How to Use a Diffuser on Straight, Curly, Wavy & Natural Hair

hair diffuser

Bad hair day.

Heat damage.

Did your heart skip a beat?

If you want the convenience of a blow dryer but don’t want the frizziness and heat damage, you should check out a hair diffuser. Of course, you’ll need to know how to use a hair diffuser if you want all the benefits. Stay tuned for all the steps to perfect diffused hair, for all hair types.

Wait, What is a Hair Diffuser?

how to use a hair diffuser
Photo by: Wikihow

Hair diffusers are a hair dryer attachment. This attachment looks kind of like a shower head. Funnily enough, a hair diffuser actually serves a similar function.

Hair diffusers split the one current of air from your hair dryer. Imagine if you took the shower head off of your shower. You’d just have one clunky high-pressure stream of water. This is what your hair dryer normally blows. But with a hair diffuser, you can get a gentler shaft of drying air.

Why is this important?

Simply because it’s better for your hair. Harsh winds can flatten curls and yet cause a mess of frizz. Not to mention the heat damage that such a concentrated blast can cause.

How to Use a Diffuser on Curly Hair

People with curly hair tend to gravitate towards diffusers the most. For good reason! A diffuser is just about the only drying tool that won’t disturb your curl pattern. If you’ve ever used a blow dryer without a diffuser you probably know what I’m talking about. The blow dryer without an attachment completely obliterates curls. What you end up with is a vague, undefined mess. Using a diffuser on curly hair solves this problem. Especially if you know how to use a diffuser on curly hair correctly. To that end, follow the steps below.

7 Easy to follow steps:

  1. Start with clean hair.
  2. Apply your favorite leave-in conditioner to your hair.
  3. If you use a smoothing serum, apply that now too.
  4. Let your hair dry for a bit. Just enough that it’s not dripping wet.
  5. Plop a portion of your hair into the diffuser ‘dish’. Bring up this section until your diffuser is touching your scalp. Now turn your diffuser on to low air and medium/high heat. Keep the diffuser still for 2-3 minutes. Turn your dryer off before moving it. Once you have the next section in your diffuser, turn it on again.
  6. Go over your hair in sections as many times as necessary. But, periodically scrunch your hair with your fingers to check how dry it is. Over-drying causes frizz!
  7. When your hair is dry change the setting on your blow dryer to cold. Go over your hair quickly with the cold air. Doing this creates shine and helps your hair cool down quicker.

Tip: To prevent frizz, always turn off your diffuser before moving it.

This is a great YouTube video to help you diffuse your curly hair.

How to Use a Diffuser on Straight Hair

Don’t worry, those with straight hair can use a diffuser too! When used the right way, a diffuser can give straight hair more volume. It does this by adding more texture to your hair. Diffusers are an easy way to make beachy waves in straight hair. Depending on your method, you can even manage curls with a diffuser. The largest benefit of diffusing straight hair is reducing the risk of damage.

8 Easy to follow steps:

  1. Start with freshly washed hair.
  2. Briefly dry your hair with a towel or tee shirt.
  3. It’s best to start with some product in your hair. Leave-in conditioners as well as light styling gels and mousses are a good choice. This will help your straight hair hold its new style.
  4. Set your blow dryer to low or medium heat and high speed. This is just a suggestion, and you may find a setting that works better for your hair.
  5. Since you want more volume, we’re going to massage the hair to life. Your diffuser should have little prongs on it. Massage your hair and scalp gently with these. Go slowly, and focus on one section of your hair at a time.
  6. To pump up the volume even more, flip your hair upside down. Stay in this position and cup your hair with the diffuser. Bring the diffuser back up to your scalp and hold it there for a short amount of time. For maximum effect, you should turn up the heat on your hair dryer.
  7. Once you have your whole head nearly completely dry, you can go in with hairspray. Lightly spritz your hair all over. Focus on the areas where you want the most volume.
  8. Once you’re done with the hairspray, it’s time to do some manual labor. Pick up a section of your hair at the tips and scrunch it towards your roots. This is especially helpful if you’d like to maximize volume and get some curl to your hair.

Tip: Use a diffuser on straight hair if you want to minimize damage and frizz.

Here’s a video that shows a common method of diffusing straighter hair.

How to Use a Diffuser on Wavy Hair

If you have wavy hair, a diffuser is a great way to dry your hair while maintaining your waves. A normal blow dry can fry your waves, and make them much less defined. Without a diffuser you will create frizz. I’m sure you know that with wavy hair frizz can have a huge visual impact. Using a diffuser helps reduce frizz drastically. This makes for a much smoother, manageable look.

9 Easy to follow steps:

  1. Start with clean hair.
  2. Dry your hair just enough so that it’s not dripping.
  3. Apply a leave-in conditioner. Preferably use a conditioner with smoothing properties. The conditioner will help your frizz stay tamed as you go about your day.
  4. Apply light serum to the tips of your hair. You want to avoid the tips of wavy hair becoming frizzy at all costs. Don’t skip this step if your wavy hair tends to frizz up in a major way.
  5. Place the ends of your hair into the top of the diffuser. Do this step before you turn your diffuser on.
  6. Bring this captured ‘bowl’ of hair up to your scalp, resting your diffuser there.
  7. Set your dryer to a medium heat and speed setting. Then just turn it on!
  8. Be patient. Leave the diffuser to dry your hair for several minutes. Then you can start moving on to the next section.
  9. Once you’ve finished diffusing all of your hair, you can go in with some finishing products. This step is not completely necessary. This is a nice way to gain extra control over frizz, especially if it’s a humid day out. Scrunching a finishing cream or mousse with a little bit of hold will achieve this perfectly.

Remember: To prevent frizz, always turn off your diffuser before moving it.

Here’s a great video that shows you how to diffuse your wavy hair.

How to Use a Diffuser on Natural Hair

Having natural hair is one of the greatest struggles of the modern world. You can have varying lengths due to shrinkage, and dryness due to porosity. Some days your curls and coils might be on point, and other days they might loosen to resemble a cotton ball. If you’re like me and prefer the former, a diffuser is really the only choice. Curl pattern is so crucial and delicate, which I’m sure you know if you have natural hair. Diffusers allow you to style and dry your hair without sacrificing that definition.

6 Easy to follow steps:

  1. As always, start with clean hair. It doesn’t matter if this means co-washing or shampooing. Just be sure there’s not excessive product in your hair.
  2. Let your hair air dry a bit. You don’t want it to be dripping wet. Wrapping your hair with a t-shirt is a good option too.
  3. Apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair, and apply your regular hair oil if you use one.
  4. Ready, set, diffuse! Diffusing is really simple for natural hair. Simply turn your dryer with diffuser attachment on. I tend to use high air and medium heat. Press your diffuser into your curls, coiling them like a spring. Hold the diffuser on each section for around 30 seconds. You can always go back over a section again. Do this all over your head a few times and your curls should be undisturbed and dry!
  5. Want to apply some stretch to your natural hair? Stretch out a portion of your hair with one hand, and press your diffuser into the roots with your other hand. This is a good way to get some more length out of your natural hair. Keep the diffuser still for about a minute. Do this step all over, or wherever you want extra length. If you don’t over-do it, you should still have your well-defined curls to boot.
  6. Here’s the last step for natural hair. Turn your diffuser to blow cold and high speed. Quickly go over your hair with that cool air. This will add shine to your natural locks. This last step also makes for a longer wear-time.

Tip: If you apply oil to your hair before diffusing, wash it out with cold water. This won’t get rid of all the oil. This ensures your hair is not weighed down and still gives your hair shine.

Here’s a video that should help you diffuse your natural hair.

We’re done!

There you have it. A complete guide on how to use a hair diffuser, for ALL hair types. Inclusiveness is the way of the future, don’t you agree?

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