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The Curly Girl's Guide To Drying Hair The Right Way

photo of woman with curly hair drying hair

If you were to ask any curly girl about her hair care routine, she would probably rattle off 15 different products and techniques for cleansing, treating, and styling her hair. While all of those things are critical in making sure you’re properly caring for your curls, there’s one crucial step that’s missing: drying your curls.

While twisting all of your hair into a towel on top of your head might have been your go-to method back in middle school, it’s time for a serious upgrade. Even though hair drying techniques are not as frequently talked about as cleansing and styling, learning how to dry curly hair can have a huge effect on the way your ringlets look and feel. We’re breaking down the five best ways to dry your hair the right way.

Air Dry

This method is self explanatory. All you have to do is allow the air to dry your hair in its own time. Depending on the thickness and density of your hair, air drying your locks can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. While air drying definitely the easiest way to dry your hair, it comes with a few setbacks.

Air drying your hair means that for at least some of the drying process, you’re walking around with sopping wet hair. To ensure your wet strands don’t ruin our outfit or your makeup, gently squeeze any excess water from your locks after you apply your hair products.

Pro tip: Clip your curls at the roots to create volume. When your air dry your curls they tend to lay flat against your head, making it nearly impossible for your style to have any volume. If you want to ensure your final look has some height, use double prong hair clips to clip up sections of your hair at the roots.


This is one of the quickest ways to dry your curls. For this method, all you need is a blow dryer and a diffuser attachment. Many stylists suggest beginning at your ends and working your way up to your roots. If you’re hoping for a final look with lots of volume, flip your head over and diffuse your hair upside down. When you flip your head back over, you’ll be left with sky-high hair.

As with any hot tool, be sure to dry your hair on a low or medium setting and prime your hair with a heat protectant.


Plopping is a great method for people who don’t want to use heat on their curls, but aren’t exactly thrilled about walking around with soaking wet hair. For this method, all you need is a long sleeve t-shirt and a hair elastic. Lay a t-shirt flat on a flat surface, flip your head over and place your curls on the shirt. Cover your strands with the t-shirt, fold the sleeves over and tie them around your head to secure it. Allow your hair to dry for at least 10 minutes before removing the t-shirt.

While plopping is very similar to the twisty-towel method, the difference in materials used makes a huge difference. Towels are pretty heavy when they’re soaking wet and balancing on top of your head. The weight of the towel can put unnecessary stress on your strands. T-shirts are much lighter in comparison, so you don’t have to worry about it weighing down your locks.

Hooded Dryer

Diffusing is a quick and easy way to dry your curls, but sometimes holding your arms up for that long can get seriously exhausting. If you want to take a much more relaxed approach to drying your hair, we suggest investing in a hooded dryer. Just like the hooded dryers at your hair salon, all you’ll have to do is turn it on, sit underneath it, and wait for your hair to dry.

Be sure to use low or medium heat settings and prime your hair with a heat protectant.


Every curly girl knows the blessing and the curse that is hair shrinkage. In the short time it takes your hair to dry, your curls can shrink up from the middle of your back up to the nape of your neck. While shrinkage makes every curly girl somewhat of a mane magician, sometimes it is nice to be able to play with and style your hair at its true length. The stretching method allows you to dry your hair in its longest state.

There are several ways to accomplish this, but the most common way to stretch your curls while maintaining some of your curl pattern is through two strand twists. Create two strand twists all over your head and allow your hair to completely dry before unraveling the twists.