Hair this good doesn’t just happen on its own. You’ll need the right products and the right tools to get the job done. It might seem like a lot of gear at first, but being prepared will save you loads of frustration. Having the right stuff will not only save you tons of time; it will save the integrity of your hair too. Using the wrong tools or tools that have been poorly made can wind up costing you big-time. If you plan on styling your hair often, it’s definitely worth the investment.
Now, there are two essentials that money can’t buy:
Give yourself plenty of time. How long? That depends on your hair type, density, and style, and on how much practice you’ve had doing your hair on your own. But whatever look you’re going for, rushing through a blowout is a surefire way to, well, blow it. It takes us pros at Drybar thirty to forty-five minutes to tame the average mane, and we do it all day long. It’s safe to assume that it should take you about that long too. The good news is, if you put in the time upfront, your blowout will actually last a few days. On the flip side, rush through it, and your blowout might not last even till lunch.
When you’re styling your hair in a new way for the very first time, it might take a few tries to get it just right. That’s totally normal. As you become more familiar with sectioning, handling the brush, and using extras like clips or rollers, the whole process will get easier and you’ll move more quickly. You’ll be a pro before you know it.
Everything else on our list of must-haves you can find at your local Drybar or beauty shop, or online.
A Good Blow-Dryer
Trying to get a good blowout with a bad blow-dryer is like riding a tricycle across town: You’ll eventually get there, but there’s definitely a better way to go. A good dryer doesn’t mean the most expensive dryer you can find. Look for a machine within your budget that has multiple heat settings, so you can control the temperature, and a cold-shot button for sealing your ends and finishing off your look. Also make sure the dryer is lightweight and comfortable in your hand, and that you can maneuver it well. We all know how tiring it gets holding a blow-dryer above your head! And lastly, look for ionic technology; the negative ions help dry hair faster, to protect your hair from overexposure to heat.
We love our Lemon Drop. Use the detangling brush in the shower or on wet hair. Its cushioned bristles have lots of give, so they can get the knots out without breaking the hair.
This is a great tool for detangling your hair while it’s wet or dry. It also comes in handy for parting and sectioning.
Round Ceramic-Barrel Brush
Round brushes are essential to styling. They help give the hair direction and movement. For best results, look for brushes with ceramic barrels. The air from your blow-dryer heats up the barrel of the brush, which helps to smooth the cuticle even faster. These brushes really help lock in curl and volume, and add shine. They’re a total must-have, in my book.
You may want to keep a few different-size brushes around:
· A small round ceramic-barrel brush for shorter hair or tighter curls.
· A medium round ceramic barrel brush for giving loose curls and/or waves, straightening short to medium-length hair, and great for bangs.
· A large barrel brush for adding body and wave in long hair or for straightening shoulder-length hair.
Round Boar-Bristle Brush
These are classic and come in a variety of sizes. Awesome for when you need to really get in at your scalp to smooth roots or curly/coarse hair. The bristles help evenly distribute the natural oils from your scalp, to help make hair shiny and smooth.
Meet the unsung hero of your styling kit! Clips like the Hold Me Hair Clips can be used to cleanly section hair and to hold hair—wet or dry—in place. Just four of these clips will make your life so much better. I swear!
Any mirror where you can get a look at your pretty self will do, but styling will be extra easy if you can set up a second mirror that will allow you to see the back of your head. Personally, I searched all over the place until I found one I could install in my bathroom that rotates off the wall so I can see the back and the crown of my head. You do not have to do this. I’m nuts (and may be under more pressure than most to have good hair all the time). A handheld mirror totally works. PS: Your cell phone does the trick too in a pinch.
This is a must-have for defining your natural curls or creating new ones. Our 3-Day-Bender curling iron has a rotating clamp that makes it super easy to manipulate the hair. Ideally, a curling iron should heat up fast and have multiple settings up to 450°F (230°C). Always preheat your curling iron: The higher the heat, the less time you’ll need to set your hair. If you have very fragile hair, go with a lower heat setting, around 350°F (175°C).
A flat iron is key for creating sleek, straight styles or smoothing frizzy pieces. You can even use it for curls. We recommend titanium plates, like the ones we use in the Drybar Tress Press. They heat up fast and evenly, and straighten hair in one go. Look for an iron that has a slightly beveled rather than blunt edge, so you can give your ends a bit of movement.
Nozzles are attachments that help direct air flow. There are two types of nozzles: A smaller, more narrow nozzle that gives max concentration of heat and air, making it handy when smoothing out highly textured, or coarse and curly hair, and a larger nozzle that gives you a wider dispersion of air. Since the width of the larger nozzle is typically close to the length of the brush, it makes it ideal for creating curls. Nozzles are optional (and we don’t even like to use them when we are rough drying hair!).
When you want big hair and want to avoid that awesome bed-head split (aka cat butt), sleeping in a few self-grip rollers will do the trick. You can also use them to help build volume while styling your hair. They’re most effective when set in warm hair, and as it cools they hold the shape and create volume. By no means are these as crucial to styling as, say, a blow-dryer, but they make me happy and I think they’ll make you happy too.
A great blowout starts with really clean hair! Dirty, oily hair never blows out well, and the style won’t last as long as it should. Shampoo should remove buildup without stripping your hair of its natural oils and drying it out. If your hair is baby-fine, look for a gentle cleansing shampoo. For dry hair, look for formulas that are labeled hydrating or moisturizing, and nourish the hair from the inside out.
It seems simple enough, but finding the right conditioner for your hair is a game changer. Many women make the mistake of choosing a conditioner that is too heavy and wind up with hair that’s weighed down. Think about your hair type and then make your choice: For fine hair or hair that tends to feel oily quickly, you’ll want something light but hydrating, and focus on the ends, avoiding the roots; for dry hair, choose a deep conditioner that will give it that extra love and hydration. Anyone with extra-dry hair or hair that tangles easily could benefit big-time from a few spritzes of leave-in conditioner and a biweekly mask or treatment.
This is your insurance policy against damage. After towel- drying and before styling, applying heat protectant all over helps seal split ends and prevents dryness, damage, and breakage—and a really good one, like our Hot Toddy, also shields hair from UV exposure, which can zap the life out of color-treated hair. It’s like your seat belt, bike helmet, and Stay Puft Marshmallow Man suit all in one. Everyone should use it.
It’s just what your tough locks have been waiting for. Medium to coarse hair reaps the most benefit from a hydrating cream, since the right formula will deliver needed moisture, smooth the cuticle, and protect your hair from the heat.
Depending on your hair type, you’ll want to pump up the volume with a mousse or a spray. Either way, volumizers help build body by coating each strand of hair, making for a fuller look with more movement.
When hair is dry, it can look dull. A shine cream will brighten it right up. It will calm flyaways near the roots and bring thirsty-looking ends back to life. Look for a product that also moisturizes—no crispy pieces, please.
Lightly misting dry hair with a shine spray will help tame static and frizz, and leave it looking glossy, as the name implies. Most formulas contain oils that hydrate hair and help reflect light.
A good hair spray will add some shine and keep your style in place without turning it into a helmet. You want to be able to reapply the spray as needed without it building up, flaking off, or getting sticky. And you should definitely be able to run a brush through your hair at the end of the night.
Without hair paste, there would be no Justin Bieber. This is the stuff that makes boy bands’ worlds go round. A workable paste will create texture, definition, and hold. It can be the secret ingredient in polished-looking up-dos, ponytails, and braids, and work wonders on hiding baby hairs around the face.
Dry and damaged hair loves this stuff. I’m talking loves. Hair oil replenishes much-needed hydration especially to coarse and curly hair, or to particularly sad strands. When using hair oil, concentrate on the ends. Get too close to the crown and things can start looking very greasy, very quickly.
It’s a blowout’s best friend. Adding a bit of powder to your roots soaks up excess oils and impurities and creates texture and lift. I never leave home without it (neither should you).