That glamorous feeling you have when you first step out of a hair salon with your perfectly bouncy Victoria's Secret Fashion Show-worthy blowout? Amazing. But the hot mess you make when you try to recreate that look at home? Not so much. To help you get a little closer to blowout utopia between salon visits, we've rounded up some of the most common mistakes women make when using their hair dryer—along with how to fix them.
Mistake: Skipping Heat Protection
If you're using any kind of heat tools on your hair, you must also use a product with heat protection to prevent damage. Faith Huffnagle, a stylist at DreamDry, a blowout salon founded by celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe, recommends spraying damp hair evenly with a heat-protecting spray (likeOribe Royal Blowout) before hitting it with heat.
Mistake: Not Sectioning Your Hair
Blow-drying your own hair can seem like a daunting task, especially if your hair is thick or you have a lot of it. But organizing your hair into smaller sections can help ensure you're drying every strand thoroughly. Huffnagle recommends using clips (or chopsticks if you don't have clips around) to hold up the sections you're not working on. This will help prevent wet hair from touching "finished" hair—and give you a better end result.
Mistake: Leaving the Concentrator Nozzle in the Box
That attachment that looks like a duckbill comes with your blow-dryer for a reason. The nozzle helps concentrate the airflow directly onto the hair you're working on, rather than blowing your strands all over the place. Make sure the concentrator follows up and out with your brush to create volume at the roots—and then point it down the length of your hair for smoothness.
Mistake: Holding the Blow-Dryer Wrong
You may have seen stylists holding blow-dryers by the body—but that's notwhat you want to do. For maximum control and smoothness, hold your blow-dryer by the handle, then use your brush to pull your hair away from your head at an angle, keeping the dryer handle parallel to your brush. The concentrator attachment should be pointing in the same direction as the handle of the dryer, rather than perpendicular to it (see below). That way, it will hit your hair directly behind your brush.
Mistake: Using the Incorrect Brush
To get a nicely finished blowout, you need to use the right brush. Metal brushes are fine for normal, healthy locks, but they can cause serious damage when used improperly or with too much heat. If your hair is coarse or chemically treated, always use a natural boar bristle brush; the bristles provide great grip for your hair, but they won't overheat, preventing over-drying and breakage.
Mistake: Not Fully Drying Your Hair
Leaving behind damp spots in your hair can cause major heat damage if you use curling tools or a flat iron on your hair afterward. Plus, it can lead to frizz. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you hair is dry because it feels hot—but hot doesn't always mean dry. Switching on the cold shot setting on your dryer and blowing it over your entire head quickly can help you tell if there are any wet spots left in your hair, says Huffnagle.
Mistake: Skimping on Finishing Products
Finishing products help prevent frizz, fly-aways, and fluffiness once your hair is completely dry—which is why you should definitely be using them. Huffnagle recommends using a finishing spray (such as Oribe Superfine Hair Spray) or oil (try Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil) to help seal the cuticle for a sleek finish. Just apply a small amount of product to your ends (it's important to do this first), then distribute the rest evenly throughout. Just don't use too much product; practicing restraint will help your blowout last longer (whereas going overboard can make your locks look greasy sooner).