How to Diffuse Curly Hair in 5 Steps

July 06, 2022
Samantha Holender
By: Samantha Holender | by L'Oréal
Here’s How to Diffuse Curls for Frizz Free Hair

The relationship status of curly hair and blow dryers? Let’s just say it’s complicated. With a lot of frizz, messed-up curls, knots and heat damage being the side effects of a DIY blowout gone wrong, styling curly hair can be nothing short of intimidating. Enter the diffuser, a blow-dryer attachment specifically designed to maintain bounce, preserve natural curl pattern and stop frizz from the get-go. 

To get the lowdown on best practices and some quick tips, we reached out to L’Oréal Professional artist Ron Lopez, and the artistic director of Color Wow Hair, Joseph Maine. Ahead find their tips for mastering the art of diffusing curly hair and amping up your bounce.

What Does It Mean to Diffuse Your Curls?

Diffusing curls is a hair-drying technique that uses a diffuser attachment on a blow dryer to diffuse the airflow. “The purpose of a diffuser is to reduce the airflow from a blow dryer and help dry the hair without disturbing the cuticle layer,” says Lopez. He adds that when the full strength of the blow dryer meets the hair, it can cause curly or wavy hair to frizz. 

1. Prep Your Hair 

Prepping your hair starts with your wash routine. Lopez recommends focusing shampoo on the roots and addressing tangles during conditioning. “Take a wide-tooth comb or wet brush while the conditioner is on so as to not damage or excite the cuticle of the hair,” he says. Leaving a bit of conditioner in post-rinse can also help tame the most coiled or voluminous hair types.

It’s also extremely important to protect your hair from heat damage when styling with hot tools. After towel-drying your hair, apply a heat protectant, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, to your hair. 

2. Apply Your Curl Product

Maine says you should start work in your curly product and start styling before your hair begins to dry. “Use a wide tooth-comb or a twisting motion with your fingertips to work in a product, like Color Wow Dream Coat for Curly Hair, while beginning to form shape to your hair,” he says. A product like this will help to define your curl pattern and reduce frizz. 



3. Dry Your Hair Using the Diffuser 

Over-dried hair is the enemy of voluminous curls. To avoid frying your ends in the diffusing process, Maine recommends starting at the base of your hair rather than with the bottom. “This doesn’t require much effort, just flip your head over and start with the base; move the water toward your ends,” he says. Flipping your head upside down will also amp up the volume and help you focus on hard-to-dry areas. 

To keep frizz out of the equation and achieve the best bounce possible, getting every ounce of moisture out of your stands is key. That being said, raising the pressure level on your diffuser isn’t the way to go. Maine recommends using high heat, but turning down the pressure a notch or two for the best results. 

“When diffusing, be sure not to move the dryer up and down quickly and scrunch the hair vigorously,” says Maine. “The more you disrupt the hair, the more unruly it will become.” Another hot tip? Lopez says you should avoid moving your diffuser in circular, massaging motions at all costs. “The diffuser needs to be held in position and gently moved to the next section,” he says.

4. Apply a Moisturizing Hair Serum

If you feel like your hair could use some moisture after you’ve completely dried it with the diffuser, apply a few drops of a lightweight hair oil to your lengths and ends. We like the Garnier Fructis Curl Multi-Use Oil because it smooths and hydrates the hair without weighing down curls. 

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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