Majoring in Curls
Email your questions to Aimee.

Has anyone ever told you that they thought it smelled like fall? I can always sense the season changing, and I love the scent of crisp leaves, bonfires and apples.But one thing I don’t appreciate about this time of year is the rapid change in temperature, and the effect the colder, dryer air has on my hair.In the colder weather, my hair gets flatter, I go through more conditioner, and it takes so much longer for my curls to dry. Sometimes it seems like they hold onto water until mid-day. I’ve always been slightly jealous of those girls I see in my 9 a.m. classes who have straight hair that’s soft and dry. They don’t have to worry all day long about not touching their hair and creating frizz. It’s just another one of those curses us curly girls have to deal with.After years of working with my curls and figuring out the best routine, I’ve discovered that it takes a good three to fours hours for my hair to fully air dry. I haven’t had to rely on alternate methods of drying because of my hair length, which I love. I just throw mousse in it and give it a couple of shakes upside down. I call it the curly-hair version of the “bend and snap" of "Legally Blonde" fame. But I can’t even imagine how hard it is for you girls with gorgeous long, curly tresses.Now I’m not a huge fan of frying your hair every morning with a blow-dryer, but for those of you who really can’t stand arriving at class with curlsicles dangling, there are some more curl-friendly drying options. For those of you who can pull off second-day hair, I commend and praise you. I wasn’t blessed with the hair or the skill to do this. I would adore not having to shower in the morning and being able to add another half hour of sleep.So if you’re using a blow-dryer, never use it alone. Diffusers are a curl’s best friend. Diffusers are those big plastic bowls with little fingers sticking out of them that pop right onto the end of your dryer. They look crazy, but work miracles. Instead of having a direct stream of hot air blasting out, diffusers do what they sound like -- diffuse the air into a larger space and save your curls!

There are a few different techniques that I’ve found work well when it comes to the diffuser. My personal favorite is the upside down one. This is the only way I’ve been able to get enough volume while also drying the roots well. Just toss your head upside down and use the diffuser to push the curls in their natural pattern. Sitting is helpful when you do this because sometimes it takes more than a few minutes to do and your legs get tired.Some people also tip their heads to the side and diffuse this way because you can get a better view in the mirror of what you’re doing. If you’re not a fan of that crazy head rush version, and want a little more of a natural, finger-fluffed look, you can try the version I learned from a stylist in London. He showed me how to hold the dryer in one hand and use the other hand to reach over your head and pull up the other side of curls while diffusing. Don’t just reach one arm across your face. You have to actually pull up the curls from the top so the opposite hand acts like the fingers on the real diffuser. Just be careful not to shift the fingers too much or you’ll end up with a lot of frizz.As a final word of warning, diffusing and blow-drying your curls will give you a different look. When I diffuse my curls, they get very small and tight as opposed to the natural looser look I get when I air-dry. It’s the same idea as using different products and getting different results. So please don’t wander across campus with freezing hair because I don’t want anyone to get sick on account of her hair!