Hair Tool How-To: The Diffuser

What is it?
A diffuser is an attachment that connects to a blow dryer. Most diffusers have an accordion end so that they can attach to any blow dryer. Some blow dryers will come with a diffuser that can be secured specifically for that product.

What does it do?
A diffuser is a great tool to dry naturally curly hair or to enhance soft beachy waves without using a curling iron. When it’s humid out, hair will naturally have more movement. Summer is the perfect time to give your hair a break from blow drying!

How does it work? 
A diffuser disperses air through small holes in a bowl-shaped attachment. It refracts air to allow hair to dry into soft waves instead of being blown straight. This tool works great on any length hair, from short pixies to long layers.

How do I prep the hair?
Start with freshly conditioned wet hair. Softly towel-dry your hair and add a leave-in conditioner and curl-enhancing spray immediately. (Check out my suggestions in last week’s TC Style post, Splurge vs. Steal: Sun Style). If your hair is naturally curly, rake through the curls with your hands to free any tangles. If you have slightly wavy hair and you’re looking for an enhancement start by twisting 2-inch square sections into mini dreadlocks. This will encourage your hair to make its own curl pattern.
Tip: Don’t wait more than 15 minutes after getting out of the shower to start diffusing.

What next?
Push the diffuser onto the end of the blow dryer. Turn the heat setting to medium and turn the air speed setting to low. If your dryer doesn’t have all of these options, just keep the main setting to low. The slower the air blows, the less frizz you will have. Tilt your head to one side to allow the hair to softly fall into the diffuser head. The fingers on the diffuser will separate the curls and encourage drying. Allow each diffuser-full of hair to dry for 30-45 seconds before moving on to the next section. For maximum volume, you may flip your hair upside down and continue to diffuse.
Tip: The closer you hold the diffuser to your head the curlier the hair!

How do I know when it’s finished?
You can stop the diffusing process when the hair is 80 to 90 percent dry. Allow the hair to air dry for the rest of the way. This will cut down on frizz. Wet your hands and shake through your waves for a disheveled look. At this point you can also add more curl-enhancing spray or a finishing anti-humectant hair spray.

What about tomorrow?
If your waves need a little pick-me-up for day-two hair, skip the shampoo regimen. Dampen the hair with a spray bottle to reactivate the curl and product in the hair. Add more product if needed, and repeat the twisting and diffusing process.

My Picks

T3 Featherweight Luxe Blow Dryer and Diffuser

Helen of Troy Soft Touch Diffuser (accordion attachment with rubber fingers)

Revlon Ceramic Diffuser (accordion attachment with ceramic plating for frizz-free heat)