How to Speed Up the Air-Drying Process

For when you really don't got time for that.

Embracing your natural texture makes life a lot easier in many regards, but it also requires a lot more patience — especially if you want to avoid using heat.

Curly hair, especially type 4, is much more delicate and prone to breakage than other textures, and using heat regularly only expedites damage. So when wash day rolls around, air-drying is typically the healthier option for your strands. The one caveat? It can take a long, long, long time.

There's no magic wand for making your hair air-dry in an instant, but there are a few ways to speed up the process so you're not waiting around for an entire weekend to rock your twist out, for example.

We share a few different techniques, ahead.

How to Speed Up the Air Drying Process
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Style on Damp Hair

Although some people prefer to apply products to soaking wet hair, this method isn't doing you any favors when it comes to drying time. So if you're in a rush, start off by wrapping your hair in a microfiber towel or T-shirt, then apply your products and style as desired. You'll notice that your air-drying time should be cut in half.

However, in the event some sections become completely dry before you finish, use a misting bottle to add a gentle spritz of water to your curls.

misting bottle

To shop: $13;

Keep That Microfiber Towel Handy

Ever notice how after you apply all your styling products and put your hair into a two-strand twist there's a lot of white residue?

While the formulas can typically dry down clear on their own, giving your twists or braids a gentle squeeze with a towel can help to remove excess product and water from your hair, which should cut down your air drying time significantly.

pattern microfibre towel

To shop: $19;

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Section Out Your Hair

If you typically do a wash-and-go and your hair takes forever to dry, chances are you likely have super thick hair. And while that is a blessing in itself, in this economy nobody has two to three days to wait for their hair to dry.

A simple way around this is to section out your hair and either do quick two-strand twists or finger coils. Ideally, your hair should dry overnight.

Once the hair is ready, simply undo the coils or twists and separate the hair. You'll end up with frizz-free, super defined curls that will last until your next wash day.

Add a Diffuser Into the Mix

While this technically isn't a completely heat-free option, diffusers help to spread out the air flow from your blow dryer, so your strands aren't being directly hit with scorching hot air.

When you're done applying products and styling, simply put your dryer on the warm setting (not hot) and use the diffuser to cup sections of your hair for a few minutes. Just make sure the hair is still a little damp when you're done. Once you've gone around your whole head, you should be good to go — with your air-drying time cut at least in half.

This is All Natural. From the kinkiest coils to loose waves, we're celebrating natural hair in its many forms by sharing expert tips for styling, maintenance, and haircare.

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