A good blowout is worth your weight in gold. Unfortunately, unless you have $2,122,171.87 lying in a corner? Each time you that you go to your stylist to blow-dry your hair, will put you in the poor house. So for those of us who want affordable beauty tips when it comes to haircare, we have to learn how to blow-dry our hair ourselves.

Good news: Even celebrity hairstylists were beginners at one point in their magical lives. Fortunately, a few simple tricks will upgrade your blowout technique from mediocre to outstanding on any given day.

Wait for 80 percent dryness.

Many professional hairstylists believe your hair should be 60 to 80 percent dry before you pick up your dryer. Why? Because otherwise, you’re going to to be at it for a long time... For most hair types, this means you should towel your hair dry and then wait for about 15 to 20 minutes before starting up the hair dryer. What to do while you wait? Indulge in a face mask. Meditate. Work on your skincare routine.

Hairdryer heat settings.

I could never understand the heat settings on a hairdryer. Pretty much 100 percent of the time, I would turn my hairdryer on and crank it up to its highest setting so that I could get the whole ordeal over with as quickly as possible. Apparently, I had no idea what I was doing. But heat settings matter, as I have learned recently. Here’s a breakdown for girls (me!) who need it in plain English.

  • High setting – Use rarely. If you use this one all the time, you will be in for a world of split ends and hair that easily breaks. The exceptions to this are for those with very thick hair, which can handle higher heat. But even so, keep it to a minimum.
  • Medium / low setting – Use often. This is the setting you should do your regular blowouts. The heat should be low enough that you can point the nozzle at your skin without extreme discomfort.
  • Cold or air setting – This is to set your hair. The last step in all good blowout jobs.

Pro tip: For each section of your hair that you shape, alternate between the medium and cold setting as you go—even go so far as to let your hair cool on your brush for each section that you do. Yes, it will take a bit longer, but this is how to get a blowdry that lasts. Which brings me to the next point.

Take your time. And remember to set.

That air setting on your dryer is essential. Bringing your hair back to a cool temperature will lock your hair into the shape and style you want. Otherwise, your hair could be prone to frizzing and lose all the work you put into it. Also, run your fingers through your hair and check for any remaining moisture, as that, too, will ruin the effects of your blow-dry session.

Blow in the right direction.

The right direction is the opposite direction of where you want your hair to fall. If you want your hair parted to the right, you will want to pull up your hair to the ceiling with your round brush and blow the hair to the left first.  

Products can do a lot of the heavy lifting.

For hair product, if you have fine hair, you’ll want to spray your roots with a volumizer before you start your blowdry. If your hair is thick, or you have frizziness woes, use hair oil and work it through the middle to the ends before you start your blowout. If you’re giving yourself frequent blow-drys, then you will want to use a heat protector product (spray or cream) on your hair first. It will not only protect your hair from heat damage, but some protectants pull double-duty by adding shine, helping de-frizz, or taking care of your smoothing and straightening needs.

—Eun-Ha Park

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