How to Give Yourself a Blowout—and Make It Last
Written by: Brianna Peters
Updated: October 28, 2021
There’s something about a fresh, just-left-the-salon blowout: Hair is softer, bouncier, shinier, smoother, and overall healthier-looking. Whether you style your hair every day or just like to add oomph for special occasions, mastering an at-home blowout—one that looks expertly done—definitely takes some practice, but the right tools, techniques, and hair routine make it easier. From choosing the right hair-dryer to properly sectioning your hair, here’s a step-by-step guide for silky, lustrous results, no matter your hair type.
Start with a Preshampoo Treatment
It might seem counterintuitive to treat before you shampoo; indeed, most hair treatments—but not all—are better used afterward. “A good mask or treatment works past one shampoo, so if you have thin or fine hair, you don’t want to do one before a blowout or it will weigh your hair down,” says New York hair guru Harry Josh. “On the other hand, if you have coarse or thick hair that’s prone to frizz, a treatment beforehand can help seal the cuticle with moisture for a better blowout.” What’s different about the new GOOPGLOW hair serum is that it works before shampooing, for every hair type—even thin or fine—for gorgeous shine, bounce, and texture.
What You Shampoo and Condition
with Makes a Big Difference
“Think of your hair routine exactly like your skin-care routine,” says Josh. “Choose your shampoo, conditioner, and styling products to match your hair type the same way you’d pick products for your skin type.”
Towel-Dry with Care
Agitating your hair with a bath towel is a recipe for breakage and frizz. Use towels specially designed for hair—they’re more absorbent and easier on hair—and wrap and squeeze gently, rather than agitating.
Choose Styling Products by Hair Type
“If your hair is super fine (regardless of whether it’s straight, wavy, curly, or coily), I recommend staying in the mousse or mist category,” says Los Angeles hairstylist and R+Co Collective member Jenny Cho. “If your hair is medium to thick, use a cream or an oil to add moisture to smooth and soften hair.”
A Great Dryer Really Helps
What you blow-dry with is just as important as your technique. Look for a high-quality, quick-drying blow-dryer with different heat settings. Weight is important, too. “Your arms can get fatigued quickly with a heavy dryer,” says Cho. Josh suggests asking friends for recommendations and looking at where the dryer is manufactured. “Just like fancy cars, dryers made in high-craftsmanship countries like Italy are often outstanding in terms of performance,” he says.
Use the Right Brush
“A round brush made with boar bristles is great for all hair types, but especially medium to thick hair because it has great tension, which creates smoother, shinier blowouts,” says Cho.Christophe Robin Pre-Curved Blowdry
Hair Brush 12 Rows goop, $103SHOP NOW
Cho recommends a mixed-bristle brush for textured or coily hair. “It can get really close to the hairline for smoothing,” she explains.Crown Affair The Brush No. 001 goop, $62SHOP NOW
Josh likes a strong-bristled brush for detangling and pulling tension. “That type of brush and a powerful dryer are the only tools that can manipulate a coiled curl into a satiny strand,” says Josh.Philip B. Paddle Brush goop, $190SHOP NOW
For straight hair, Cho recommends using a ceramic-vented round brush. “They heat up easily,” she says. “That gives you nice bend at the ends, volume at the roots, and great body overall.”
Section your hair and separate each portion with clips. “It makes the whole blowout more efficient and easier to manage,” says Cho, who says each section should be about an inch to an inch and a half thick. Josh likes to divide hair into five sections (two in front, two in back, and one on top) to begin. “If you have a lot of hair,” he says, “you’ll end up dividing it into even more sections.”
Work from Back to Front
A good, professional-looking blowout takes time, so don’t rush it. “You want to start in the back because it’s more difficult,” says Josh. “Always do the hard part first. The front pieces are the easiest, so if you do those first, you’ll tire out before you get to the back, and you won’t be as thorough.” If you’re someone with finer hair, Josh says to start by drying the top section—he calls it “the mohawk”—to give hair the initial lift and volume. “Start at the crown, hold the hair straight up, and blow-dry forward over your face,” he says.
Style Sleek or Curly
To get a sleek, straight blowout, get your brush underneath each section of hair as close to your scalp as you can and pull the brush slowly through the section. Point the dryer, nozzle facing down, at the tightly pulled section and turn it on. Cho says to keep the dryer nozzle close, but don’t touch your hair directly. “Think of your hair as velvet,” she says. “It looks shiny and smooth when it’s brushed down, but when it gets brushed up, it doesn’t look as smooth.” Slowly pull the brush down through your hair, following with the dryer, until the section is totally dry. When you get to the ends, they should be fully wrapped around the brush. Dry the ends fully, then hit the cold-shot button to set.
For a bouncier, curly blowout, start with the same steps above. When you get to your ends, wrap the entire dried section of hair around a round brush, as if you were wrapping it around a curling iron. Closely blow the warm air on it for ten to twenty seconds (until the hair is fully heated), then let the hair sit on the brush until it cools (you can speed it up with the cold shot). Gently remove the hair from the brush.
Make It Last with the Right Finishing Product
Depending on your hair type and the look you’re going for, you can set your style with different products—but don’t overdo it. “If your hair tends to fall quickly, use a little dry shampoo to support your volume,” says Josh. If you have curly or frizzy hair, add gleam at the ends with a finishing serum or cream.
Freshen Up Next-Day Hair with a Blow-Dryer
You can revive your blowout using the same sectioned approach. “You can do this with or without a light layer of dry shampoo,” says Josh. He also recommends sleeping on a silk pillowcase to keep a blowout in shape and to help minimize frizz. As for putting your hair up before bed, that’s up to you. “If you sweat when you sleep, then it’s probably best to put your hair up overnight,” says Josh. “But it’s case by case.”