Curious about how to diffuse curly hair? Whether your curls are long or short, diffusing can be a game changer for your styling routine. Speed up your wash day, maximize curl definition or amp up the volume with these 5 diffusing techniques curated for your ultimate hair goals.
5 Diffusing Techniques for Curly Hair
Diffusing your curls for at least 15 minutesThe curl Story
can reduce hours off your air-drying time.
Did you know you can reduce hours off your air-drying time by diffusing your curls for at least 15 minutes? You can achieve maximum curl definition or enhanced volume all with your favorite hair dryer and diffuser attachment.
01. Hover diffusing
Best for: Short or Long, Wavy or Curly Hair
To Achieve: High Definition or Volume Styling
Hover Diffusing is the most common way to dry curly hair with a blow dryer. It’s great for all lengths of curly and wavy hair. Just hold your hair dryer with diffuser attachment about 6 inches from your hair on low heat. If you keep your hair still, you can achieve the most curl definition by setting your curls in the position that you styled them. You’ll also have minimal frizz with the heat at this distance as well.
To achieve volume however, which I like to do with my loose wavy curls, you can gently move your hair to different positions during your drying time. Start with the diffuser facing down above your hair. Allowing the air to travel down the hair shaft, rather than up, helps to prevent frizz. Begin by drying your roots for a few minutes, then, tilt your hair to one side to dry more underneath. Repeat on the opposite side. These slow changes of positions allow for more volume at the roots and throughout your hair as well.
02. Upside Down Diffusing
Best For: Long, wavy or curly hair
To Achieve: Overall Volume
Along with Hover Diffusing, Upside Down Diffusing is a great way to reach the underside of your hair which can be a difficult to dry. So after, you’ve hover diffused the top side of your hair, you can flip your hair forward and diffuse upside down with the low heat still pointing down the hair shaft. This will allow your roots to be dried in a lifted position for increased volume as well.
You can try this technique while standing up or sitting down for more comfort. I also love that with my new CHI Pro hair dryer, I can hold the dryer by the nozzle, rather than the handle. This allows me to not have to extend my arm too far up which makes for a more comfortable arm position. Note that the diffuser cup does get hot even while the nozzle does not.
03. Hammock Diffusing
Best For: Long, Wavy or Curly Hair
To Achieve: Curl Enhancement
This diffusing technique is great for long wavy or curly hair that gets elongated or flattened with length and or water weight. Hammock Diffusing allows you to help lift your curls up from the ends so that they dry in a more compressed curl position. You can use a silky scarf to hold your hair up while hover or rest your curls down on a countertop while you hover diffuse over your hair on low heat. Additionally, you can rest your dryer on the counter or a shelf while holding your hair in front of it with the scarf as a hammock for your curls.
04. Pixie Diffusing
Best For: Short / Long, Wavy / Curly Hair
To Achieve: Curl Enhancement + Root Volume
Pixie Diffusing is a great technique for long or short waves and curls. Much like the hammock diffusing, this helps to keep lift curls and waves to dry in a more compression position. This is how I achieve more bounce in my curls. Note however, that as the airflow is directed up the hair shaft with this technique, it can create more frizz. To keep the frizz to a minimum, start with hydrated curls and follow the tips below.
To begin, keep your hair dryer off, place the diffuser cup at the ends of your hair and then slowly lift your hair up to your scalp. Hold in this position and diffuse on low heat for up to a minute. To minimize frizz, toggle between warm and cool air settings to dry for a longer period of time. Turn off the dryer or turn to cool before moving your hair dryer to the next section of hair. Repeat the process throughout your hair.
05. Pick Diffusing
Best For: Short or Long, Wavy or Curly Hair
To Achieve: Root Volume
Pick Diffusing is my absolute favorite to achieve volume at the roots. No matter which parting style you prefer, pick diffusing can be used to lift the hair off the scalp while drying. I like to use a rat tail comb for this technique. Yes, I agree it’s a horrible name for a comb, though quite aptly suited for how well the tail end can slide into tiny spaces between your hair. You can then gently lift your hair up without disturbing your curl pattern. Use this technique while hover diffusing or pixie diffusing as well.
To see these diffusing techniques in action, check out the youtube video here too!
Have more questions on how to diffuse curly hair? Leave them in the comments below.
I wish you better hair days than you thought possible!