BLOWDRYING 101 – Part One

 

Further to my ‘How to make the best of your hair’ posts, I wanted to go into more detail, explaining how to do a salon-quality va-va-voom blowdry.

Often, it could just be one or two things that you might not do at the moment that will make a world of difference!

Starting at the basics:

TOOLS

Elbie van Eeden

1. Hairdryer:  A good quality hairdryer is going to make a LOT of difference.  I use hairstylist favourite, Parlux 3500 Compact.  Although it’s one of their lighter models, it’s still pretty heavy to do a  blowdry if you’ve got loads of hair.  You could also look at Diva hairdryers, or trusty Babyliss.

2. Nozzle:  That little pointed attachment you got with your hairdryer? Hope you kept it! This is almost as important as your hairdryer itself.  Frizzy hair will greatly benefit from using one.  If you don’t use a nozzle, the dryer will blow your hair all over the place, and open the cuticle (the outer surface of your hair) making the hair appear even more frizzy.  A nozzle will help you direct the airflow along the length of the hair from roots to ends to smooth the cuticle, create more shine and give hold to the hairstyle.

3. Hair sectioning clips:  You could get these from most beauty supply stores. Crocodile clips work well if you have a lot of hair.  As soon as you start sectioning your hair in smaller  pieces to blowdry, you’ll have much more control.  You will also end up saving time in the long run.

3.  Brushes:

  • Tangle Teezer:  Believe the hype.  This will brush through your hair painlessly, getting rid of knots and cause less breakage in the long run.  Use on wet or dry hair.
  • Basic Round Brush: This versatile brush works best to manipulate hair, to create volume and movement/loose curls.  Choose one with a heat-retaining barrel to help with keeping the desired shape.  I use these ones from Denman.  I like having a little bit of weight in my handle, I feel that it gives me more control when blowdrying.  Vary the size of the brush head depending on how much hair you are working with and how loose or tight you want the volume/curl.
  • Boar Bristle Brush: Whether you’re using it to create a sleek ponytail, or to blowdry, the densely packed bristles of a boar brush are great for smoothing hair.  This brush is great for blowdrying hair straight, as it smooths and straightens at the same time.

4.  Hair product:  Not everyone agrees with me, but I still insist on using some kind of heat protection in your hair before you use any heat.  You wouldn’t (well, shouldn’t!) lie in the sun without sunscreen, would you?

Some of my favourites (although these change!)

  • For smooth locks:  Kérastase Oléo-Relax – Trust me on this one.  a little goes a LONG way.
  • For mega volume:  Redken Guts 10 Spray Foam – Spray the mousse directly on your roots, no mess = genius!
  • For everyday heat protection:  Redken Satinwear 02 – a non-oily heat protectant, especially good because it won’t make you feel like you have ‘product’ in your hair.

I hope that this inspires you to look through your existing tools, and possibly invest in a few new ones to make your life easier.  I will go into more detail as the series continues, but feel free to let me know in the comments what your go-to hair tools are!

 

How to make the best out of your hair – Part Two

It’s about time I update my hair how-to series, and following up on my ‘how to wash your hair‘ post I thought it would be good to move on the next step – styling your hair.

I intend to do a series of tutorials on more intricate styling soon, but for now, let’s stick to the basics – the basic blowdry.  The techniques you use will all depend on your hair texture, how much hair you have, etc.  Like my first post, a lot of it is pretty self-explanatory, but I’m hoping that some of you might get a few tips from this!

THE BASIC BLOWDRY

ALWAYS use a heat protecting serum.  There are a lot of products out there that don’t feel like ‘product’ on your hair once it’s dried, a fave of mine is Redken Anti-snap.  It doesn’t have a hold factor to it, but your locks will thank you for it!!  Then, use a smoothing balm/volumiser if you like.  This will depend on your hair, and the end result you want.

Volume

Work a bit of volumiser in with your fingers, concentrating on the roots.  Start drying your hair, tip your head upside down for even more volume.  ALWAYS point the hairdryer’s nozzle in the direction of the hairgrowth to smooth the cuticle.  If you aim in the opposite way, your hair will have a lot of frizz.  Use your fingers as a brush, and pull your hair up and out for maximum volume. Dry your hair this way this way until it’s about 60 – 70% dry, then section it off in sections the size of your brush, starting from ear to ear (any bigger and you’ll lose tension in your hair)

Blowdry by placing a round brush underneath each section, lifting the hair as you rotate the brush.  The hair dryer should be drying from above the section, facing downwards, and not touching the hair.  (Quick tip:  for even more volume, blowdry the roots of the whole section you separated first, let it cool down properly, and only then carry on to the ends, pointing the nozzle downwards, smoothing the hair as you dry.)  Make sure you keep a lot of tension in the hair with the brush, lifting the brush upwards and outwards.  Repeat this action a few times.

For curled-in ends, leave the brush to cool facing downwards, with your hair spiralled around it.  For a flicked effect,  leave the brush to cool down facing upwards.  For a more tousled look, let your brush face sideways to cool down, alternating sides with each section.  The cooling down stage is almost more important than the blowdrying stage, as it sets the hair.

When you get to the top, and you want even more volume, do the same as before, and instead of leaving the hair to cool down around the brush, take the hair out of the brush and wind it around big velcro rollers like these, making sure the ends are smooth, and not buckled.  Leave this in for about 5 – 10 minutes.  Spritz your hair with a little bit of hairspray, remove the rollers, tip your head upside down again, switch your hair dryer to a cool setting, and shake out your hair using your fingers whilst setting it with a cool shot of air.  Flip your head back up again and finish with a bit of hairspray.

Smooth

If you have super curly hair, it will be easier to start blowdrying when your hair is wet, rather than rough-drying it first.  Comb a little bit of smoothing balm through your hair, making sure put some of the product in your hairline if you have frizzy bits.  Section off your hair in small sections, starting from the back.  Instead of placing the brush underneath the hair like before, place the brush on top of the hair, securing the hair underneath with your thumb.  Again, the roots are the most important aspect.  If your roots are smooth, the rest will fall into place easier.

To straighten curly hair, you have to keep tension in the hair to smooth it.    Use your thumb on the hand that’s holding the brush to keep the tension.  If you want minimum volume, instead of lifting the hair, keep on pushing it down.  Blowdry each section, keeping the nozzle in a downward direction.  With the midlengths and ends, use a combination of holding the brush above the hair and underneath it to smooth it, keeping the dryer nozzle facing downwards.   Then, if you want the ends straight instead of curly, keep on rolling the ends as if you want to curl it, but pull it down instead of letting it set in a curl.  Smooth your hair with a drop of anti-frizz serum.

Fringe

If you have a full fringe, start your blowdry by drying this first.  After you’ve applied your chosen heat protectant, section off your fringe.  If you want a natural-looking fringe (not too curled under, not too straight) try these tricks:  Using a paddle brush, shift your fringe to one side.  Start blowdrying, positioning the hair dryer nozzle in the direction you’re brushing it.  Then alternate it so you brush and dry it in the opposite direction.  Focus on the roots as you’re doing this. When the roots are dry, section your fringe in two sections, and quickly blowdry the underneath section with a large round brush.  Try not to lift it too much, otherwise you’ll get too much volume.  Repeat this step with the top section.

I hope these tips have helped a few of you, feel free to add your favourite tips in the comments section below!

How to make the best out of your hair – Part One

I have originally intended to write only one post on hair products, hair issues, and basically how to make the best out of your hair.  After a quick survey on twitter, I’ve been bombarded by hair problems that made me realise that I’d have to do more than one post (in fear of boring you to death by squeezing it all into one!)  So without further ado, here’s part one.

BACK TO BASICS – HOW TO WASH YOUR HAIR

(You could stop giggling now, you’d be surprised at how many people still don’t do it right!)

Step 1 – Wet hair (I’m cringing because it’s so obvious!!)  The water temperature should not be too hot.  ALWAYS try to use a shower head, you’ll struggle to get your hair squeaky clean washing your hair in a bath.  (Bad hair day cause  #1!)

Step 2 – Pour a SMALL amount (50p size for medium length) of shampoo in to your palm, work it through your hands like a moisturiser, then apply it EVENLY through your hair and scalp, using your fingers to work it through in circular motions.

Step 3 – Rinse, and repeat step 2.  This is important – the first shampoo gets the dirt out, the second wash makes the shampoo’s active ingredients work.  You’ll also notice that if you use small amounts twice, you’ll do better than using one big blob.

Step 4 – Rinse, and TOWEL DRY your hair by blotting – not rubbing – with a towel.  This step is often left out, but you’ll notice the difference, as the conditioner will now be less diluted when applies.

Step 5 – Work a small amount (£1 size for medium length hair) of conditioner through your hands, and apply it to the midlengths and ends ONLY.  Your scalp produces its own oils, what I normally suggest to clients is to apply conditioner on the ‘ponytail’ part of the hair.  You might see a massive change in flat hair if you do it this way!  You could also gently run a comb through your hair, as the conditioner will make it easier to comb.  Try to leave it on for a few minutes.  This would also be the time you would use a hair mask/treatment once a week, or as suggested by your stylist.

Step 6 – Rinse out thoroughly, until you feel that squeaky clean feeling.  Try to do the final rinse with cooler water for extra shine.  Then towel dry again by blotting your hair with a towel.  For longer hair, try gently squeezing the hair with the towel.  I flinch whenever I see people vigorously rubbing their hair!  Your hair is at its most vulnerable when it’s wet, and rubbing it is just going to damage it.

It sounds like a lot of effort, but soon it will become second nature.  I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences after trying this!

Now I need your input.  Feel free to comment on topics you’d like me to blog about.  I’m planning to cover common problems, styling tips, product suggestions, but it’s great to hear what people really struggle with!