A diffuser is the one of the most important hair tools a curly girl can own. Without one, a standard blow dryer can create frizz and disturb the curl pattern. However, even with a diffuser there is a right and a wrong way to use it. Here’s how to properly use one, tips to get volume and the things you shouldn’t do.
Why Should You Use a Diffuser?
A diffuser attachment is designed for waves and curls to disperse the airflow of a blow dryer. It’s used to dry curly hair gently while reducing frizz. It also keep the curl pattern in tact, and creates volume.
What Type of Diffuser Should You Use?
At one point in time there was one standard diffuser that almost every curly girl had but times have evolved and there are several options now.
This popular diffuser style fits on most blow dryers, is lightweight and offers a secure fit. Our previously recommended Hare Ware Styling Finger Diffuser has been a popular choice for curlies for years, but it seems to be out of stock now – this model by Diane is a very similar design.
DevaCurl created this innovative hand shaped diffuser which provides 360-degree airflow to dry the hair and roots gently. The hand shape also cradles the hair to add volume and many curlies swear by it, but some find the hand shape to be a bit unwieldy to hold. It works best with hair dryers that are on the smaller side.
A collapsible diffuser attachment is key when traveling and for those low on storage space. The silicone structure is designed to shrink and stretch over most hair dryers. Its collapsed accordion form fits easily into drawers and bags.
What Settings Should You Diffuse With?
The proper heat and air settings can make or break your beautiful curls, so play it safe! Use the low or medium switch for the heat and air settings. It may take longer than you’d like but the lower settings will help prevent frizz and make sure your hair doesn’t dry out.
Most blow dryers have a cool burst setting which is great to use towards the end to ensure that the curls are set and dry.
How to Use the Diffuser Properly
After completing the wash cycle and adding your favorite styler, part hair in the direction that you’d like it to dry. Some might argue that you should start diffusing right away but letting the hair air dry about 40-50% before diffusing helps cut down on blow drying time.
Tilt head to one side and place large sections over the diffuser attachment. Dry on low or medium heat and air settings and cup up towards the scalp. Hold the position up for 10-20 seconds, then move onto a new section. Repeat this process on one side then tilt head to the other side and continue. Diffuse until the hair is 80% dry and air dry for the remaining time.
How to Get Volume With a Diffuser
Additionally, certain styling products, tools and techniques can help maximize volume when using a diffuser. A mousse is designed to add volume on its own so with the use of a diffuser, it will create even more volume. Duckbill clips placed at the root prior to drying can also add lift in the areas that normally lay flat. Drying the hair while it’s flipped upside down is the easiest way to create major volume.
How to Avoid Frizz with a Diffuser
- Avoid using your hands while diffusing
- Don’t use high heat and high air settings
- Don’t dry the hair 100% with a diffuser
- Avoid fluffing any other areas outside of the root
Do you diffuse your waves, curls or coils? Share your top tips with the NaturallyCurly community down below in the comments.
This article has been updated with additional resources.