Beauty & the Brush: The perfect do-it-yourself blow dry

Published: November 12, 2010
If you have a fringe, blow dry it first and keep the hair dryer on a medium setting. PHOTO: FILE

If you have a fringe, blow dry it first and keep the hair dryer on a medium setting. PHOTO: FILE

If you have a fringe, blow dry it first and keep the hair dryer on a medium setting. PHOTO: FILE Maria Saadat is a freelance writer based in Washington, DC. She is the author of the popular desi beauty site Lipstick Masala -

Giddy – that’s how you feel after leaving a salon with your hair blown out. You know what we’re raving about. We love it so much that we consider having our hair pampered after every wash. But lack of time and money prevent us from doing so.

Furthermore, salons use heavy duty hair dryers, which means higher, harsher doses of heat and strand breakage in the long run. So no, we’ll stick to an expert blowout for special occasions and lazy days only. For now, here are a few tips that will help achieve a similar style while protecting your precious mane.

Young women make the common mistake of blow drying soaking wet hair. This means applying heat for longer periods of time, which can be incredibly damaging. After stepping out of the shower, gently squeeze out excess water and enfold your hair into a turban. After a few minutes, unwrap your hair and allow it to air dry until it’s just slightly damp.

The next step is to prep. Control damage by using a protective serum or a balm that will coat your strands and help prevent heat from penetrating and frying them dry. If you have fine hair, invest in light gels and mousses to prevent weighing down your hair. Women with medium to thick hair should use heavier products to tame their tresses.

Then, make headway for an appropriate brush; most Pakistani salons tend to use round brushes, but these are used to create volume and texture. If you’re aiming for a straight and smooth result, try out a wide paddle brush. You’ll be surprised at how much faster it works because of the wide surface of the brush.

Be sure to tackle the fringe first, it’s shocking how fast it dries. Next, partition the rest of your tresses and pin into small sections. To avoid harming your hair cuticles, hold the nozzle of the hair dryer ten inches away from your head. Begin with the hair closest to the nape of your neck and work your way up. If you’re not convinced a particular section is completely dry, then work it with the cool setting on your dryer and finger test it. You’ll be able to discern if the hair is in fact done, or if it simply felt that way due to the heat.

You may feel inclined to turn your dryer up to the highest temperature, but it’s best to choose a medium setting – it will get the same results and will cause less frizz and damage your hair over time. While styling, always direct the airflow from your roots to your ends, not the other way around. Stand with your hair dryer hand above your head slanting downward. It may tire out your arms, but it will produce a sleeker look.

Once all the sections are complete, switch on your dryer with the cool setting and run it over your hair to set your coif and reduce any fly-aways. For a finishing touch, use a few drops of serum or oil to lock in shine and keep your style from falling flat. Just be sure to avoid applying product above the ears near your scalp, or your ‘hair-do’ will turn greasy faster than you can flip your hair.

Maria Saadat is author of the popular desi beauty site Lipstick Masala.


Do you have a question about make-up? Can’t figure out a hairstyle for an upcoming wedding? Do your attempts at smoky eye make-up leave you looking like a raccoon? Have no fear! E-mail your questions and issues to and Maria Saadat will respond to them in an upcoming column.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2010.

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