Masterclass: Air-drying Curls

Winter has arrived and with it brings a shift in the way we care for our hair. The colder air draws much needed moisture from your scalp and your strands, often leaving our hair drier than usual and more susceptible to breakage and frizz. In addition, the colder weather can lead to us washing our hair less often (hello dry shampoo). While this makes for a cosier morning or evening routine, it can sometimes lead to product build up and scalp irritation.

On balmy summer days we welcome air drying our hair to prevent heat damage, but the idea of air drying hair in the depths of winter is less appealing. With the help of Glasshouse Salon stylist Tori’s expert advice, we’ve got some tips for air drying your curly hair to help you achieve a frizz-free style throughout the colder months.

Photographer Emma Sweeney for Glasshouse Journal
Photographer Emma Sweeney for Glasshouse Journal

Switch up your care products
During winter if you are prone to scalp irritation, it can often be useful to alternate your shampoos. Use a moisturising shampoo that is going to hydrate your hair and nourish your curls such as the Oway Smoothing Hair Bath and if you find that your scalp is extra dry and irritated, we recommend introducing a soothing shampoo such as the Organic Colour Systems Soothe Plus.

Take care when you towel dry your hair
An often overlooked step of air-drying, is how you towel dry your hair when you get out of the shower. The key is to minimise ruffling the hair’s delicate cuticle layers and disturbing the hair’s natural texture, causing unnecessary frizz. If you want to embrace your natural waves we recommend a dollop of your favourite moisture embracing style cream, Oway Smoothing Cream, whilst the hair is still very wet - this helps to lock in the moisture and texture whilst the hair is still in a good shape.

Carefully ‘squeeze’ out the moisture from your hair using a soft micro-fibre towel with a very gentle scrunching technique. Never rub or ruffle the hair dry. Not only is the hair much more delicate whilst it’s wet, but wavy hair tends to hold its nicest texture whilst it’s still damp, and we want to minimise disturbing the curls and delicate cuticle layers further. Don’t be tempted to separate or disturb it’s shape further unless you have defined curls and they need an extra twizzle on individual ringlets — if you have a strong curl then we’re sure you know what we mean. If you want to add more volume or texture you can scrunch it further once the hair is 90% dry, by this time the curls have already set their shape and you are just giving them an extra boost! If the thought of a complete air dry sends shivers up your spine, you can always gently blast the roots a little dry first with a hairdryer as long as you don’t let the curls begin to separate.

If you tend to wash your hair in the evening, we recommend waiting until your hair is completely dry before going to sleep as this will ensure a better formed curl and less frizz.

Photographer Emma Sweeney for Glasshouse Journal
Photographer Emma Sweeney for Glasshouse Journal

Choose styling products that’ll aid drying and styling
The key to getting the most wear out of air dried curls in the colder winter months is to choose styling products that will reduce frizz and define your curls during the drying process. Tori recommends combining a lightweight leave-in conditioner with your go-to curl definer to give hair the moisture is needs to stay soft - a curl gel for corkscrew curls and a curl memory spray for finer curls needing a boost.

To re-style hair in between washes, the Keep Curl styling range can be re-activated using a light water spray and reconfiguring the curls with a twist. While it may be tempting to adjust your hair while it is drying, we recommend leaving your hair until it is fully dry as constantly touching your drying curls could cause further frizz.

If you find that your hair is still taking an exceptionally long time to dry, Tori advises that it may be due to a lack of protein which encourages the hair to hold on to moisture for longer. She recommends booking in a complimentary consultation and a stylist can assess your hair by doing a wet stretch test, recommending the correct products for your hair based on what it needs.

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