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How to Use a Hair Diffuser to Bring Out the Best in Your Natural Curls

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Blowouts are great, but they don’t provide a lot of variety for anyone who doesn’t have straight hair. Enter the diffuser, the secret to getting amazing waves and curls without needing to air-dry your hair. The tool, as the name suggests, physically diffuses the air from your hair dryer, thus preventing one giant gust from blowing hair in each direction. 

About the Expert: 

David Lopez is a celebrity hairstylist and T3 brand ambassador.

“A hair diffuser attaches to the end of your dryer and makes the airflow more gentle,” explains celebrity hairstylist David Lopez. But if you don’t know how to use one, the tool can be a bit intimidating. Read on to find out why a hair diffuser is essential for every head of curly hair, plus get an easy tutorial to follow. 

What are the benefits of using a hair diffuser?

The first (and maybe favorite) benefit to blow drying hair with a diffuser is time, especially if you typically air-dry. A diffuser gives you the same natural hairstyle you love at lightning speed—and as an added benefit, that style will look more defined. Diffusing helps “dry the hair without having it blow around from the regular airflow of the dryer,” according to Lopez. So what hair types are best suited for a diffuser, as opposed to a standard blow dryer? “Anyone that is looking to enhance their own natural texture, from wavy to tightly coiled,” according to the hairstylist. 

How to use a diffuser

1. Wet and wash your hair.

Before you begin diffusing the hair, you'll need to start with damp hair. If you're washing the hair, make sure you use both shampoo and conditioner that are specially designed for curly hair. And whatever you do, don’t forget to use conditioner.

“Curly hair tends to lose its natural oils quicker and easier, causing it to become dry,” says Vitillo. “Conditioning will help lock in moisture which will prevent frizz and split ends resulting in a smoother, healthier curl.”

2. Get prepped.

Affix the diffuser attachment, such as the T3 Fit Diffuser, to the end of your blow dryer. Then, spritz hair with a heat protectant (we like the BUMBLE AND BUMBLE Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer).

3. Start drying.

Begin to blow-dry, making sure the diffuser reaches every part of your head. “Use the diffuser to mimic natural air drying,” says Lopez. “Gently rotate it around yourself without cupping or over-manipulating with your hands.”

4. Add volume.

As your hair dries, you can gently scrunch your strands to set your natural curl pattern, whether you have wavy hair or tighter curls. “Once your hair is 90% dry, you can gently cup the hair into the diffuser for more lift and volume,” says the stylist.

5. Finishing touches.

When your hair is dry, apply a styling product such as BRIOGEO HAIR CARE Curl Charisma™ Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Crème or BREAD BEAUTY SUPPLY Hair Oil for added shine and definition.

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About the author
Lindy Segal
Lindy is a contributor at IPSY, a beauty and lifestyle writer, and Real Housewives aficionado. She was an editor at People and Glamour, and her freelance work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Who What Wear, and Cosmopolitan, among other publications.
About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated August 30, 2021 12:00 AM