What Is Curly Hair?
Not all curly hair is the same or should be treated the same. There is more than one type of curly hair, including coily hair, wavy hair, and curly hair. These three types vary in their curl pattern and are separated into types.
Wavy hair is categorized as “type 2” hair, as it features the loosest curls out of all curly natural hair. What makes wavy hair “wavy” is the characteristic “S” shape of the curls.
Naturally, curly hair is more corkscrew-shaped, with a tighter curl than wavy hair. Curly hair is known as “type 3” hair.
Coily hair, “type 4” hair, is the tightest type of natural curl pattern, often forming many corkscrew curls or curls that form in a “Z” formation.
These types of curly hair all experience degrees of frizziness and dryness, with wavy hair being the least likely to frizz and dry out and “type 4” hair experiencing the most dryness. Coily curls are also more fragile than other types of curls.
What Is a Diffuser?
A hair diffuser attachment is an attachment for your blow dryer. The diffuser attachment is meant to help reduce frizz in the hair while retaining the natural curl pattern.
The diffuser attachment is shaped like a bowl or cup, to which you direct strands of wet hair into for drying. The bowl will also have prongs that will cradle strands of textured hair and lift rather than pull, which is how the diffuser offers volume.
Why Should You Use a Diffuser?
One main benefit of diffusing your hair is decreasing frizzy hair, and all curly girls and guys should be using one. A diffuser also helps to keep bouncy curls intact while drying your hair evenly.
A diffuser helps turn your natural hair into voluminous curls, rather than just blowing your hair around, which can create frizz. “But how do I diffuse curly hair with a hair dryer?” Keep reading to learn how!
How to Diffuse Curly Hair
Step 1: Prep Your Hair
After washing your hair and applying your styling products, scrunch out some of the excess water with a towel. As to avoid creating frizz, a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel is recommended.
The best styling products to work with when you have curly hair are curl enhancers, volume sprays (if you have wavy hair), and moisturizing and hydrating serums. These help to protect your wet hair and bouncy curls from potential heat damage.
Using a heat-protectant spray is always strongly recommended, whether you have curly hair or not. A leave-in conditioner and sea salt spray are also useful, as a leave-in conditioner will protect the moisture in your hair. A sea salt spray will add texture, but is typically used after styling your hair.
Step 2: Choose the Right Heat Setting
Not every blow dryer is the same, but many will have multiple drying settings. These settings include low, medium, and high heat, and a cool, dry setting.
As you begin to diffuse your wet curls, you want to start on the lowest heat setting and lowest speed setting (if your blow dryer has speed settings). As you diffuse and dry your hair, work your way up to the roots. Dry your roots using the cool setting. This helps to infuse volume into your hair.
Step 3: Work in Sections
Working in sections will allow your curls to diffuse properly and is worth the time to do. Starting at the bottom, you want to dry your ends first using the lowest heat setting.
Working in sections with your head tip forward will help to infuse volume throughout all of your hair. You need only spend a few seconds on each section, too, as you work your way up.
Step 4: Diffuse Your Hair Upside-down
Diffusing your hair is normally highly recommended for people with curly hair, but diffusing your hair upside-down allows room for your hair to build volume. You will want to start diffusing your hair after allowing your hair to air dry.
Allowing your hair to air dry first is important because it decreases the amount of heat damage your hair will take when diffusing. In order to diffuse your hair upside-down, you just need to tilt your head upside so the underside of your hair is exposed.
In that position, focus your diffuser on your hair strands, in sections, and dry slowly. Diffusing naturally is a slower process because of the low-heat setting, but also because the hot air is spread out more.
Step 5: Apply a Finishing Product
As mentioned before, a sea salt spray will be useful in creating volume and adding texture to your curls. Hair oils and serums are also used to protect the shine and
How to Diffuse Curly Hair Without a Diffuser
In order to diffuse your hair without the use of an actual diffuser, you will want to find a way to mimic a diffuser. A diffuser is meant to spread out the heat produced by the hair dryer.
One way to do that without a diffuser bowl is to use your hand to “cup” your hair. With this method, you should only use the lowest heat setting on your hair dryer. Hold your hair dryer a bit farther than you normally would and move it quickly to avoid heat damage.
Another way to diffuse your hair without a diffuser is a strainer (the kind you use in the kitchen!). The small holes will act at the prongs and scatter the heat.
Tips on How to Diffuse Curly Hair
If you absolutely must dry your hair a bit before diffusing, then gently scrunch your hair with a microfiber cloth only a few times.
You can improve the definition of your curls by taking your index finger and wrapping strands of your hair around it. This helps to keep your curls in place while diffusing, and then the strands can be separated afterward.
Mistakes to Avoid When Diffusing Curly Hair
Your Hair Isn’t Wet Enough
Unlike other cases when drying hair (where you want your hair at least 80% air-dried), diffusing is different. When diffusing, you want your hair to be practically dripping wet. If you dry your hair before diffusing, and roughly, your curls will frizz and stretch out.
You’re Not Applying Enough Product
Whenever heat tools are involved with hair, you want to invest in quality products that will protect your natural hair. Conditioners and hydration oils, and serums are helpful in keeping natural curls protected from heat damage, while keeping them shiny and strong. You want to use enough product to the point that you can hear it when you squish and scrunch your hair.
You Aren’t Using a Low Enough Setting
Even with the right amount of product, you shouldn’t go above medium heat settings. Low heat settings are recommended to protect your hair from heat damage, even with heat protectant spray.
You’re Moving the Diffuser Too Much
The diffuser already spreads out the coverage of hot air produced by your hair dryer, so moving the diffuser too much will only make the process longer.
You’re Touching Your Hair Too Much
Constantly touching your hair while diffusing your hair will only create frizz and disrupt your curl definition.