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If you’re anything like us, you’ve made some big changes in your hair game in the last year. You’re washing your hair correctly now. You gave up conditioner for hair masks. You learned which hair brush was correct for your hair type. You may have even switched your shower head to remove all impurities.

But all your hard work just might be going down the drain when you switch on your hair dryer. Not only that, but you could be doing some serious damage to your tresses in the drying process. Don’t feel alone on this, turns out most of us aren’t blow drying correctly, according to Jon Reyman, master hairstylist and founder of Spoke & Weal. We chatted with Reyman about the basics of blow drying to learn the absolute best practices when you take the heater into your hands. Hold on, we’re about to blow your mind (pun very intended).

You’re Using the Wrong Temperature

Turns out, hotter is not better when it comes to the blow dryer. “Blow drying hair at too high of a temperature can leave your hair damaged and dry, which can create more split ends or breakage,” says Reyman. Just keep the temp at the medium heat setting.

You’re Not Positioning It Correctly

Just blasting your hair miscenelously isn’t going to get you those bouncy locks you’re vying for—there is a rhyme and reason in how to position your blow dryer. “Be sure to not put the dryer directly on the hair, but hovering above with a consistent motion of moving down the hair shaft will give you a safe and efficient blow dry at home.” Basically, point the dryer down, not up and keep it moving, folks.

You Don’t Have a Good One

While spending a good chunk of change on high-quality blow dryer may seem unreasonable, your hair will thank you down the road. Better quality blow dryers have extra features in the design that protect your hair from damage, like ion-infused dryers.

“Investing in a good blow dryer is essential to not overheating your hair,” says Reyman. He’s a huge fan of Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. Iconic hair pros, T3, also makes a really high quality version, too. And on the more accessible end, Revlon’s Dual Fast Hair Dryer is boosted with ceramic and ionic tech to deliver less damage for brilliantly smooth styles.

Your Hair Is Too Wet Or Too Dry

From the moment you hop out of the shower, there are steps to take to make this process more efficient and smarter. “Gently towel dry to remove excess water before applying products to your hair,” says Reyman.

When it comes time to pick up the dryer, first “shake your hair around with your hands while moving the air from your dryer throughout your entire head to get some of the leftover water out,” says Reyman. This is considered ‘pre-dry’ or drying hair without using a brush.

“You can pre-dry as much as you like depending on your texture: Coarser texture needs less pre-drying and more control with a brush; finer texture hair can pre-dry about 80 percent before using a styling brush,” says Reyman. If you’re unsure of how much to dry before grabbing your brush, pre-dry till you feel like you are able to easily control your hair to create your desired look.

You’re Using The Wrong Hair Brush

If you need a light refresher on the type of hair brush you should be using, dive into this article. The correct hair brush will easily help you shortcut to the style you’re creating.

“If you are trying to create a smooth and sleek look or need to control your texture, grab a brush with a mix of boar and nylon bristles; this will condense your hair together which creates tension for pulling out unwanted texture and creating shine,” says Reyman. “For this look, stay away from brushes with a wide setting of bristles, this creates too much air flow and will not give you the control of tension you need.”

Or, if you want to create more volume, “blow dry your root opposite of the way it naturally falls to set in lift, and grab a ceramic wide set brush or a round brush to create more fullness throughout.”

You’re Using The Wrong Products

Along with a hair brush, product can also help you hack your way to your ideal look. But the right product can also help prevent damage and dullness. “When blow drying, a heat protecting product is always essential in keeping your hair healthy,” says Reyman.

So, yep, a heat protectant should be your number one go-to. Beyond protection, product will also aid in whatever style you are creating. “Texture or volumizing spray, or styling foam, is great to create fullness in the hair. A liquid gel, smoothing cream, or hair oil will aid in smoothing your hair out. Its key to understand what your hair needs most, either a hold, oil, or a combination of both.”

You’re Not Blasting It

A hair dryer’s least used button, the cold blast, may help you keep your look, long term. “A cold blast to finish your style is not always necessary, but can insure that your style is set and cooled, and may add more shine to your style just like a cold rinse can do,” says Reyman. When in doubt, cold blast it out.

You’re Not Using the Nozzle

Perhaps the biggest flaw in your at-home hair drying? You aren’t using the nozzle attachment that comes with most blow dryers. “The nozzle is most important to have on your blow dryer as it will help in controlling the direction of the air,” says Reyman. “This can help create a smoother finish to your hair.”

The blow dryer that’s mastered airflow? Reyman still loves the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer because it’s nozzle attachments allow airflow to close the hair cuticle when directed down on the hair shaft. “I always use a nozzle to create the look I need.”

Keep reading about all our favorite hair tricks:

Changing This One Thing Will Improve Your Hair Immediately
You’re One Product Away From Perfect, Healthy Hair

The $10 French Secret to Covering Those First Gray Hairs

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