How to Air-Dry Curls

For some of you, air-drying may be something you’ve always done, no big deal. But for curly-haired me, it had always meant frizzy, wavy-not-curly, limp hair. If I try to brush it and let it air dry, heaven help me. So it’s kind of a big deal that I can finally unplug and not sweat under my blow dryer when it’s 80 degrees outside.

Here’s how I make it work:

Start by washing hair according to the curly girl method. To read how I accomplish this step-by-step, click here. After I’ve plopped, curls are all a little wonky. They’ve been upside down, so I get a weird bend right at the roots. To undo this, each curl has to be re-twisted.

  • Identify which direction your curls twirl. My curls all turn in the same direction, all the way around my head.
  • You may need to clip up the top half of your hair, or just work the bottom layer without disturbing the top.
  • Start at one side of the head, near your ears, and start twisting hair in one-inch sections. If you have tighter curls, you may need to make smaller sections. Do this all around the bottom layer of your hair.
  • With the top layer, twist smaller sections; making sure each curl is smooth and defined before moving on to the next section. Repeat this all around your head.
  • If hair needs to be secured off your face, do that now by twisting a few curls together and clipping above your ear. You can also add a little braid, or use tiny claw clips to position hair into a style.
  • If hair is flat at the roots, duck bill clips can be placed near the scalp to create lift while hair is drying.
  • At this point, your curls are setting. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TOUCH YOUR HAIR UNTIL IT IS DRY. This takes some serious faith because your hair will frizz when it gets about halfway dry. This is normal. Do not panic and pull out the blow dryer. Don’t run your fingers through and re-twist the hair. LEAVE IT ALONE.
  • Once hair is totally dry, the frizz will be gone. Your hair will be a little crunchy from the mousse. You can scrunch up the curls to break the cast that product creates. You’ll be left with shiny, frizz free locks.

My hair takes about 2 hours to be totally dry. This translates to an hour of damp hair when I get to work in the morning. For me, this is a totally worthwhile trade off for not having to use my blow dryer in the morning.

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