The Perfect Blowout: How to Blow-Dry Your Hair Like a Professional

woman blowdrying hair at home
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Ahhhh, 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 or is it possible, just possible, to do it yourself? 

Turns out, it's easier than you might think.

Start With Freshly-Washed Hair

If you have dry hair, condition in the shower. If you have fine hair, condition only the ends. Blot hair—never rub—with a towel to get rid of excess moisture.

You can't do a blowout with super wet hair or it will take forever. To keep your blowout intact over several days, make sure to rinse hair thoroughly after you wash to get out any conditioner residue.

Apply Product to Towel-Dried Hair

A good styling product is key to the perfect blowout. It adds body to fine, limp hair, while women with thick, curly hair need to keep the frizzies at bay. Plus, products actually keep hair from getting oily. Spritz damp locks with a volumizer spray or mousse before blowing hair dry. The secret is 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, working 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, buy it from Amazon) or work in a mousse.

Stay away from gels.

Pre-Dry Hair and Blow-Dry Your Bangs

You have a couple options to pre-dry your hair. Your goal is to get your hair to 75 to 80 percent dry, which is optimal when it comes to a blow-dry. You can either let hair air dry until it's 75% dry, or, if you are short on time, use a dryer to remove excess moisture before you start the blow-dry.

Bend over at the waist to get a boost at the roots.

Separate Hair Into Sections

Divide combed hair into sections and secure 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. One above the other helps manage the blowout. Of course, leave out a section to start with.

Point the Nozzle Downward

When drying hair, always point the nozzle of the dryer down the hair shaft (this seals the cuticle and helps with frizz). 

Start With Your Fingers

Stylists know the secret to the perfect blowout is to start with fingers. Pull your fingers through your hair starting at the roots. Pull hair out a few inches and hold it while using the dryer to shoot air at the crown on down.

"A brush can only get so close in," says Manhattan stylist David Dieguez, in Lucky Magazine. Dieguez suggests holding hair super taut, "otherwise, moisture stays in the hair shaft and frizzes it up."

Move to the Round Brush

Now that your roots are dry, it's time to move on to a round-barreled brush (stylist Ken Paves prefers a "mixed-bristle brush"—a mix of boar and synthetic bristles). Pull the brush through hair as you blow-dry, pointing the nozzle downward onto hair.

Want Straight Hair? Pull Hair Taut as You Dry

As you pull the brush through hair, follow the brush with the dryer. Dieguez's tip is: "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." This is especially important when drying wavy or curly hair straight. 

Want Body? Twirl Hair With a Brush as You Dry

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

Lock in Style With the "Cool Button"

The last step for each section is to pull 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.