The only thing more oppressive than the summer heat? Having to use a hair-dryer — cue the sweat. Knowing how to air-dry hair, then, can be a gamechanger. Not only will it allow for a literally cooler morning routine, but it can leave you with a tousled, lived-in texture that feels, looks, and actually is effortless. Just as appealing: Summer can be prime time for hair damage, so air-drying your hair can be a way to minimize damage just by putting down the hot tools.
That said, air-drying hair has one drawback, which is that it can be unpredictable. A number of factors, like your hair type and your environment (think wind or humidity), can impact how it eventually dries. As a result, it can be prone to frizz or flyaways, and if your hair is naturally wavy or curly, you can lose definition—making your resulting style a bit of a shot in the dark. The good news is that a few prep steps (and one post-dry styler) can go a long way in delivering a style that looks good without the work. Here, we tapped Lp stylist Molly Leahy to share her recommendations and expert tips.
Start in the shower
Your air-dry style starts in the shower. After conditioning, tack on the Perfect hair Day™ In-Shower Styler, which helps enhance your natural texture. “Don’t forget to lightly rinse and leave a little bit in your hair for more texture,” says Leahy. “Once air-dried, this product offers a soft, conditioned, live-in style.”
Working with waves or curls? She recommends scrunching in 1-2 pumps of Curl Defining Gel into hair after towel-drying for added hold and frizz control. You can stop there if you’re keeping it simple, or read on for extra steps.
Cater to your curl pattern
Psst: Got straighter hair? Skip to the next section. For those with curls, create a good foundation for air-drying with the Curl Shampoo and Conditioner, advises Leahy, as they can encourage curl groupings before you add in stylers. “’Style and form your curl groupings with the conditioner still in, then scrunch out all the conditioner under the water, keeping curl groupings intact,” she says. Use a microfiber towel or T-shirt to remove excess water and let the air — and your hair — do its thing.
If you’re looking for even more definition or control, add in conditioning-based stylers. Whether you’re working with waves or enhancing coils, “these will help enhance, moisturize, and control any curl pattern,” says Leahy. Once you choose the product for your curl pattern, she recommends taking it into the shower with you, applying it to very wet hair after you rinse out conditioner, and scrunching out excess water and product before toweling off. “This will help you apply enough product, form your curls and not make a mess,” she explains.
For waves: Curl Enhancer
Boost waves without the weight. This lightweight conditioning styler enhances natural texture and protects against frizz for effortlessly soft, shiny waves.
For curls: Curl Definer
Curls don’t have to be complicated. This conditioning styler defines and conditions curls from root to tip for bouncy, shiny, frizz-free curls.
For coils: Curl Elongator
So long, shrinkage. This elongating conditioning styler defines and detangles even the tightest coils — for soft, shiny, frizz-free curls without tradeoffs.
Stop frizz before it starts
Frizz and flyaways can pop up as hair air-dries, so a preemptive strike is key. No Frizz Smooth Styling Cream blocks humidity, conditions hair, and smooths cuticles without adding weight — and keeps it smooth whatever the weather. “This no-hold frizz controller is a lightweight, versatile cream that really anyone looking to control their frizz can use,” says Leahy. “Pair this with our PhD In-Shower Styler for frizz control while enhancing your natural texture.”
Want even more moisture? No Frizz Vanishing Oil has got you covered. Whether you’re air-drying freshly washed hair or working with dry hair that could benefit from moisture, “this lightweight, fast-absorbing oil can be added to your strands for extra moisture and shine,” says Leahy. She recommends cocktailing it with the No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream, letting hair air-dry, and then adding a few more drops to give hair a glossy finish.
Don’t forget to touch-up
Once hair has fully dried, “No Frizz Instant De-Frizzer can instantly add moisture and shine to any dry, dull strands,” says Leahy. If you still notice frizz despite your best efforts — which can happen if the environment is especially humid or windy — spritzing on this dry conditioning spray can help dial them down.