Today’s post is dedicated to the hair dryer. I’ve recently rediscovered this timeless tool and would like to take a moment to appreciate it in all it’s glory. Before we hop into it though, let’s go over a little back story and the long road I’ve taken to get here.
My earliest memory of a blow dryer dates back to the age of about 13 or 14. Though the details are foggy now, what isn’t foggy is the feeling of sitting under a drugstore blow dryer with a small motor while my arms ached and my hair only half dried. My long, thick, low porosity hair took ages to dry with the aid of a typical drugstore dryer, and was far more hassle than it was worth. After about 45 minutes of punishing work, I was left with a head of frizz that still wasn’t dry. As you can imagine, this experience and many of the blow drying experiences that followed, led to a general distrust of this tool and started me down a path of experimentation that welcomed the arrival of new tools and routines. Things like a straightening iron, for example.
Fast forward to young adulthood (and tons of experimenting) and I figured out a routine that was manageable for me and my lifestyle. Essentially, I would wash my hair at night, let it air dry about 80-90% and then rough dry it the rest of the way. Then, in the morning I would straighten or curl my hair using either a flat iron or curling iron - ceramic and ionic to reduce damage. Unfortunately, this routine controlled much of my schedule (I had to allocate at least 6 hours of air dry time in the evening) and often left me working my life around when I would wash my hair which is a) no fun and b) incredibly stressful when you already have a million things to worry about and juggle. Plus, the constant heat wasn’t the best for my hair.
Also, while this worked for me well enough, and gave me results that I could live with, it didn’t hold up in the heat and humidity of the South East which became increasingly obvious the first month I relocated from NYC to Charleston. After about a year of living in swamp like conditions, I had had enough and started on a hair rediscovery journey of sorts. Beginning with going completely heat free earlier this year I’ve tried a multitude of things in pursuit of achieving hair that’s manageable, shiny and most importantly, healthy.
I’ve tried no heat, air drying then following with a straightening or curling iron, foam rollers, braiding and most recently, a keratin treatment that has transformed my hair in ways I can’t describe. For me, my hair texture, lifestyle and climate (helloooooo southern humidity) the keratin treatment has been a game changer and it’s allowed me to have the most low maintenance hair of my life. Gone are the days of air drying for hours (10+ usually) and fighting frizz around every corner only to be disappointed once again. Instead, I have hair that’s shiny even without heat and has become so easy to manage that I can once again make changes and strides toward healthy hair. The very fact that I don’t need (I use this loosely because it’s strictly for vanity reasons that I use heat at all) to use heat for a style I like has helped my hair become stronger, healthier and shinier.
As a result, I’ve recently made another switch in my routine - not using a flat iron or curling iron and instead only either air drying, or if it’s cold outside or I have somewhere I need to be, using a blow dryer (thanks to the keratin I can now get the job done in well under 20 minutes - more like 15 most days). Since adopting this new routine I am completely confident in sharing that I’ve fallen head over heels with my blow dryer and can’t believe I’ve been overlooking it for so long now.
A hair dryer (when used properly - medium heat, high speed), may actually be one of the best and dare I say safest ways to style your hair
Now, before we go on I want to clarify that I have a pretty heavy duty blow dryer, and it wasn’t cheap. While living in the city and needing a way to dry my hair quickly for work, I discovered the beauty of a powerful hair dryer. I was a beauty and lifestyle publicist and didn’t want to have soaking wet hair for events etc but also couldn’t dedicate hours to air drying then blow drying and smoothing after getting home late from work, so I spoke to a few stylists and at the time they all recommended an Italian built TwinTurbo. I picked mine up at Ricky’s and was instantly amazed at the power and speed compared to my Conair dryer that at the time, had about 1/4 of the wattage. Anyway, back to the purpose of this post.
After getting the keratin treatment and doing hours of research on how best to care for and extend the length of my treatment, I began noticing a common theme - almost nobody used a flat iron or curling iron (some can actually burn the keratin off your hair) and instead, would only air dry or blow dry. From there, countless internet searches, YouTube tutorials and personal experience have all lead me to a new hair theory that I’m testing out - that a hair dryer (when used properly - medium heat, high speed), may actually be one of the best and dare I say safest ways to style your hair. Is it possible that a hair dryer may actually keep our hair healthier than the air dry or rough dry/ flat iron routines that we’ve all grown so accustomed to? Also, is an efficient hair dryer the answer to our dreams for long, healthy, manageable hair? Here’s what I think.
Essentially, we all know that wet hair is fragile and the longer we leave our hair sopping wet, the more susceptible it is to damage like breakage and split ends. By that logic, wouldn’t it serve our hair better to get it dry faster? Also, even with ionic, ceramic plates and clamps can sandwiching our hair between two scolding hot plates be good for our hair? Lastly, is our fear and general distaste for the blow dryer and the tedious work of doing it ourselves actually causing us to use too much dry shampoo, which can clog the hair follicle and may actually be causing our hair to fall out?? We’ll explore that last point in another post because I’m testing it out but in the meantime, I think there may be some truth to these theories and I’m determined to find out.
So, for the last 2 weeks I haven’t used a flat iron or curling iron and have only been blow drying my hair. I can say right now that I’m LOVING the results and already feel like my hair looks and feels healthier. Also, I couldn’t be happier with my new found freedom and the fact that I no longer need to wait around for my hair to dry or worse, work my schedule around my hair. Instead, I can exercise when I want and even style my hair on the days I film (which I never could do before) because I’m able to wash (10 minutes) gently towel dry (1 minute), rough dry (4 minutes) and then smooth my hair with a blow dryer (25 minutes if I’m super meticulous) in under 30 minutes, compared to my previous method of wash (10 minutes), air dry (6+ hours), rough dry (10-15 minutes) and flat ironing (15 minutes). In a nutshell, that’s a 35-40 minute routine (max) compared to my previous 7 hour routine!! It’s all incredibly superficial and also incredibly exciting and I’ll definitely keep you posted but in the meantime I’d love to know if you use a hair dryer. Do you love it? Are you, like me, kind of over using a flat iron? Let me know in the comments below and thanks so much for stopping by. xxAudrey