A DIY Blow-dry can be the start of a good hair day, and learning how to blow-dry your hair faster means less stress in the morning (and possibly avoiding your arms feeling like you just spent an hour in the gym). As cold weather sets in and air-dried beach waves start becoming a frizzy and uncomfortable mess, the following tricks and tips to the perfect (and speedy) at-home blow-dry can make all the difference.

Let Your Hair Dry Naturally First

Starting your blow-dry with hair that is sopping wet right after the shower is a waste of time, and a waste of product as well. Also, applying heat to your hair for longer than necessary will dry your strands and increase frizz, so use a towel (or an old t-shirt if your hair tends to get frizzy) to wring out moisture and start the drying process. Be gentle and squeeze water off your hair delicately and without rubbing, so the cuticles of your hair don’t raise and you will get shinier hair.

Once your hair is no longer dripping water down your back, use your fingers to shape it in the general style you want to achieve with your blow-dry. This is the time to apply products as well, using a wide-tooth brush or a tangle teezer to distribute them evenly along your hair. Drier hair means you will get more from less product, and save money in the process.

Rough-Dry Your Hair

Rough-drying your hair until it’s about 75% dry is the quickest way to achieving the perfect blow-dry in half the time. Use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to distribute warm air on your hair and start shaping it in the right direction. For example, if you are looking to achieve a sleek and smooth look, brush your hair downwards, whereas if you are after a big, bouncy blow-dry you need to blow air into the roots while rough-drying, pushing hair upwards.

At this stage, you should always use a heat protector product on your hair to avoid heat damage. Sprays are perfect if you have fine hair and want volume, while a blow-dry cream can help nourish over-styled strands and tame the wildest manes.

Quicker Blowdry Primers

Some products, such as the KMS California FreeShape Quick Blow Dry or Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer can halve the time it takes you to style your hair, and help you achieve better results for longer. The secret is their gliding agents, which make hair easier to style, but still keep it protected from the heat. If you blow-dry your hair often it is worth investing in one of these hair primers as it will make your morning routine take significantly less.

Healthy hair means your tools won’t snag and the hair won’t tangle, making blowdrying a smooth finish much easier and quicker. This is why right after a haircut your hair seems to style itself in the morning! If your hair is very dry, curly or prone to frizz, the L’Oreal Professionnel Absolut Repair Lipidium blow dry cream will help nurse it back to health.

Using The Right Hair Dryer Is Key To A Great Blow-dry

Investing in a good hair dryer is probably the best thing you can do to achieve a faster blow-dry with minimal hair damage. The right hair dryer will allow you to blow-dry your hair without abusing it with excess heat, and a quicker styling process means less damage, particularly if you are a regular.

Not all hair dryers use the same technology: – Ionic technology: Will dry hair quicker, but can also be drying. Not really suitable if you have very curly or thick hair that gets damaged easily. – Ceramic and tourmaline technology: Uses infrared heat which is less damaging and gentler on hair, Some hair dryers use a combination of ionic and ceramic or tourmaline technologies, and while it comes at a premium in terms of price it also means your hair will look better if you use them regularly.

Not all hair dryers are made equal: some are heavier and noisier than others. But choosing a high quality professional tool will allow you to achieve results in less time, and get consistently good hair. No matter your choice, always use it with the nozzle to direct the hair and avoid frizz.

More on Tools: Shave Styling Time Off With The Right Brush

The shape of your brush will define the results of your blow dry efforts. If you are after a smooth, sleek look, a flat paddle brush will give you gloss without the excess volume. There is a reason why Mason Pearson boar-bristle brushes are a favourite of stylists and hairdressers everywhere: ceramic brushes conduct heat efficiently and give the hair a glossier finish, but you can find cheaper alternatives online.

If your are going for volume and curl, a round brush is your best choice, but avoid those with a very small barrel unless you are styling your fringe. For thick hair that takes ages to style, a vent brush can make a huge difference as the airflow will dry your hair in half the time. Just finish with a boar-bristle brush if you are after intense shine, or use a shine spray as a finisher.

Divide And Conquer: Best Blow-dry Techniques

The most common mistake people make when blowdrying their hair at home is to just start drying their hair without sectioning it first. This makes the hair more prone to tangles, and makes the entire process take much longer. You don’t need to be a professional hairdresser to section your hair for a blow-dry: just divide your hair in 4 sections, using a cross shaped figure centred at your crown. So, split the hair from the middle of forehead to the back, and from ear to ear, and hold the hair with clips. This allows you to tackle only one quarter of your hair at a time, and makes things much easier!

Since blowdrying the back of your head is the most time consuming and tiring part of the process, do it first. This way you can get it out of the way while your arms and stress levels are low. Once the back of your head is dry, tackle the front section which is where you want to pay more attention and is usually where you want more shaping and definition. This video explains how to achieve a bouncy blow-dry using GHD hair dryers, but will work with any styler.

Make sure your hair is 100% dry before you put down your tools, as just the smallest hint of humidity will create frizz and play havoc with your style once you go outside.

Make Your Blow-dry Last Longer

It is easy to make a blow-dry last for several days if you use the right products and style your hair properly in the first place. This will help you avoid the need to wash your hair daily, which will lead to healthier hair and even less blow-dry time. And it means more sleep time too!

A touch of dry shampoo can get rid of grease to extend your blow-dry a day or two longer, and you can spot-style with a leave-in conditioner and a flat iron or hair dryer to refresh your style in the morning.

Learning how to blow-dry your hair faster is also a matter of patience and practice. However, it is time well spent as you’ll be able to achieve a polished look and be ready our of the door in minutes without having to splurge on salon visits or expensive Brazilian blow-dry keratin treatments.