How to Dry Your Hair Fast to Streamline Your Morning

Now, you might even look forward to wash day.

Woman blow-drying her hair

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For anyone with curly, long, or thick hair, the truth is that you practically have to revolve your schedule around the days you need to wash it. We’ve made a lot of progress on making the shower experience more luxurious with things like aromatherapy and shower bombs, but the process of drying your hair? Still as mundane as ever. 

So, if your goal is to dry your hair as quickly as possible, you’ve come to the right place. We spoke to Jonathan Van Ness, hairstylist and founder of hair-care brand JVN, and Diana Pratasiewicz Barnao, director of education at Ouai, for tips and tricks on how to spend less time drying your hair. Whether you decide to blow-dry or air-dry, it turns out the hair-drying process can be way less monotonous than you thought.

In the Shower

Exfoliate your scalp

Let’s start with your in-shower routine. “Bring that skincare energy with you into the shower: Excess sebum and buildup on the scalp will make it harder for hair to not only feel clean, but they inhibit the hair’s ability to dry quickly,” says Baranao. Before shampooing, use OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub to gently remove dead skin cells and oil from your scalp — giving it a completely clean slate. 

Don’t skip the conditioner

Conditioner not only prevents frizz and locks in moisture, but it can help dry your hair faster, too. “You should use the right conditioner for your hair type and texture,” says Baranao. "But if your conditioner happens to have silicones — as many do — they act as an anti-humectant to repel water." That can make them helpful for drying hair after you rinse.

Blast hair with cold water

We all know by now that super-hot water can dry out your hair. Use lukewarm water for the majority of your shower, then rinse off with a quick shot of cold water for 30 seconds to wash out your conditioner. “Cold water seals the cuticle to help speed up the drying process later,” says Baranao. 

Don’t wring out excess water

Most of us are probably squeezing out excess water in the shower too abrasively. “Your hair is more prone to breakage when wet, so you don’t want to be harsh with it,” says Van Ness. "Instead, keep your hands flat and gently smooth them down the lengths of your hair to press the water out versus squeezing and twisting when removing excess water."

In Your Post-Shower Routine

Be selective about styling products

Luckily, there’s no shortage of styling products that help shorten the time it takes to dry your hair. Try JVN Complete Air Dry Cream, OUAI Airy Dry Foam, or Verb Ghost Air Dry Whip. They not only help wick moisture from the hair for faster dry time, but can also reduce frizz. 

Ditch the bath towel

Your regular bath towel is acceptable for drying off your body, but it’s not the best option for your hair. “Use an old cotton T-shirt to remove excess water from the shower instead of a towel before getting started," says Van Ness. "The texture isn’t as rough, and it absorbs moisture less aggressively, which decreases frizz and makes your blow-dry go more smoothly."

You could also try Straand Woven Microfibre Hair Towel — it’s specifically designed to be highly absorbent without causing frizz. You can wrap up your hair like a turban with the handy elastic strap, or “if you have curly hair, try plopping to help curls retain their shape.” says Baranao.

Get ready out of the bathroom

Your bathroom vanity is probably where all the getting-ready magic happens, since it may house your hairstyling and makeup products. However, the humidity from your shower isn’t doing you any favors to speed up your dry time. “You can apply your products in the bathroom, but take a timeout and air-dry away from the humidity of your bathroom post-shower,” says Van Ness. If you don’t have anywhere else to get ready, open the bathroom window and door, or bring in a tabletop fan to speed up the air circulation.

Invest in a great blow-dryer

If you’ve been using the same blow-dryer forever, it’s probably time for an upgrade. “It’s true that you get what you pay for. The more expensive dryers have better and more durable heat control, making them perform much more efficiently [to speed up your blow-dry]," says Van Ness. "Remember to use a heat protectant when you’re heat styling no matter what, but you’ll especially need to use it if you’re using a more inexpensive dryer."

Speaking of heat, hotter doesn’t necessarily mean faster. “You don’t want to burn your hair. It’s more important how the force of air is coming out of the blow-dryer rather than using the highest heat setting,” adds Baranao. Find a dryer with 1,800 or more watts to get enough power to do the job. 

Rethink your blow-dry game 

If you have long or thick hair, it’s worth the tiny extra step of sectioning off your hair to speed up the blow-dry process. “When you blow-dry your hair haphazardly, you have no idea which sections are truly dry until you let your hair cool — which takes longer. Instead, try clipping off five sections: front, middle, back, and each side. They don’t have to be perfect, but it gives you a better game plan,” says Baranao.

Using a brush like Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Vented Hairbrush to allow for proper airflow, “aim at the root where hair is newer and denser, then move on to the mid-shaft and ends," she says. "Everyone tends to go straight to the mid-shaft when they blow-dry at home because it’s right at the eye line. But you’ll always notice professionals at the salon blow-dry the roots first." If you have curly hair, use a diffuser to avoid frizz.

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