Thursday, March 26, 2009

Experiment: Air Dry Vs. Diffuser

Nine times out of ten, when I do my hair, I use a diffuser.  Two reasons...mainly because it saves time and my curls can go flat very quickly when air dried.   My clients are generally split between those that diffuse and those that air dry, and most of them will switch back and forth depending on the circumstances.  However, several people have asked me exactly what the benefits of air drying are over diffusing--appearance-wise--and vice-versa.  

So, I thought I'd do a side-by-side comparison of how this works with my own hair. :)

A few words of curls are NOT your curls. :)  My curls are looser, pretty fine-textured, and being a mohawk, they are going to lay differently than most.  A woman with crazy-tight spiral curls will have very different results than someone with big, loopy rope-like curls.  But this will give you some idea of what various elements such as water, heat, and time will do to your set.

The Experiment!

I began both sets with hair that had been cleansed with DevaCare No-Poo and conditioned with DevaCare One Condition.  

Water was scrunched out with a microfiber towel, and about a tablespoon of half DevaCurl Angell and half DevaCare Arc Angell was scrunched back in.  95% of the time, I use this 50/50 mix, as I've found it works VERY well for my hair...just enough hold, just enough moisture. :)

So at that point, my hair looks like this: 

I waited two hours, went about my day, hands never touching my hair. 

Two hours later, it was about 90% dry, which is when I will typically re-scrunch to break the cast of the gel and finish the set.

The result:

My hair felt very soft and the curls felt elongated and more "set" in one placement or another. The 2-hour dry time definitely ensured that wherever the curl dried, that's where it stayed.  

I then re-washed and conditioned my hair, scrunched with a microfiber and worked in my 50/50 gel mix, and set to diffusing.

A lovely shot of what it looks like flipped upside-down with the diffuser cup to my head ;) :
Drying time: 10 minutes.  And the result:

The biggest differences were curl placement and tightness of the curl.  The curls moved around a lot more and felt more random and "funky," if you will.  The curls had a springy, energetic formation that I tend to prefer on my own hair.  I generally tell clients that if you are going for a looser, closer-to-the-head set, air drying is the way to go.  But if volume and springiness are your goals, diffusing can do a lot for you.

Those who have seen my hair at the salon know I don't wear it down.  It is usually pinned-up into a twisty-thing of some sort.  Diffusing my hair allows for this shape-shifting to happen much easier as the curls aren't as set into a particular pattern.  

So these are my results.  I plan to do another experiment soon with a few different clipping techniques to see how they affect the set.  

Happy styling!

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