air at the crown on down.

Move to the Brush

Now that your roots are dry, it's time to move on to the brush of your choice: the barrel for curls or the paddle for straight hair. Stylist Ken Paves prefers a "mixed-bristle brush"—a mix of boar and synthetic bristles.

Pull the brush through your hair as you blow-dry. Follow the brush closely with the nozzle and keep pointing it down onto the hair.

Twirl Hair for Extra Body

To give your hair natural waves and body, dry your hair in three-inch sections, twirling the hair with your barrel brush as you go. Think about it as if you're using the brush to create a spiral of hair. Make sure to twirl away from the face, not towards it. 

Lock in the Style

The last step of each section is to pull your hair taut with the brush and blast it with cool air from your dryer. Continue through all sections and finish with a serum for a blowout that looks like you just left the salon.