6 Tricks for Gorgeous Air-Dried Hair

By Cristina Mueller, REDBOOK

The best thing about summer? Letting yourself go. Try these simple styling tips for frizz-free air dried hair.

1. Toss the Hair Tie: Whether you're off to the a dinner party or just the backyard, let your hair down for a breezy, just-been-to-the-beach look (even if you're nowhere near the ocean!).

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2. Sleep on It: At last, a use for those ancient tees stuffed in the back of your drawer: supersoft rollers. "In French, it's called en papillote, and it gives you loose curls overnight," says stylist Ward Stegerhoek. To get romantic ringlets, shower at night and rake a mousse (he likes Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse, $26) through damp hair. Cut a T-shirt into 6x1-inch strips, double them up, and wind big sections of hair around them. Roll each one up like a curler, tie the ends in a knot, and hit the sack. (We tried! It's comfy!) In the a.m., untie and tousle.

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3. Loosen Your Braid: The gently mussed side braid has an unfussy edge and works with, not against, the added texture you get from air-drying. First, let hair dry completely. (If you're naturally curly, you won't need to add a thing; if your hair's wavy or straight, build in body and piecey-ness with volumizer.) Create a deep side part by flinging your hair over to one side, then gather all your hair together and braid away. If it looks too schoolgirl-ish, scrunch your fingers into your roots to mess it up a bit and free a few tendrils. Finish with a blast of hairspray.

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4. Try the Bun Trick: For a few happy days of flyaway-free hair, put wet hair into a bun and let it dry: The bun compresses all the cuticles, says Josh. Comb a smoothing cream through wet hair, then coil it up and twist it around itself into a knot. To fix it in place, we love Goody's Spin Pins ($6.29 for two); just screw one in at the top of the bun, one up from the base, and boom-you're done.

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5. Get a Head Start: "To get hair that air-dries perfectly, begin in the shower," says John Frieda stylist Harry Josh. It's all about conditioning, because the healthier your hair is, the smoother and more compliant your cuticles (the "scales" on the hair shaft) will be and the less weirdly it will dry. Do a deep conditioning treatment like Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Treatment, $7.99, every two weeks, and let it sink in for at least 10 minutes. (Hey, you're not blow-drying-you can spend a little extra time in there!) Post-shower, a big dose of leave-in conditioner works wonders for wet curly hair. And for fine hair, says Kattia Solano, the owner of Butterfly Studio in New York City, smooth a bit of oil (she likes Kérastase Elixir Ultime, $50) onto dried ends for extra moisture and shine.

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6. Do Ropy Waves: We got this excellent idea from Solano: When hair is 80 percent dry, scrunch in a salt spray like Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Texturizing Sea Spray, $17.50, from roots to ends. Working in one- to two-inch sections, twirl locks of hair around your finger. If hair is limp, give each section a short burst of hairspray while it's still damp. Then, hands off while it's drying; this prevents frizz. When hair is totally dry, flip your head over and shake it out-you'll stand back up to soft, sexy ripples.


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