Being born with curly hair can feel like both a blessing and a curse at times. On some days, you’ll have lovely, full curls, while on others, they’ll appear frayed or frizzed. Even though having frizzy strands isn’t a bad thing, there is a way to have more control over the shape of your curls for better definition and texture. What’s the secret? Making use of a diffuser
A diffuser is a clawed attachment that can be added to the end of a blow-dryer to better distribute heat onto curls instead of having the air blow in one direction. The air distribution provided by this tool will help cover a larger area, reduce frizz, and define curls.
But what if you’ve never used a diffuser before and have curly hair? The good news is that we spoke with Clariss Rubenstein, a celebrity hairstylist, and Shab Reslan, a Trichologist and hair expert, to learn how to diffuse curly hair, avoid common mistakes, and use a diffuser properly.
How to Diffuse Curly Hair
While diffusing your hair for the first time can be intimidating, Rubenstein and Reslan both provided a step-by-step guide on how to diffuse your curly hair properly.
Step 1: After getting out of the shower, pat dries your hair with a gentle microfiber towel to absorb excess moisture, then wrap your hair in a towel to retain as much moisture as possible before exposing it to the air to dry.
Step 2: Let your hair down for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the thickness of your hair), then apply your curly hair concoction evenly throughout your damp strands with your fingers or a gentle wide-tooth comb. (If your hair is exceptionally thick, apply your cream to a large-toothed comb and comb it through.)
Step 3: Once your hair is thoroughly saturated with your desired product, scrunch it with your hands or a diffuser attachment on your blow-dryer to set and enhance your texture. Make sure it’s on low and that the heat is set to medium. It’s best not to touch your hair when it’s wet and dry, as this can cause frizz.
Step 4: Rather than moving the diffuser around constantly, try to finish one section with the diffuser before moving on to the next.
Step 5: Let the final 20% of moisture dry naturally for the smoothest and healthiest-looking curls.
How to Use a Diffuser
Rubenstein recommends not moving the diffuser all around your head once you’ve evenly distributed your product and are ready to diffuse your hair. “Try to concentrate on one section at a time before moving on,” she advises. “[Continued movement of the diffuser] can cause frizz and make curls appear less consistent.”
It’s also critical to keep the speed and temperature as low as possible. Yes, drying your hair will take a little longer, but the results are well worth it. “By disrupting the cuticle and exposing your hair, blasting hair with high heat or powerful air can harm the final results. To dry your natural hair, you’ll need a lot of patience, “Reslan explains.
Mistakes to Avoid
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re trying to diffuse your hair for the first time and it doesn’t turn out the way you want. When using a diffuser, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. “When trying to enhance your natural texture in any way, the biggest mistake is applying your product to soaking wet hair,” says Reslan. Because hair can only absorb a certain amount of product, it’s critical to remove any excess moisture (especially after a shower) before applying any product, according to Reslan.
It’s also important to remember what kind of hair you have. If you have wavy/curly hair, you wouldn’t prep or diffuse your strands the same way as someone with coily hair if you have wavy/curly hair. “I like to twist hair before diffusing it when it’s coily,” Rubenstein says. “It keeps the curls from separating and highlights the individual curls. I like to comb, scrunch, and diffuse wavy hair.”
Hair Products to Use With Diffuser
Because curly hair is drier, it requires products that contain protein, moisture, and hydrating elements. “MONAT’s Curl Cream ($38) is my current favourite for all types of curls. Curly hair requires both hydration, which penetrates the hair’s inner cuticle, and moisture, which coats the outside of the hair, seals the hair shaft, and helps repel elements that cause curls to frizz.”
Reslan also recommends The INKEY List’s Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Serum ($10), which is supposed to help with moisture retention and frizz reduction. “It’s super light,” she says, “and only a few drops are needed to prep your hair for your favourite curling cream or nothing at all.”