How to best dry curly hair: To blow-dry or to air-dry?

Hi curlies! In today’s post I want to show you how different my curls look after blow-drying and after air-drying them. If you’re frequently reading my blog you already know whether I prefer to blow- or to air-dry my curls. Let me tell you why I choose one over the other!

The above pictures show how differently my curls look after blow-drying and after letting them air-dry (roll your mouse over each picture to see whether I blow- or air-dried my curls). Which ones do you like better?

I’ve already decided how I like my curls better – to cut a long story short: I absolutely love to blow-dry my curls, this is why:

  • Air-drying my curls takes about 3-4 hours (seriously!), blow-drying only 15 minutes
  • I love voluminous curls, the only way to get them to be as voluminous as I like them to look is by blow-drying them
  • Blow-drying my curls gets my curls to be curlier, which I love (yes, if I were able to choose my curl pattern I’d at least go for a 3b)
My curls from the side after blow-drying them

Blow-drying gets me much more volume without causing frizz!

However, just because I like to blow-dry my curl doesn’t mean it’s also the best way for your to dry your curls!

Consider air-drying your curls, if:
  • your curls are already damaged (e.g. using a lot of heat like straightening them) as the blow-dryer’s additional heat might keep your curls from getting healthier. Having damaged hair most often also means having to battle frizz!
  • you’d like your curls to be less curly
  • you’re struggling with having a lot of frizz. Diffusing your curls might cause them to be frizzier than they actually are when air-dried. In case this is the only reason why you’re air-dring your curls read the below listed tips to reduce frizz when blow-drying curly hair

If you choose to let your curls air-dry I still suggest you to scrunch your curls with your bare hands after adding styler and to plop afterwards.

No matter how you choose to dry your curls, it’s best to get them as dry as possible before blow- or air-drying them. To reduce frizz, keep in mind to not touch your curls at all while they’re still wet!

How to reduce frizz when blow-drying curly hair:
  • Make sure your curls are as dry as possible before you start blow-drying them (I first scrunch them with my bare hands, then I plop and finally I scrunch them with an old t-shirt to get rid of excess moisture)
  • Only blow-dry your curls with a diffusor attached to it
  • Turn off your your blow-dryer whenever you’re moving it
  • Stop blow-drying your curls when they’re about 90% dry
  • Use a styler leaving you with a gel-cast (scrunch it out after your curls are completely dry)


  • Terri Ann
    March 26, 2015

    I can’t believe how much of a difference blow drying my curls has made for the shape of the individual curls. I also feel like blow drying makes them look more intentional and professional for the office. That and not showing up with we hair makes me look less like a rag-a-muffin 🙂

    Thanks for sharing the difference pictures; it’s so helpful to see them!

    • Sandra
      March 26, 2015

      Thanks! I was pretty surprised when I saw the huge difference between the pictures 🙂

  • Ty
    March 31, 2015

    I used to be super anti-blow dry. I only started blow drying my hair within the last 2 years and wow, what a difference! My hair is also so much more defined and voluminous. I recently tried to switch back to air drying just to see the difference too and it was very lackluster. Never forgoing my diffuser again!

    • Sandra
      April 1, 2015

      thanks for sharing your comment – it made me smile, because you could as well be describing my story of diffusing vs. air-drying 🙂

  • curlzandwhirlz
    April 1, 2015

    I’m so glad I found your website! I have pretty much the exact same curl pattern. I diffuse my hair when I want it to dry quickly, but I do notice my curls are more shaped when I do.

    • Sandra
      April 1, 2015

      thanks for sharing your thoughts, I’m happy to hear you like my blog!

  • rajani
    April 2, 2015


    according CGM we shoudnt use heat right??!! how come ur using dan…. hair may suffer damage problem ?? how u manage it

    lovely curlz 🙂

    • Sandra
      April 2, 2015

      Hi Rajani and thank you! I know it’d be better for my curls’ “health” to not diffuse them at all, however I really don’t like the way my curls look after air-drying. Also I only blow-dry on medium heat to minimizes the chances of heat damage.

      Except from diffusing and coloring my hair I try to give them a proper care, I think that’s why they’re not suffering too much!

      • rajani
        May 25, 2015

        :* awwwwe u replied 🙂
        Even i have diffuser got it as gift for my bdy 🙂 bt little scared to use it …
        i wish u start a you tube channel .. love to watch u 🙂
        i m from india here v dont get da product which u mentioned r u use, there iz no shampoo/conditioner which mentioned on da bottle saying for curly hair ( wired for u .. bt itz da fact in india ) v dont hv such category hr … u can c many curlyz bt v dont hv products 🙁
        importing from amazon n curl mart vl turns expensive
        so some how m managing by using ENLIVEN condtioner Giovanni tea tree one

        :* in love with ur culrz

  • Tierra
    August 26, 2015

    Love the way your curls look after blow-drying! Just a quick question–you said that you use a styler to give you gel-cast when you’re blow-drying. Do you put the styler in before or after you dry them??

  • Allison
    March 7, 2017

    I have been using the karmin and works really well for my hair 🙂

  • Gabby
    July 17, 2017

    I can’t believe the difference! Do you mind telling me what I should look for in a blow dryer for curly hair? My curly pattern is quite similar to yours. I’m currently using a Conair Infiniti Pro Dryer with the diffuser it came with, but I feel like my hair just isn’t coming dry even after over 20 minutes; this includes after plopping for 20 minutes. Can you please give me a recommendation on blow dryer/diffuser and/or techniques to blow dry quicker?

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