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Blow Drying Mistakes LEAD
Credit: Getty

Ah, the blowout. The perfect, voluminous hair that you leave the salon in love with but can rarely be recreated at home no matter how hard you try. That’s because there’s so much more to blow-drying than simply blasting your strands with heat until they seem like they’re no longer wet. So despite the fact that you blow-dry your hair often, chances are you’re not doing it correctly and that’s why you end up with a frizzy finish every single time. To help us point our blow-dryers in the right direction, we turned to Alli Webb, founder of Drybar to find out how to fix common blow-drying mistakes we’re all making.

Mistake #1: You’re Working in Wrong Size Sections

Running short on time in the morning and grabbing huge hanks of hair? Webb recommends drying hair in one to two inch sections to effectively prevent frizz. “Your section of hair should not be falling off the edges of the brush. If it is, that's a sign that your section is too big,” she says. “Also, if the section is too thick or bulky, and not all the hair touches the brush, you will be left with a lot of frizz. Each section should be 100 percent dry. If your hair is even slightly damp, it will frizz and won’t hold the style.” To keep the rest of your hair out of the way while you work on an individual section, Webb recommends pinning it back using clips such as Sephora Collection Hold It Together Blow Dry Clips ($10; sephora.com).

Mistake #2: You’re Using the Wrong Brush

The brush you use will ultimately determine the outcome of your style and how easy it will be for you to achieve it. If you’re after curl or volume, Webb recommends using a small or medium ceramic barrel brush like Drybar’s Half Pint or Full Pint Brushes ($36 and $40 each; drybar.com). “These types of brushes dry hair in the shape of the brush,” explains Webb. "Because hair has memory, building in as much volume and wave as you can form into the hair as it dries will really help your body and style last.” For smooth and straight styles with less curl and more volume, use a large barrel brush like Drybar’s Double Pint Brush ($42; drybar.com), which will leave hair with less bend.

Mistake #3: You’re Holding Your Dryer Incorrectly

You would think that holding a dryer and pointing it at your hair would be adequate to get the job done, but there’s actually a method behind positioning your dryer correctly. “You want the dryer pretty darn close to the hair, but not actually touching it. If the dryer repeatedly touches the hair, it can cause damage over time,” says Webb.

Mistake #4: Your Hair is Too Wet

We’ve all been there: we hit snooze a few too many times and now we’re in a mad dash to make it out the door on time. You may pick up your blow-dryer as soon as you get out of the shower to shave off getting-ready time, but it will actually benefit you more to wait a few minutes. “If your hair is soaking wet, it will take twice as long to blowout,” says Webb. “I recommend taking out about 30 percent of the moisture by rough drying (tousling hair with the dryer and fingers). But if you have super curly hair, don’t take out too much moisture as it might be too hard to blow out your natural wave.”

Mistake #5: You’re Using The Wrong Products

Along with choosing the right brush, using products that cater to your hair type and desired style is essential in giving your hair the best blowout possible. Webb says that using the wrong product in your hair can weigh it down or make it frizzy, and that using essential oils and serums on the scalp can also make your mane heavy. For fine or straight hair, Webb recommends running a mousse such as Dove STYLE + Care Whipped Cream Mousse ($5; drugstore.com) to boost volume and texture before turning on your dryer. On textured or curly hair she recommends a finishing cream such as Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream ($37; sephora.com) to smooth strands without holding them down.

Mistake #6: Your Dryer Is Overworked

Who knew dryers had an expiration date? “Most dryers have a life span of about 600-800 hours. You’ll be able to tell when your dryer has had enough: it will start to get weaker and/or might quit completely,” says Webb. If your dryer is still relatively new but not working as well it once did, you probably aren’t cleaning it often enough. Webb says to make sure you are cleaning the filter on your dryer regularly because it will help your dryer last much longer.