How to Diffuse Wavy Hair

How to diffuse wavy hair

As the Curly Girl Method becomes increasingly popular on the internet, people are becoming more aware of how to properly care for their hair type. According to Google Trends, searches for “diffuse wavy hair” massively spiked last summer, and have remained fairly consistent ever since. 

We are here to answer any questions you may have about diffusers, and to teach you the best way to diffuse your wavy hair.

What is a diffuser?

A diffuser is a large, round, plastic attachment for your hair dryer. It slips over the nozzle end of the dryer and often has some kind of sliding lock mechanism to prevent the diffuser from falling off. 

There are a number of holes in the underside of the diffuser attachment to allow the heated air to escape from the hair dryer. Diffuser attachments also tend to have a number of protruding plastic spikes to help with curl formation during drying. There is a picture of a diffuser below to help clarify this. 

Hair Diffuser

Hairizone Universal Hair Diffuser

Why use a diffuser for wavy hair?

The design of the diffuser attachment helps to spread the airflow from the hair dryer over a much wider area. This helps to control the airflow and to prevent the breeze from damaging the natural curl formation, turning your hair into a frizzy mess. 

How do you use a diffuser?

General tips for when using a diffuser are to set your hairdryer to the lowest settings possible for airflow speed, and to a medium heat setting. This will increase the time that it takes to dry your hair, but the payoff is that your hair will have much less frizz. This is because your hair is less likely to tangle and will stay silky smooth. 

If you like, you can use the highest heat setting for the first 5 minutes of drying time. This can help to seal the cuticle of your hair strands, assisting with the retention of the curl pattern. After this time has passed, you should reduce the temperature. The highest heat setting can cause the diffuser plastic to melt and may also increase the drying time. Regular bursts of cold air helps to reduce the overall temperature of your hair, allowing you to more accurately determine if your hair is dry or not. Alternating between hot and cool air can speed up the drying time overall, and also helps to close the hair cuticles. This means that the curls will hold much better.

Before you begin the drying process, it is advised to apply some kind of curl-defining mousse or gel prior to using the diffuser, as this will support the curl formation. It is then recommended to turn your head upside down and hover the diffuser around your roots to kickstart the drying process. 

Related: How to use Mousse for Wavy Hair

When diffusing your hair, you should start at the ends and work your way upward towards the roots. Turn the hairdryer off before placing the hair in the diffuser, and before removing it. Use the hairdryer in 10 to 20 second bursts for each section, before moving on to the next one. 

Grab a small section of your hair and scrunch it to form curls. Place this onto the diffuser and lift the diffuser attachment towards your scalp as the hair begins to dry. You should not ever invert the diffuser, rather you should move your head to the diffuser. This prevents the diffuser attachment from falling off and will help to keep a stable airflow. 

Some people prefer to use a method known as plopping. This is when you turn your head towards the ground so that your hair falls naturally. With the hairdryer switched on, move the diffuser bowl upward into your hair, towards your scalp. This is believed to increase the level of bounce that your hair has. 

You can also use the diffuser to massage the roots of your hair for extra volume. 

How to diffuse wavy hair
How to diffuse wavy hair

Top tips for perfect hair

We recommend using a wide toothed comb in the shower to detangle your hair once it has been washed and conditioned. Doing this while your hair is wet reduces the risk of your hair becoming frizzy and untameable. It is a good idea to start at the ends of your hair and work up towards the roots. This will reduce the chances of your hair snapping, and helps to promote the formation of your natural curl pattern.

We do not advise using a bath towel to dry your hair, dispute what movies may suggest. The fibers of towels are too rough for your delicate hair cells and using a towel to scrunch is very abrasive. Instead, opt to use a cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel to soak up some of  the excess moisture from your hair. These are much more gentle materials and will again decrease the frizz and damage to your hair. 

It is advisable to apply some kind of heat protective spray to your hair before using a hairdryer. This is done for a multitude of reasons. The spray helps to seal the cuticle further, and creates a kind of protective barrier between the heated air and your hair. It also serves to reduce the level of frizz in your hair, making it look smoother and feel softer. 

We recommend only using the hair dryer to dry your hair about 80% of the way there. Allowing the last 20% of your hair to dry naturally will add some hydration and bounce to the finished style. 

It is often a good idea to flip your head forward so that your hair is hanging freely and you can diffuse from the bottom up. This increases the bounce and volume of your curls, and allows the heated air to flow freely throughout your hair. It is vital to keep the hair dryer moving around your hair as opposed to holding it in a static position. Every time you move the hairdryer, lower it a little and allow the curls to fall naturally into the diffuser. 

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