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How to Use a Diffuser on Curly Hair

July 30, 2021

3 Min read

Showing off a head full of glorious curls and natural coils styled to perfection in the comfort of your own bathroom is such a rewarding feeling. Of course, everyone has a different process of getting there. But there is one tool that most of us have in common: the diffuser. So we’re here to share some easy tips and tricks to help you master how to use a diffuser on your curls.

What is a diffuser?

A diffuser is a blow dryer attachment designed to disperse the airflow from the blow dryer and launch it over large areas of the head. For this reason, diffusers are an essential tool for drying curly and coily hair textures as they set curls without disrupting the curl pattern or causing frizz.

1. Start with well conditioned curls

A good hair day starts in the shower, no matter your curl texture. Getting the right amount of hydration in your hair from shampoo to product layering is essential. You may be wondering if a heat-protectant is needed when diffusing, but the answer is mostly no—it just depends on how you use your diffuser. Diffusers don’t typically cause heat damage because, unlike other dryer attachments, diffusers disperse airflow across a large area of hair versus concentrating on one place. However, if you’re using a high heat setting, heat damage is always possible. So keeping the dryer on the lowest setting is best.

2. Don’t diffuse with soaking wet hair

Curly hair responds best when leave-ins and stylers are applied to soaking wet hair. However, diffusing soaking wet curls can take forever to dry. Not to mention, adding any form of heat, even on the lowest setting, can potentially dry out your newly hydrated curls. So before diffusing, soak up excess water with a microfiber towel or turban as they are made to absorb moisture without disrupting the hair cuticle. 

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3. Apply low heat

You may be tempted to crank up the heat on your dryer, especially if you’re in a rush, but we want to discourage you from taking that route. Instead, apply low heat on the lowest speed setting to set curls and keep the hair cuticle smooth because too much air can move the hair around and cause—you guessed it—unwanted frizz.

4. Hone your technique

Depending on your hair’s length and texture, formatting a technique that works best for you is the key. For example, curly hair textures respond well to scrunching the diffuser up to the scalp like an accordion. However, for coily hair textures, this method can cause unwanted shrinkage and frizz. To prevent both of these issues in coiler hair textures, hold the diffuser away from the hair to set the curls. In addition to the tips mentioned, the one piece of advice that will work for any hair type is keeping the diffuser steady. Moving the diffuser around too much can make your drying process take longer and cause unwanted frizz.

5. Don’t touch your curls

Resisting the temptation to touch your curls as you style, we know, is difficult, but it’s essential for maintaining frizz-free curls. If you find your hair could use some volume, diffuse your hair upward. Then follow-up with fluffing from the roots after your hair is completely dry.


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Bianca Lambert is a freelance journalist. She covers beauty, travel, and culture. Bianca regularly contributes to Byrdie, HuffPost, The Everygirl, and more.