Giving myself a great blowout is one of my least favorite "beauty chores." Since I have so much hair (that also happens to be coarse, color-treated, and wavy), in order for it to look sleek and swingy, it requires a lot of time. I've tried using short-cuts, like doing a rough dry followed by a flat-iron, which gives my hair a sleek and straight look, but the only way to achieve a swingy blowout is with a blow dryer and round brush.
The plus side is that, with all the time I've spent on it, I've perfected my technique. As much as I love getting my hair done, I have yet to find a place in L.A. that gives me a better blowout, or at least one that justifies the cost, time, and effort of getting it done professionally. While the initial time commitment is significant, I'm able to maintain my blowout for up to a week with the help of dry shampoo. Here's how I achieve the perfect blowout:
1. The first thing I do after washing my hair is wrap it in a towel to remove any excess water. I usually use Aquis hair towels because they're easy to secure and move around in, and reduce frizz, but any towel will work. Once the excess water is removed, I'm able to secure it in a messy high bun for several minutes before blow drying it (you may need to start blow-drying your hair immediately if it dries quickly!).
2. Before I start blow-drying my hair, I add two products to it, working each through my hair with my fingers, from roots to the ends. I use a dime-sized portion of each Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil, which offers heat protectant as well as frizz control, and then R+Co Park Ave Blow Out Balm, which smooths the hair and adds body (not to mention, smells fantastic).
3. Next, I use a fine-toothed comb to make a part, and divide my hair into three equal sections. I pull most of my hair on each side of my head into side buns secured with a ponytail holder (Princess Leia-style), and separate a third portion of hair in the back, at the nape of my neck, brushing each with a detangling paddle brush as I go.
4. Once the buns are secured (but the back section is still loose), I use a blow dryer with a concentrator nozzle attached to rough dry the hair in the back for about 15 to 20 seconds, until 75% dry. I used to go straight to drying the hair with a round brush, but I found that rough-drying it (in sections and not all at once) cuts down on the drying time without affecting the finished look, which is important when the process takes up to an hour. Every second helps!
5. Once the back section of hair is roughly dry, I use a round brush to grab a two-inch section of the hair and wrap it around the brush. Then I take the blow dryer with the nozzle attachment and place the nozzle directly on the hair. Hit the roots with the blow dryer while wrapping and re-wrapping it around the brush. You want to loop the brush in circles as you go so that the hair curls around itself, and all the hot hair is curled in and around the brush. This takes some practice because you're basically constantly moving. One important thing to keep in mind is that when you're pulling the brush away, you want to apply tension so that the hair between the brush and your scalp is straight. This tension will ensure that the hair isn't fluffy on top and that the emphasis is on the swingy ends. Repeat this process until the hair is bone-dry and it has nice movement and a little bit of bend at the bottom. The amount of hair you have and the texture of it will determine how many times you have to re-wrap it around the round brush. I have coarse color-treated hair that's wavy and really thick, so I have to go over it several times.
6. While the hair is still piping-hot, curl it a little bit more. Wrap it around your finger and hold for several seconds. I've found that the more you fuss with it, the better it turns out. When you release it, it should stay in a loose roll curl that will fall out to a swing soon after. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you've completed the back portion of side.
7. Take one of the side buns out and gather another two-inch section of hair. It's important to take it out in two-inch sections, since this creates a swingy effect. Just be careful that when you take out a new wet section of hair, you keep it away from the other hair since you don't want to get that wet. Then I rough dry it again and repeat the process I did to the hair in the back, winding it around the round brush and drying it from the roots to the ends. During this process, some hair will fly out, but just keep looping it around the brush to secure it as much as possible. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you've worked your way through one entire side bun, with the exception of a two-inch section in the very front.
8. To dry the front two-inch section, use the round brush, then at the very end, instead of wrapping it around your finger in a coil, use a large velcro roller to roll it up and secure it at the top of your head. While I like the rest of my hair to be sleek and smooth with a little bounce to it, I prefer for the front to be face framing, which the roller helps achieve. While I don't blow dry it after putting it up, you can also hit it with a blow dryer to heat set it.
9. While keeping the front section of hair rolled at the front, repeat the entire process on the opposite side bun.
10. If anything is looking a little sad and in need of a little more bounce once you've blow-dried all of your hair, simply grab the section again with the round brush and go back over it. You don't need to do the whole thing over again, but focus on the ends that need it and go over the bottom to retrain the hair.
11. Once finished, I apply some more Oribe oil to the ends with my fingers, making sure it coats the hair all the way down and that's it! Go out and show the world your swingy blow out!