Hair Hair Products

Air Drying: Go from floofy + frizzy to relaxed + romantic

Air drying is an art, people.
It’s not simply drying your hair with air. There’s a lot more to it than that! Well, a little more to it anyway. As long as your hair texture isn’t super curly or super straight (basically in the middle somewhere) just a couple of secrets that don’t take any more time at all, will take your air dry from:

Floof City, dry & dull.



Effortlessly Pretty, healthy & shiny. (the richness in color difference really blows my mind too! How is that even possible?! This was only one day later!)



(both came equipped with the goofiest smile ever. No idea why I decided that was my photo face of the day..?)

In the first photo I washed my hair with regular shampoo and conditioner (Totally taking one for the team cause I hate putting lather on my hair!)

I got out of the shower and towel dried my hair, then I brushed through it and played with it here and there as it dried (because that’s what I would do naturally)

So what did I do different in the second photo?

First you need your supplies. I teamed up with Sally Beauty to pick out some great options!


You’ll want:

An old T-shirt

a Wet & Dry Detangling Brush

I used Shea Moisture Cleansing Conditioner (that smells like heaven!) cause of my lather phobias but if you’re more of a shampoo conditioner type use something anti-frizz like Ion Keratin Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner

Ion Smoothing masque

Ion Shine Serum

Starting in the shower wash and condition your hair as normal.

Next apply the smoothing masque and let it sit for a bit.

Using the Wet Brush through and part your hair while the conditioning treatment is still in it.

Rinse your hair gently. Try not to use hot water, that’ll dry your hair out and cause frizz. Go through it one more time with the brush while rinsing, this will be the last time you brush your hair so make sure its tangle free.

Instead of towel drying, gently scrunch out the excess water with a T-shirt.

Next you want to softly work in a quarter size amount of serum focusing on the midshaft to the ends, being careful not to pull or tug your hair at all.

Take note: this next step is absolutely CRUCIAL to the final product of your air dry:

Do not touch your hair again until it is BONE DRY. Let me be clear: your hands should not make contact with your hair again from now until your air dry is 100%complete!

I’ll warn you, the stage riiiight before it’s dry is going to be the hardest. It will look really “wet-dog” and you’re gonna be soooo tempted to just fluff one side or separate one lurpy piece.

Just don’t.

Once that stage passes you’ll be glad you didn’t, cause your hair will shine like the Chrysler building and you’ll be rocking the prettiest air dry known to man and loving those smooth locks.


Love you guys!


Hope you love these tips, if you use them be sure to hash #❤️️yourhair so I can check it out!
And for more hair solutions from Sally Beauty check out their cool matrix:

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 4:32 am

    Oh Cara! This was so helpful! I always air dry but the results are so so frizzy and then I have to tame it down with a sh*t load of products! I think that “not touching till 100% dry” is what I miss! I am going to try to follow the instructions to the T and report back! 🙂


  • Reply
    Kim Cordova
    July 6, 2015 at 5:37 am

    I wish I had time in the morning to do this, but my hair takes FOREVER to dry-even with it being pretty short. Any advice?

    • Reply
      July 6, 2015 at 9:43 am

      I commented below, but try going to bed with it wet! When I drape it over the back of my pillow and let it dry overnight my hair is always super soft, shiny and amazing the next day!
      Not the same at all as when I let it dry when i’m up and about…

      • Reply
        July 6, 2015 at 1:54 pm

        I completely agree with Sara. That’s the only way mine ever looks good air dried. When I wake up sometimes it’s still damp, but dries within an hour or two of being up and about and it so much smoother than when I let it air dry when I’m awake.

      • Reply
        July 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

        I tried it and I guess my hair is too short and/or too curly for that to work.

      • Reply
        July 19, 2015 at 4:25 pm

        I do the same, at night. It tends to be less frizzy than if I do it I the daytime. Hoping this process will solve all the frizz

        • Reply
          July 19, 2015 at 4:27 pm

          Also, I can go 4 days without washing my hair, so it’s not a big deal if I want to wash my hair at 7 or 8pm. (Trying the 5 day hair recipe this week.)

    • Reply
      July 7, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      Can you wash at night? My hair is almost waist length and there’s no way I’m guna blow dry all that! Lol plus I won’t go out in the world with sopping hair so a few years ago I become a night time shower-re and I’ll never go back 🙂

  • Reply
    The Busy Brunette
    July 6, 2015 at 6:31 am

    Hi, Cara!
    I always have TERRIBLE luck when I air-dry my hair. My hair looks similar to yours but definitely does not dry like that. I get waves in all these random places! I always have to blow-dry, but I absolutely hate doing it bc it takes forever. I’m going to try your method, but I have a quick question… can you tie your hair up at all while you wait for it to dry? It will drive me nuts if it’s hanging in my face and I can’t touch it. A lot of times I’ll wash my hair at night and put it in a bun so I can blow-dry it in the morning and it doesn’t take as long.
    Oh, and one more question — if you’re able, could you do a post about hair color for covering gray roots? I do go to a salon but it gets quite expensive. Which drugstore brands are best? Not sure if you know anything about this since your hair doesn’t seem to have grays, but I definitely have a lot!
    Thanks at least for considering!
    Have a good Monday!
    The Busy Brunette

    • Reply
      July 19, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      The Busy Brunette,
      My hair is similar to Cara’s, except I have some gray. For the past 3 years, I have been using Natural Instincts by Clairol. I use the same color as my natural hair, which makes it less obvious as it grows and/or washes out. My stylist says my hair is some of the healthiest she has seen and recommends that I don’t change to a permanent color. It cost approx $7-8 and I do it every 6 weeks or so. This may be because I currently only wash my hair every 4 days. I’m 50yo and my hair has never been easier to care for, healthier, or received more compliments.

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Or, you could wash it, leave it in a towel unitil it’s half dry, then put it in a bun or twist until it’s dry. Then you won’t have to wash again for nearly a week because you don’t have all that gunk in your hair.

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 7:47 am

    I absolutely love these tips! I recently tried a method pretty darn similar to this (it worked because we took a quick road trip for the 4th and the drive time helped me not mess with my hair while driving). I know you teamed up with Sally on this, but wondered if you’ve ever tried Sebastian Potion 9. I used it in high school and recently revisited as a serum. Oh my word!! Love it! Wash with Wen, It’s a 10 after washing, a little Potion 9 on the ends, parted on the side and let dry. Worked like a charm! You were reading my mind with this post! Thank you!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Okay…maybe…but I am a skeptic. Seems like a lot of extra work. Masques are a great pampering tool, but for every day its not practical or necessary. I acheive the same look every day as I let my hair air dry all the time. I have a fair amount of natural curl so it is pretty wavy and has even a few beautiful mid sized spiral curls in it naturally. It is also very thick! It takes me forever to do my hair. Even the simple task of blow drying my hair would take 30 minutes to get it dry to the point where it will hold a style. It is just easier to let it air dry.

    With that said, this seems like a lot of putzing around. Yes, I agree that its best to rinse with warm or cool water, but I can also tell you from experience that if you towel dry your hair and really briskly and abrasively run your towel through your hair it will cause a ton of frizz. Just blot your head and wrap the towel around the hair strands and squeeze the water out helps to keep frizz down to a dull roar as well.

    Finally, I just LOVE, Paul Mitchell’s Skinny Serum. Yes, it is a little bit pricey, but not unaffordable. The bottle lasts a long time as you only need a pump or two to cover the entire head. It works great because it helps dry the hair faster, a serious bonus if you decide to blow dry your hair. It leaves the hair shiny, smooth and frizz free! Much easier than all this messing around.

    So literally, wash, condition, gently towel dry, skinny serum, comb or wet brush, done.No need for a mask or extra wasted time in the shower. Great for an every day routine or every time you clean your hair.

    • Reply
      July 7, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Ya and I do your last paragraph, and mine looks even worse than her top photo. I could deep condition my hair every day, and it would never even get oily and sucks it up every time. Different things work for different people 🙂

  • Reply
    Lauren - émoi émoi
    July 6, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Great tips, thanks! 🙂


  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 9:05 am

    I always air dry put don’t even brush it until it is dry because I feel like I am destroying my hair when brushing it wet. Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Cara, thank you for this post! I will try this weekend! Quick question: why the t-shirt and not a towel?? (I ask because my hair is SO thick it will – no kidding – be hours before its dry without using something that can really suck out the water. An old t-shirt may not do the trick for me.)

    • Reply
      July 7, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      A t-shirt creates less friction, and thus frizz! Static electricity builds up on the hair just like how when you rub a balloon on the carpet & the wall it will stick way better than rubbing it on your arm. I have super thick hair though too! You could try squeezing the moisture out of your hair with the tshirt on top of the towel so the towel will still absorb the water without actually touching your hair!

      • Reply
        July 9, 2015 at 5:06 pm

        Lindsey, thank you for your reply! I will try that out!!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Totally makes sense now…when I go to bed with wet hair, and I’m not touching it when it’s drying (I just hang it over the top of my pillow) I always wake up with this amazing, soft, bouncy, shiny hair and I never understood why. : )

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 10:17 am

    I love Sally Beauty but are you cheating on Wen? I’d rather just use a squirt of that & let my hair air dry rather than loading it up with all that gunk. Plus I have about 0.35 seconds to get ready in the morning (working mom of a 3 yr old) & the whole t shirt thing (as opposed to a plain ol’ towel) sounds time consuming.

    • Reply
      July 9, 2015 at 8:31 am

      Agreed! I want to know if you are still a Wenn girl? Looks like this might have been a Sally Hansend post? So it used their products?

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Love it. I have a question my daughter has very thin fine hair. Within a couple hours of drying it looks stringy and ratty. What would be good products for me to use in her hair?

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I have wavy hair that frizzes like crazy if I don’t blow dry hut I hate using heat all the time. Can’t wait to try these tips 🙂

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    “equipped with the goofiest smile ever” — Cara you made me laugh out loud! It made my day!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Wondering if you still prefer wen over the Sally’s cleansing conditioner. I have tried wen by Chaz dean and loved it. I have tried plain wen (not by Chaz dean) and herbal essences naked cleansing conditioner and haven’t loved either. I think I may try your homemade wen version next. Just wondering about the Sally’s version.

  • Reply
    Natalie S.
    July 6, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    OK, well looks like I’ll be making a trip to Sally’s Beauty today! I’m totally trying this tomorrow. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Are there any products like these that we can get on Amazon prime?

    • Reply
      July 6, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      i was able to get the ion shampoo and the masque on prime. i wouldmuch rather use amazon than drive to the store . hahaha

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 8:07 pm


    I am always looking for ways to reduce heat damage to my hair. Do you have any recommendations for thick, course hair? For me, there is absolutely no such thing as silky hair, and my hair takes 3+ hours to air dry, so I feel like that’s almost never an option for me to just wash and go. I know it’s a long shot, but any advice you’ve got would be appreciated!


  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    This is a great tutorial for us wavy and frizzy girls! Miss Jessie’s quick curls has been a life saver for me when air drying my hair. It really does seem to speed up the dry time and is the only thing that defines my waves without crunch/frizz! Also a tip on drugstore/beauty supply (like Sally’s) hair color for grays in between salon visits or all the time would be amazing!! Thanks for all the great tips!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Just FYI, same rule – “do not touch!” goes for curly hair. I have corkscrew curls naturally, and while everyone thinks that is awesome, one fluff and you get the crazy cat lady look.

    I’ve found that I can also twist it while still very wet with a little curl specific product in it such as John Frieda frizz-ease. They really set in beautifully this way, but again, you can’t touch it.

  • Reply
    Anja Skrba (@AnjaSkrba)
    July 7, 2015 at 2:03 am

    But still lucky you Cara, you have such a thick hair – you can basicly do anything with it! Mine is so fine and if I even add one product it blinds my hair and it looks like I never washed it 🙂


  • Reply
    Emily Lowery
    July 7, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Great tips that I will definitely be trying out as an avid air dryer xo

    EmsAlice // Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  • Reply
    July 7, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Hi! I just bought everything on the list. But quick question. Where you say shampoo and condition as normal..when do i use the shea moisture co-wash conditioner? Or should i just use my regular shampoo then then co-wash or strictly the co-wash? Just alittle confused…thank you!

    • Reply
      July 15, 2015 at 9:42 am

      Cara says that SHE “used Shea Moisture Cleansing Conditioner…BUT if you’re more of a shampoo conditioner type use something anti-frizz like Ion Keratin Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner”, so she added that in the directions for people that don’t have that product or prefer shampoo & conditioner. Where it says shampoo and condition as normal, use the co-wash conditioner.

  • Reply
    July 7, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Hi cara! I didnt see my comment post so im re-posting! Lol i just bought everything off your list…but curious…you mention to shampoo and condition as normal..but where do i use the shea moisture co-wash? Or do i use my regular shampoo and replace my conditioner with the co-wash? Or only use the co-wash? Just a bit confused! Thank you!

  • Reply
    July 7, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Thanks for reminding me! It totally works, and I’m always too impatient. My hair is curlier and softer/flatter than yours, so I still have to style and tease it which makes it not as smooth, but it makes a world of difference with the t-shirt and not touching it.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 2:59 am

    Fabulous tips, Cara!! Using a T-shirt to blot the hair after washing is great!! 🙂 It does make a difference. Thank you bunches of oats! 😉

  • Reply
    GlossyFinds: Get Gorgeous, Get Glamorous, Get Glossified
    July 8, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Great tips! 🙂 Even just using shine serum makes all the difference! 🙂

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Cara! I love this post however, I have stick-straight, oily hair and I can never air dry because it just looks terrible 🙁 Do you have any tips for people with hair similar to mine? Much much appreciated! P.S. I just read an article on Refinery 29 about reversing the shampoo then conditioner sequence for people with thin, dry hair. Let me tell you, the result are AMAZING!!!!

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Very convincing and well written article, it made all the girls here excited to give this a try. None of us have ever had the patience to let our hair air dry to 100% without touching it, but after reading this were definitely ready to give it our best.

  • Reply
    Shelley Glenn
    July 11, 2015 at 11:09 am

    This is a fabulous post! I have long, thick, and curly hair and I’ve been looking for some products to kick the frizz! Thank you!

  • Reply
    July 12, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    OMG! I can’t believe that such air drying technique works so good! Everyday due to our busy schedule, we don’t wait until the hair dry completely. I will find my spare t-shirt and try this out on weekends.

  • Reply
    July 13, 2015 at 4:09 am

    What a difference. Not for my hair (the super straight one), but for the girls of the between state (not straight and not really curly) a really great way to make it look amazing.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Um I can not wait to give this a try! I am in that between stage of hair length and I am trying so hard to not ‘do’ my hair but it has natural curl so I keep just going for the blow dryer or the straightener to tame it grrr I just want my hair to grow hahaha thanks for the awesome tips as usual

  • Reply
    5 Day Hair Recipe: Heat Free | Maskcara
    July 16, 2015 at 3:50 am

    […] (all the deets on my air dry in case you missed it) […]

  • Reply
    Friday Favorite Five | andrea drugay
    July 24, 2015 at 9:00 am

    […] 4. Air-drying your hair: from floofy + frizzy to relaxed + romantic, via Maskcara […]

  • Reply
    Carrie M
    July 31, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Life changing. LOVE how wavy my hair gets this way. I even have some SPIRAL curls in the back!! Who knew???

  • Reply
    August 8, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    I can’t thank you enough for this! It takes me forever to blow dry my hair and I thought I had tried everything and had given up being able to let my hair air dry. I went out and got all the products you recommended and my hair looks amazing! Like some, my hair takes forever to dry so I washed at night and drapped my hair over my pillow (it was actually still damp in the morning) but looked great! 2 days later and it still looms great! You’re amazing 🙂

  • Reply
    September 11, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    My hair used to be so wonky when I air-dried it – wavy here, stick-straight there, super curly in a spot. Throw in my cowlicks and I was a hot mess no matter what combination of products I used. Then I tried the Bumble + Bumble (H)air dry product. Changed. My. World. It’s pricey but I don’t have to use much. I squeeze as much water out of my hair as possible using a microfiber cloth (I think it’s an imitation Norwex cloth) since that’s gentler on hair, then I put about a quarter-sized dollop of the (H)air Dry in my hair. Sometimes I’ll mix it with their Surf Spray (or a knockoff of it), sometimes I don’t. My hair takes for-ev-er to dry, but by afternoon, it looks awesome and feels nice and soft with a little bounce.

  • Leave a Reply