How To Diffuse Curly Hair

How To Diffuse Curly Hair

If you have curly hair, then you already know how difficult it can be to tame that mane. Most of the time, frizz is your mortal enemy, as it can make your curls look wild and out of control, rather than tight and nicely waved.

But it’s so hard to avoid that frizz when it happens when you brush, blow dry, air dry or try to straighten your hair. So, what’s the answer? Diffusers. Diffusers are handy tools that attach to your hair dryer so that you can curl and crunch your hair to make those waves really pop. So, how do you diffuse curly hair? Read on to find out! 

Oh, check out our take on how to diffuse wavy hair here.

What is a Diffuser?

A hair diffuser is basically a round, plastic attachment that fits onto the nozzle of your standard hairdryer. It is designed to provide air over a wider area of hair in a more controlled manner, which is perfect for curly and wavy hair types, as it does not destroy the curl pattern.

A diffuser is a type of attachment that fits onto your regular hair dryer. The diffuser often has a series of bumps and notches to penetrate the hair, muss up those curls, and disperse the airflow from the blow dryer more evenly. As the air is dispersed more softly from the dryer, it does not create as much frizz, and can therefore make your curls appear more defined and shapely.  

How to Diffuse Curly Hair

After you have washed your hair, you will need to scrunch out some of the excess water, and wrap the hair in an old t-shirt or a curl towel. These types of towels are designed for curly hair and can reduce frizz. 

Curly Girl, Curly Hair Towel, Large Microfiber 22" x 39", Super Absorbent
  • Curly Hair Anti Frizz Towel
  • Ultra Soft & Extra Large 22" x 39"
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Convenient Hanging Hook
  • Absorbs quickly for faster results

Then, after the hair has dried slightly whilst wrapped up, you will want to apply your favorite curling products. For instance, we love the OGX Curling Perfection Cream and the iconic DevaCurl SuperCream depending on what kind of hold you need for your hair.: 

If you prefer to, you can use a Denman Original Styler:to detangle, twist out the curls and get them into shape, but you may not have to if you have very bouncy natural curls. 

Jack Dean by Denman Curly Hair Brush D3 (All Black) 7 Row Styling Brush for Detangling, Separating, Shaping and Defining Curls - For Women and Men
  • Best Hair Brush for Styling Naturally Curly Hair and Creating Ringlets. The hair brush has 7 Rows of sculpted round-ended nylon pins gives softer, denser, increased movement and defines curls in wet hair.
  • Style, Shape & Define: The ultimate multi-functional Denman D3 hairbrush is used for detangling, blow-drying, styling, defining curls and smoothing the hair.
  • No Catch or Drag on the Hair: The 7 row curly hair brush of perfectly smooth, round-ended pins to reduce catch or drag in the hair.
  • Optimum Grip & Control: Unique staggered pin pattern provides and delivers maximum grip and tension. The unique 'tear-drop' handle with longer, more rounded shape provides extra comfort and balance.
  • Best use for 2C-4C curls. For all our wavy and curly haired customers, this brush provides tension whilst detangling to achieve defined ribbon-like curls.

Once you’re ready to diffuse, simply flip your head over so that it’s upside down, and take a section of your hair or a few curls, and place them into the bowl or round part of the diffuser. 

Then, bring your diffuser up to the scalp, and turn the hair dryer on at a low heat and low speed. Keep scrunching the curls up into the bowl of the diffuser, and dry various sections until all of your hair has been diffused slightly with the hair forward.

Next, repeat those steps, but with the hair to one side, and diffuse the curls, repeating again on the other side. Once your hair is about 80% dry, stop diffusing and use root clips to gain that extra volume that you want, and leave to air dry until 100% dry.

Once your hair is dry, fluff it out and shake it out to get the look that you want, and for the curls to fall in their natural place. 

Related: How to detangle matted hair

How to Diffuse Curly Hair
How to Diffuse Curly Hair

Related: How to use Wild Growth Hair Oil

Is a Diffuser Better for your Hair?

A diffuser can be beneficial for you and your hair as it does not cause frizz, and the results are bouncier, fuller, more voluminous curls. In addition to this, the hair can dry more quickly and more evenly. 

Using a diffuser is actually very beneficial as to reducing heat damage as the air is dispersed all through the hair more evenly, however it is not necessarily good for the hair, as it still uses heat to dry the hair, which can be damaging and can cause split ends. This is why it is still so important to use a good heat protectant so that you do not damage your curls. 

Do you Diffuse Curly Hair with Hot or Cold Air?

You will want to start off with hot air when diffusing as this will help to seal the hair cuticle. Which will help the ringlet and curls retain their shape when dry. However, you may want to finish with a cooler air setting as this can also help to reduce frizz. 

Do you use a Diffuser on Wet Hair?

It is not recommended that you use a diffuser on completely wet hair, as the curls will be more defined if you leave them to try a little first. If you towel dry the hair or wrap it in an old t-shirt to soak up the excess water, and then use some curl defining foams or creams to your hair and leave that seep in, the end results will be far more bouncy and curly. 

That being said, you cannot use a diffuser on dry hair, so you have to hit that sweet spot and have damp or towel-dried hair.

How Long does it take to Diffuse Curly Hair?

Many curly haired users recommend waiting about 30 minutes to an hour for your curls to form and set after you have applied your curling hair products, before starting to diffuse the hair. 

Then, it should take about 30-45 minutes to completely diffuse the hair depending on how thick your curls are. You should diffuse the hair until it is about 80% dry and then leave it to air dry for the remainder of the time. 

Related: Why Is My Hair Curly Underneath But Straight On Top


To summarize, a diffuser is an attachment that fits onto a hair dryer to evenly distribute air throughout your curls and make them appear bouncier, healthier and more voluminous. With this guide, you can have perfectly defined curls in just a matter of minutes! 

Last update on 2023-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API