How to Diffuse Your Hair, According to Hairstylists

Plus, the mistakes you want to avoid.

Being born with curly hair can sometimes feel like a curse and a blessing at the same time. On some days, you can have beautiful, bountiful curls, while, on other days, they can look frayed or frizzed. But even though there is nothing wrong with having frizzy strands, there is a way to have more control over your curl's shape for better definition and texture. The trick? Using a diffuser.

A diffuser is a clawed attachment one can add to the end of their blow-dryer to better distribute the heat onto their curls, rather than having the air blow in a single direction. With this tool, the distribution of air will help cover a larger area, reduce frizz, and define curls.

But what if you have curly hair and never used a diffuser before? Well, the good news is, we talked with Celebrity Hairstylist, Clariss Rubenstein, and Trichologist and Hair Expert, Shab Reslan, to find out how to diffuse curly hair, the mistakes you should try to avoid, and how to properly use a diffuser.

How to Diffuse Hair
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How to Diffuse Curly Hair:

While it can feel intimidating to diffuse your hair for the first time, both Rubenstein and Reslan provided a step-by-step guide on how to diffuse your curly hair the right way.

Step 1: After when you get out of the shower, pat-dry your hair using a gentle microfiber towel to absorb the excess moisture and immediately wrap your hair up in a towel to allow for as much moisture retention as possible before being exposed to the air to dry.

Step 2: After 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the thickness of your hair), let your hair down and apply your curly hair concoction throughout your damp strands using your fingers or a gentle wide-tooth comb for even distribution. (For those with extremely thick hair, apply your cream to a large-toothed comb then comb it through your hair.)

Step 3: Once your hair is thoroughly saturated with your desired product, you can set and enhance your texture by either scrunching your hair using your hands or a diffuser attachment on your blow-dryer. Make sure to set it to low speed and use medium heat. Try not to touch your hair between wet and dry as this could cause frizz.

Step 4: Do your best to complete one section with the diffuser before moving on to the next, as opposed to moving the diffuser around constantly.

Step 5: Allow for a final 20 percent of moisture to dry naturally for the smoothest and healthiest looking curls.

How to Use a Diffuser:

Once you have your product evenly distributed and you're ready to diffuse your hair, Rubenstein suggests not moving the diffuser all around your head. "Try and focus on one section at a time before moving on to the next," she explains. "[Constantly moving the diffuser] can cause hair to frizz and the curls look less consistent."

Also, it's incredibly important to keep the speed and heat level as low as possible. Yes, it will take a little longer to dry your hair, but the results are worth it. "Blasting hair with high heat or powerful air can negatively affect the finishing results by disrupting the cuticle and exposing your hair. You have to be very patient in order to dry your natural hair," says Reslan.

Mistakes to Avoid:

Don't beat yourself up if you diffuse your hair for the first time and it doesn't come out the way you want. There are a few things you may want to keep in mind when using a diffuser "The biggest mistake when trying to enhance your natural texture in any way is applying your product on soaking wet hair," says Reslan. Since hair only has the ability to absorb a certain amount of product, Reslan says it's important to remove any excess moisture (especially after a shower) before applying any product.

Also, it's important to keep in mind the kind of hair type you have. If you have wavy/curly hair, you wouldn't prep or diffuse your strands the same way as someone who has coily hair. "When diffusing coily hair, I like to twist hair before diffusing," says Rubenstein. "It helps the curls not to separate and really show off the individual curls. [For] wavy hair, I like to comb, scrunch, and diffuse."

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Hair Products to Use With Diffuser:

Since curly hair tends to be on the dryer side, it needs products with protein, moisture, and hydrating elements, says Rubenstein. "I'm currently loving MONAT's Curl Cream ($38, for all types of curls. Curly hair needs hydration, which penetrates the inner cuticle of the hair, and moisture, which coats the exterior; seals the hair shaft; and helps repel elements that can cause curls to frizz."

Reslan also swears by Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Serum by The INKEY List ($10,, which is supposed to help with moisture retention and minimizing frizz. "It's super lightweight and only requires a few drops to prep your hair for your favorite curling cream or nothing at all," she explains.

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