As a hair stylist, it’s essential that you know how to work with different hair types. Some hair types are more fragile than others, meaning that your styling approach may need to be tailored accordingly.
The hair type system developed by Oprah Winfrey’s stylist, Andre Walker, is a good system to use. It breaks hair down into grades 1-4, with 1 being the least curly (straight) and 4 being the curliest (coils). Subcategories A-C indicates the width of the strands.
Air drying – is it better?
Many people swear by leaving their wet hair to dry naturally instead of using a hair dryer. While it’s true that the heat from hair products can sometimes be excessive, it’s not that straightforward.
This is because wet hair is more elastic and vulnerable. Leaving the hair wet can cause hygral fatigue (excessive swelling), according to trichologist Stephanie Sey.
A better solution is to use a heat-protective spray and then set your hair dryer to a low setting. As the hair gets progressively dryer, you can gradually increase the heat. If you want to take extra precautions, shop for a hairdryer with in-built technology for damage prevention.
Here are some more specific tips for hair drying, broken down by hair type.
Type 1: Straight
For straight, fine hair, you may find you have to detach the nozzle of your hair dryer and blow the hair dry, without over-using the hairbrush. This helps add volume and texture. Once the hair is nearly dry, re-attach the nozzle and finish it off.
For hair that is thick and straight, you may want to accelerate the drying time without sacrificing style. Using a high-quality conditioner beforehand can help with drying. The silicones coat and seal each strand of hair, repelling water.
Start blow-drying at the roots, because the ends of the hair will often dry more quickly on their own.
Type 2: Wavy
Wavy hair types range from thin and relatively undefined to voluminous and frizz-prone.
Wavy and curly hair can be more frizz-prone because this type of hair often has a moisture problem. The wavier or curlier your hair is, the more trouble the scalp has distributing natural oils all the way down the hair shafts. You may find that applying hair moisturizers, leave-in conditioners, or oils prior to hair drying solves this problem!
Type 3: Curly
As with many types of thick, wavy hair, people with curly hair often benefit from using moisturizing hair products prior to drying.
You’ll find it’s best to keep the hair dryer on a low or medium setting to minimize frizz.
It also helps to use a hair dryer that comes with a diffuser attachment. Then use the diffuser to dry the hair one section at a time. Keep the diffuser still so that you don’t encourage frizz!
Type 4: Coils
Coil hair types are most common in those with Afro hair. The tighter the hair coil, the more moisturizing products you’re likely to need to use!
Using argan oil on the hair before drying it is often helpful. This oil is packed with antioxidants that promote healthy hair while being quite light in texture, making it great for curly hair.
After applying a leave-in conditioner, dry the hair in four-inch sections. Hold the ends of the hair taut and blow-dry carefully from root to tip. If you want to speed this up, using a hair dryer with a comb attachment can be helpful!
So there you have it. Why not try some of these tips and tricks next time you dry your hair and see what the results are?