In a world of silky professional blowouts, it's tough to be the girl with bedhead.
Whether you're sitting at work or grabbing a latte, it's annoying to look around and see the identical, beachy waves of women who routinely spend $40 or more — the price of lunch for one week — to get their hair styled.
Luckily, though, your natural hair has the advantage. Because with every round brush raked through strands under the blow dryer's boiling temperatures, women are ruining their hair.
As fashion standards relax, allowing for a certain amount of laid back street style, now is the time to finally ditch your curling wand/hairdryer/iron for good. Aiming for perfection isn't the goal, beautiful individualized expression is.
According to hair professional Paul Labrecque, owner of multiple eponymous salons as well as his own haircare line, air drying your hair saves your shoulder muscles from exhaustion, frees up space in your bathroom cabinets and creates immediately visible, healthier locks.
The reason is this: when you heat strands of hair, they inevitably take a beating.
"With excessive heat you could damage the cuticle of the hair strand, which would take away some of its shine because a closed cuticle will reflect light better," Roxy Brennan, pro stylist for Labrecque's Philadelphia salon, explained.
Of course, we're not advocating showing up to your morning meeting with dripping hair. Instead, learn to approach styling sans the hot tools.
With increased shine, strength and color, your lengths will thank you.
Put your collection of college t-shirts to work.
Here's a cult secret in the curly girl community: Thin, cotton t-shirts give your hair a better dry job than a plush towel ever could. The material soaks up excess moisture without parching strands.
"Brushing your hair prior to washing and not brushing before styling will keep from straightening the hair," Brennan said. "You can go right into the scrunching action with a jersey knit material."
Fresh out of the shower, tip your head over and pile your hair into a flat t-shirt. Then twist the shirt around your head and secure with a hairband while you go about your morning routine.
Eyelashes done, it's time to twirl.
The most important part of making air drying look stylish is understanding the process of training your hair into a pattern, whether it's curly or straight. Using a styling product with hold -- Labrecque loves his own Curly Style Defining Gel and Straight Style Smoothing Balm — apply small amounts throughout the hair.
For an Alexa Chung-style wave, both Labrecque and Brennan recommend twisting pieces of hair in the same direction, giving off an even wave. Once the pieces have dried, break them up with your fingers and lightly coat with a finishing mist.
If you're still not enjoying the way your hair dries, it's time for a more serious step.
Don't be afraid to get your hands oily.
After years of making oils out to be the cardinal sin of hair care, the beauty industry has finally stopped drying out the scalps of women everywhere. If you're seeing frizziness as your thick locks dry, you probably need a little extra help. Choose Argan Oil (or a product like Labrecque's Repair Style Hydrating Hair Lotion) and apply a small amount to the middle and ends of your hair. Add just a touch to any flyaways you see.
However, a relaxed look doesn't fit everyone. If you're still craving a set style, returning to heat isn't the only option.
"By adding a few old-fashioned rollers and washing your hair the night before as opposed to in the morning, [you'll get]an air-dried style a more polished look that's pretty easy to achieve,” Labrecque said. "This does take a little more time, though.”
Bottom line: bare your natural hair.
There's a certain confidence to wearing a hairstyle that's purposefully undone.
Besides, Brennan adds that the idea of being "put together" is only ever in the eye of the beholder. In her eyes, gentle waves are "a style that is simple, sexy, and sophisticated."
Don't get down on yourself for air drying. The idea of a messy 'do is really more word choice than actual appearance.
"There is a fine line between unkempt and natural," she said.