By Kathryn Walsh

It seems like most women have taken a ride on the emotional roller coaster that is side-swept bangs. First you covet them, then you cut them. Next comes several months of fighting to make them look right before giving up and letting them grow out. Several months after that, bangs start to seem like a good idea again. Getting side bangs to behave while you have them is the key to enjoying the ride. All it takes is a blow dryer, the right brush and a little technique – no harsh products or emotional turmoil necessary.

Woman drying her hair with a hair dryer at home
credit: Yue_/iStock/GettyImages
How to Blow Dry Side Bangs

Preparing Hair for Blow-Drying

Start out with wet bangs. To style bangs that are already dry, spritz them with water from a spray bottle first. They shouldn't be dripping wet, however. When blow-drying straight out of the shower, do a few minutes of rough drying first: use your fingers to tousle bangs while pointing the dryer at them until the hair is just damp. Don't put any product on the bangs, which can make them heavy and greasy. Finally, pull forward all the hair that you want to be part of the bangs, part it on one side and clip the rest of the hair back.

Choosing Tools for Drying Bangs

Getting volume and movement in side bangs is all about the brush. Pick a round brush with natural bristles. The size depends on the look you're going for. The smaller the barrel, the more curl the bangs will have. Using a large-barrel brush creates smoother bangs. An experienced home stylist may want to put a concentrator attachment on the dryer, which focuses the flow of the air into a concentrated stream.

Getting the Technique Right

One of the biggest mistakes women tend to make with side bangs is putting the brush under the hair during blow drying. Instead, place the brush on top of the hair at the roots. Lift it straight up from the top of the head and blow dry the roots for a few seconds. Drying this section while it's lifted up should give the bangs some volume.

Next, hold the brush vertically at the side of the forehead. Use it to pick up the hair there and rotate the brush to curl the hair away from the face. Aim the blow dryer so the air travels down the shaft, moving from the roots toward the ends; this helps prevent frizz. Repeat the motion, curling the hair away from the face, until bangs are dry. They should sweep across the forehead and along the cheekbone. Run a hot straightener over the tips of the hair to smooth them if necessary.

Giving Bangs More Volume

To give bangs optimal volume, blow them in the opposite direction of where they'll eventually fall. Use the same technique, but instead of blowing the left-side bangs back from the left side of the face, pull the right-side bangs across the forehead and dry them on the left side. Flip the dry bangs back to the right side of your face; they should have plenty of lift at the roots. Repeat the same thing with the left-side bangs, pulling them across the forehead to dry them on the right side and then flipping them back on the left side.