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For those who prefer to let their hair dry naturally, there are some tried and tested techniques to create definition and style without using electricity. Whether you just don’t have the time to blow dry or hate the thought of heat damage to your tresses, there are several effective drying and styling alternatives. The right combination of techniques and products can mean the difference between a frizzy, obviously air-dried ’do and a sleek, healthy-looking head of hair.

Use a highly absorbent towel such as a microfiber hair towel to gently squeeze out excess moisture from your locks after stepping out of the shower. Blot your hair with the towel to soak up water without rubbing, which can lead to frizzy, damaged hair.

Gently detangle hair after towel drying with a wide-toothed comb, starting at the ends to avoid snags.

Apply a serum or other smoothing product if you have frizz-prone or unruly hair. Or plump up naturally fine, straight hair with a volumizing mousse or light gel. People with wavy or curly hair should use a curl defining cream or medium-hold gel to help tresses take on a styled shape without stiffness as they air dry.

Style hair using your fingertips rather than a blow dryer. Gently lift and tousle locks at the roots to help save air drying time. Flip your hair upside down a few times to get rid of any remaining moisture and further speed the drying process.

For a volume boost, make a deep side part and flip hair over to one side, combing it back over once hair has air dried. Those with wavy and curly locks can twist strands around fingers, holding for a few seconds, to separate individual curls and waves.

For convenient styling, braid wavy hair into sections and let air dry for at least two hours in a dry, ventilated space. Undo the braids to release cascading waves.


A wide-toothed comb is gentler on delicate wet hair than a standard comb, protecting against breakage and split ends.

A beach or surf spray is another excellent option for wavy hair.

For thick hair, the natural drying process will take longer than for those with fine or naturally straight tresses. The environment you’re in can also affect drying time, from dry to humid weather or the types of products you use.

Don’t overdo it on the hair products, as excess gel and cream can weigh down hair, making for a much lengthier drying process sans blow dryer. Though damp hair may not seem as though it’s absorbing much product, a little bit (about a quarter-sized dollop for those with medium-thick hair) can go a long way.