Beauty

How I Blow Dry and Curl My Hair

After years of dealing with my hair, I finally know how to do it myself. I actually prefer doing my own hair now versus going to get it done somewhere else. (Although, I do love it when I have my hair washed!)

Here’s a little backstory on my hair:

– I was born bald. And remained bald for, like, two years.

– Then the curls came in, and it was cute as far as toddler’s hair goes.

– Around kindergarten, my mom decided to cut bangs. With curly hair. WHY!!!

– Eventually, I cut my hair into a bob (all the rage at my elementary school) and it was strangely straight.

– Then it was back to frizz-city in middle school when I grew my hair out.

– I got a Chi flatiron in eighth grade, and that changed my life. It was stick straight hair from then on– until it rained of course. The Chi stage of my life was a solid decade (13-23).

– When I lived in NYC, I splurged on the Drybar Curling Iron (it was a birthday gift to myself!), and I finally started to experiment with hair curling. I loved it!

– Last year, I got my hair blown out at Drybar, and the lady doing it gave me some great tips on how to do it at home. And I was gifted Ali Webb’s book Good Hair for All. With the tips from the blowout and the book, I was committed to learning how to dry my hair on my own. It took some practice, but I finally got the hang of it.

I know it sounds dramatic, but I spend a good bit of my life dealing with and worrying about my hair. I schedule my life around my “hair wash” days. (I wish this wasn’t the case and I know it sounds pretty lame even to admit.) Knowing that I can dry my hair on my own in under 15 minutes gives me back a lot more control over my hair situation and ultimately my morning. I can be 100% ready (shower, hair, makeup, and dressed) in exactly an hour*.

* This is on a hair wash day where I have to be “photo ready” for the blog, which is only about three times a week. Most days just involve a shower and makeup, and I can be ready in 20 and less on no makeup days.

This has been a long overdue post. I kept putting it off for some reason, but it’s here!!! It’s a question I get a lot. Let me be the first to tell you, if I can do this, you can do it. I used to be so intimidated by a round brush! Now I tackle my hair every morning with ease.

First, I’m still going to recommend reading the Drybar book. I can’t begin to tell you how helpful I found it. It’s a great first step before watching Youtube videos because the steps are so clearly photographed and described, and you can pick different types of blowouts too.

While I don’t think you have to spend hundreds of dollars on a blow dryer, I do believe you get what you pay for regarding power and durability. I bought this one last year when my old dryer died. It’s served me quite well since I bought it. I would buy again and recommend it!

I bought this wand on Amazon and it’s been amazing for getting good curls and waves. I love my Drybar curling iron still, but a wand gives you more control. I think I’m getting myself this wand for the holidays though because I want to try a bigger barrel.

How I Do My Hair

(Wearing my fave Lake Pajamas c/o)

Instead of attempting to write out the steps of the blowout, I filmed a video last week to walk you through the steps of how I do it. I also included how I curl my hair in there as well since that’s what I do more often than not.

Do you guys style your hair at home?! Any tips or tricks you swear by?

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26 Comments

Jennifer

That’s great to read, I can totally relate.
Except the part of being born bald (I was born with a hairsytle right away) I have a very similar hair story. I also have frizzy hair and had bangs until I was 13 or so. It was awful, so I decided to let it grow. My life changed when first a hairdresser used a flatiron and when I finally had my own. Don’t use it everyday, but can’t live without. Now I’m also able to use a curling iron.
AND I also schedule my life around hair wash days ;-D So it was fun to read your post 🙂
Greetings from Germany!
Jennifer

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Taylor

Love this video! I went to the DryBar over the summer hoping to learn how to do my hair better at home and I absolutely agree that its helpful to have the book. I have still been to intimidated (an impatient) to try it myself but now I definitely will!

Taylor | http://www.livingtaylored.com

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Nina Kegelmeyer

What hair products do you prefer? I assume you probably use a heat protectant? I love Bumble “All Style” because it helps protect against heat damage and prolong my style by absorbing oils without getting a ‘gritty’ or ‘crunchy’ texture. Always looking for new products though!

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Jessica

Really enjoyed watching this video, I usually style my hair at home too!! Please, make a skincare morning routine video, I’d love to watch it too!

xoxo

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Paula

I love this post. My sis is a natural at hair/ makeup and I unfortunately am not lol. This tutorial is exactly what I need!

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Sarah

Hi Carly,

I have similar hair to yours – curls as a toddler, then straight, then loose, frizzy curls since puberty – and I struggled with my hair for YEARS. I also got my first straightener in 8th grade and it changed my life. I would never dream of going anywhere where I wanted to look “presentable” without straightening my hair. I also scheduled my life around hair styling, and my mood was often directly related to how my hair looked that day. I think many of us have internalized this notion that curly, frizzy hair is inherently messy and unpresentable.

However, I’ve had a major change of mindset in the past year (maybe it’s because I’m getting older and more confident, or maybe I was just watching too much early Sex & The City??) and have started trying to embrace my curly, frizzy hair. I got a good haircut that works with my curls and experimented with different ways of styling it. My hair grows out of my head in this way, and at 27, I’m tired of fighting it!

I think your styled hair looks beautiful and I appreciate you sharing these tips! But I just thought I’d give us curly girls some food for thought – what is really motivating us to straighten/style our hair? Is it simply because we like how it looks straight/styled (which is totally valid), or is it because we feel that our natural hair is unacceptable in some way? I think mainstream notions of what looks “professional” really influence these negative attitudes towards curls, especially frizzy curls.

This is not meant as a critique at all, just a conversation starter 🙂 I feel ya on your hair struggles, but I’m curious if other readers may have hit a turning point like I did!

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carly

I actually find that it takes me longer to get my natural curls to look good than just drying/curling. My hair does not dry well naturally– I end up having to deal with tons of product + the drying time (diffusing takes forever), etc.

I also just don’t prefer my hair to be naturally curly because I can’t touch it throughout the day and it doesn’t look “done” or presentable. (Feels like showing up in yoga clothes instead of a business suit haha)

If I’m in a relaxed environment (vacation, at home, simple weekend errands), then I don’t worry about it as much!

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Aoife Laughlin

I totally agree, my hair takes so long to dry naturally that I would end up going to work with wet hair, which I just don’t feel is professional. It looks like you overslept and didn’t have time to get ready!

I also struggle with scheduling my life around washing, drying, and curling my nightmare frizzy hair. It’s SO frustrating having to shower after a workout everyday, because that means that EVERY day has to be a hair wash day!! Any tips on dealing with your hair after your workouts now that you’ve been going to the gym so often for the past few months? I end up not bothering with my hair most of the time and just having to deal with a SUPER frizzy bun to tame things for work.

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Lauren

as soon as i put a ponytail ring in my hair after i dry it, i get the dreaded ponytail bump!! how do you avoid this?!?

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carly

I get it too but it’s always in the sections that don’t get seen… and I know I’m going to “style” it away with a curling iron.

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Emily

Carly, it is not at all lame that you plan your life around “hair wash days!” I do the exact same thing! Worse, the time of day I workout is also dependent on if my hair is being washed or not! So silly, but so real!

Emily

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Evelyn

I have extremely dark, curly hair like you and was bald until I was two too! My mom would smack my hand for taking my bows out because she didn’t want people to think I was a boy! Thanks for sharing this- super helpful for me because it seems our hair type is exactly the same!

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Julia

I feel your pain! I have super curly/frizzy hair so I spent most of high school and college years straightening my hair. Now I’m more into wearing my hair curly and have figured out a fairly good routine but I could always do a better job blow drying/flattening my hair then a salon.

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Katie

Wow! This is the perfect video! The way you showed how to brake your hair into sections has been mind blowing. In the past year I have begun to be a regular reader of your blog and I admire how down to earth you seem. Thanks for all the great content!

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Dana

Love this! I actually live at Drybar – I go every five days almost because I just DO NOT know how to blowdry my own hair. And I just thoroughly enough having someone else wash my hair…but I do love this tutorial!

Pink Champagne Problems

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Elizabeth

H! What product do you use before blow drying- like to tame frizziness, etc? It looks so smooth after drying that I was wondering if you have any favorite pre-blow-out products (besides heat protector)…

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Kristina

I would love to know as well! I use the Tigi Bed Head After Party smoothing cream (which I love) but I would definitely give another product a try to see if the smoothing effect lasts longer! I tried the MoroccanOil hair oil and hated it.

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Kristina

My hair is naturally wavy/frizzy if I let it air dry so I pretty much always blow dry it with a round brush. It was pretty intimidating at first but now that I have practiced, I am super fast and good at it. And it looks so much better than my old random blow dry + hair straightener routine. I use the ‘it’s a 10’ heat protectant and really like it.

As for curls…I bought a curling iron recently on Amazon but I have yet to try it. I am so intimated on how and where to start haha. Any tips? Should I invest in the DryBar book for curling hair or just practice with a YouTube video?

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amanda

You should check out the Sarah Potempa beach waver curling wand. It is GAME. CHANGER. I have been using it for years and all of my friends are hooked.

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Chelsea

I LOVE the Dry Bar book! I recently checked it out at my library (so I would know if it was worth the money before committing to buying it) and even I, a total hair novice, was able to recreate a few of the looks on my first try. Funnily enough I would have never heard of Dry Bar if I hadn’t read about it on your blog, so thank you for talking about them all those years ago!

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