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How to Dry Curly Hair

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Image of a microfiber towel, diffuser, and fan for how to dry curly hair.

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Drying your hair can be challenging, especially with curls. If you have tried every method and product in your arsenal, but nothing seems to work well enough, we can help you with some of the best ways to dry your hair while keeping it healthy and looking good. 

The best hair-drying methods include using a diffuser, microfiber towels, or soft t-shirts instead of cotton towels and low heat settings on the hair dryer. Allowing your hair to air dry is also a great drying method, and applying the correct products helps your hair look and stay frizz-free. 

The most common method of drying hair with a hair dryer does not always work for curly hair. And rubbing your hair dry with cotton towels only leads to breakage, hair fall, and frizz. Hair drying can become an annoyance, but let’s look at practical ways on how to dry curly hair without fuss. 

The 6 Best Ways to Dry Your Hair Without Damage 

1.    Use a Diffuser 

A diffuser is an attachment that you put on your blow dryer. It helps to distribute the air evenly and prevents your hair from getting frizzy. This is one of the best methods for curly hair. 

The purpose of a diffuser is to spread the airstream over a larger surface area in a more structured and controlled manner. It lets you dry your hair without damaging the texture

It’s great for people in a rush who want to dry their hair safely and quickly. You may also enhance the volume of your curls and give the appearance of fuller hair. It is the best way to use a hair dryer on curly hair. 

To use a diffuser:

  • Start by removing the excess water from your hair. If you start with wet, drenched hair, using a diffuser will take a long time to dry your hair. 
  • Then apply your favorite styling products. 
  • Let your hair air dry for several minutes before diffusing, allowing the styling products to set. 
  • Set your hair dryer to cool to medium heat. Lower temperatures are always best for maintaining hair health. 
  • Try clipping them with these alligator clips to add volume to the roots. 
  • Place small sections of your hair gently into the diffuser bowl with your head upside down or sideways. 
  • Lightly move the diffuser around your hair without disturbing the clumping or curl formation. 
  • Continue until about 80% to 90% dry. 
  • To reduce frizz, finish with a cold blast of air. 
  • After thoroughly drying your hair, use a light oil or serum to tame any flyaways and add shine. 
  • To create more volume, shake out and fluff the roots. 
  • To keep your hair frizz-free, avoid too much manipulation. 
YouTube video
Here’s a quick video on how I diffuse my hair.

My Favorite Diffusers

Collapsible Hair Diffuser

I love this one because its easy storage allows you to easily take it on your travels.

Ways to dry curly hair - diffuser by Curly Co

Black Orchid Hair Diffuser

The 1.8-inch diameter of this diffuser can fit any hair dryer within the same range. But it is not a universal fit, so double-check the size of your blow dryer before purchasing. What I love about this diffuser is the large bowl for faster dry time. 

Ways to dry curly hair - diffuser by Black Orchid

DevaCurl DevaFuser

This one looks funny, but don’t let that fool you. The design helps to dry your hair quickly while maintaining the integrity of your hair’s curl pattern. My favorite part is the handle shaped like a hand, making it easy to maneuver and get right to the roots, where it takes the longest to dry. 

Ways to dry curly hair - diffuser by DevaCurl

2. Use a Microfiber Towel

A microfiber towel is undoubtedly one of the most valuable gadgets for achieving ideal curly wash-day results. It is designed differently than a traditional cotton towel. Traditional towels can harm the cuticles of your hair, making them more prone to frizz. 

The microfiber fibers are gentler and more absorbent than cotton, making them the perfect tool for absorbing water from your hair without causing frizz. Remember to blot – don’t rub – the water out of your hair. Rubbing is what causes frizz, damage, and hair fall. 

More benefits of microfiber towels: 

  • Reduces the amount of time it takes to dry. 
  • Roots will not dry flat if they are weighted down by moisture in the hair as it dries. 
  • Helps with the clumping process. 
  • Gives more curl definition.

My Favorite Microfiber Towels:

Large Microfiber Towel

You will need a large microfiber towel if you have a lot of hair or have very long or thick hair. This one from Amazon is a great option. 

Ways to dry curly hair - large microfiber towel

Premium Curly Co Microfiber Towel

Ok, this is my absolute fave! I’ve had mine for six years, and it’s still great. It is a premium material that is designed to last. The material is super soft and gentle on your hair. I wish I had a blanket made of this material, lol. You will not be disappointed! 

I know some curlies who like the DevaCurl microfiber towel, but I wasn’t a big fan after trying it. It didn’t last long and started to fall apart after a few washes. 

Ways to dry curly hair - Curly co microfiber towel.

MAYOUTH Microfiber Towel Cap 

This might not work if you have a lot of hair on your head, but it is a great option to soak up water without scrunching, squeezing, or wrapping. You simply wear it like a beany cap. It is so absorbent that it soaks up most of the water and lets your curls take their natural shape. 

Image of Mayouth nicrofiber towel cap

Microfiber Towel Tips: 

Squeeze Upwards 

To remove excess water from your hair, flip your head over and squeeze upwards from the mid-shafts of the strands to the scalp or the end of the hair upward. 

To prevent disturbing your curl clumps, work in small sections. 

Rotate the towel as you work with it to ensure you’re always working with a dry section. This guarantees the towel can soak up as much water as possible from your hair.

Scrunch Your Hair                 

After you’ve squeezed out all the excess water from your hair, use a scrunching motion to help clump your hair. This will also help eliminate any frizz that may have been caused when towel drying. 

Use a T-shirt 

An old T-shirt will do the trick if you don’t have a microfiber towel. Like microfiber, t-shirts are designed to be gentle on hair and can help reduce frizz. If you don’t want anything bulky, this T-shirt “towel” is a great option and will give you all the benefits of a regular T-shirt and towel combined. 

3.    Let Your Hair Air Dry 

If you have time, let your hair air dry as much as possible. This is the best way to dry your hair because it causes the least damage and allows your curls to maintain their natural shape and pattern. 

When I started my healthy hair journey, I used to diffuse my curls. But, as my hair got healthier and thicker, I found that air drying was the best way to achieve defined, frizz-free curls. 

Air drying can take up a lot of time, so sometimes I sit in front of a large fan and allow it to blow through my hair. This cuts the drying time in half for me. 

4.    Plopping 

Plopping is a curly hair technique in which you gather all your curls at the top of your head and then wrap them up with a T-shirt. This method will not only help your curls dry faster, but it will also keep their natural shape. Click here to learn how to do it. 

5.    Use a Low Heat Setting 

When you do use a hairdryer, make sure it’s on low heat and keep it moving around your head. This will help to prevent heat damage. Don’t forget to use a heat protectant even when using a low-temperature setting. If your hairdryer has a cool shot button, use it at the end to seal in your curls. 

6.    Finish with a Light Serum or Oil 

This might not be a drying method, but it is a great way to end any hair-drying process and set your hair before leaving the home. To tame flyaways and add shine, finish with a light serum or oil. I like to use a dime size amount of the Righteous Roots Oils.

Serums and oils are optional, and some prefer avoiding additional products. But it provides sheen and smoothness, reduces frizz, and acts as a barrier from external factors that cause damage.


Drying your curly hair doesn’t have to be daunting. There are many options for effectively drying without damaging your hair while maintaining those bouncy, luscious locks and achieving frizz-free results. 

Share your tips and comments, and questions below! 


I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

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