Step away from the straightener; here’s how to air-dry your hair like a pro…

Exposing your hair to constant blow-drying or other heat treatments might mean your hair looks fabulous when you step out the door, but it could be doing some serious damage to your locks. Not to mention all the time it takes!

Whether you want to take a break from blow-drying to give your hair a chance to recover, or you’d just like an extra 15 minutes of sleep in the morning, our guide to air-drying your hair is exactly what you need.

Step 1: Towel drying

When leaving your hair to air-dry it’s more important than ever to be gentle when towel-drying. Wrap your hair in a towel or turban and leave it in place to soak up water for 10-15 minutes instead of rubbing it with the towel. While the towel does its job, get dressed, have breakfast or put your make-up on.

Step 2: Detangling

Once you’ve removed the towel, it’s best to detangle immediately. Depending on your hair type and texture, apply a leave-in conditioner, smoothing serum or oil of choice. Unless you’re very lucky, the secret to great-looking air-dried hair is usually a few products that work for you, so don’t skip this step!

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Use a wet brush or specialised detangling brush and gently start brushing through your hair. If you’re prone to knots, start at the ends and work your way up to the roots in small sections. Once you’ve detangled, you shouldn’t brush your air-dried hair again unless it naturally dries bone straight and without a hint of frizz.

Read more: How to choose a hairbrush – the ultimate guide

citalliance – @123rf.com

Step 3: Decide on your final look

Now that your hair has been towel-dried and detangled, it’s time to choose a style based on what kind of hair you have.

Braids and buns

Some braids and buns work much better when done with damp hair – especially if your hair is fine and straight. Wait until your hair is 50% dry, then style as desired – you’ll need fewer grips, clips and hair products if you attempt an elaborate braid with damp hair.

Untamed manes

If your hair is on the wild side (we’re talking curly, frizzy, and generally voluminous), you should take maximum advantage of letting it air-dry.

In the palm of your hand, mix a few drops of hair oil or leave-in conditioner into either a dollop of hair mousse or a blob of soft gel (again – it depends on your hair type and texture). The oil or cream lets the mousse or gel stay soft and moveable.

Work it through your hair, avoiding your roots, until it’s evenly spread, but resist the urge to fiddle with it too much – it’s not called wash and go for nothing. If you have curly hair, use a scrunching motion to preserve your curls.

Michael Simons – @123rf.com

Read more: The ultimate guide to avoiding frizzy hair

Limp locks

If your hair tends to be a little lifeless, give it a boost with a good root lifting spray. You can add a bit of volumising mousse to the roots and mid-lengths as well. Use scrunching motions (pick sections of your hair up in clenched fist-like movements) to create additional lift and volume.

If you’re after more texture, try using a sea salt spray to give you beachy waves – but beware, it feels like sea salt as well.

Now read: Life-changing hair tips for people with fine hair