Blowdrying hair is an art. The way a hairdresser dances around a client’s head and expertly crafts bounce, shine, and volume with just a round brush is truly mesmerizing. There’s a reason places like Drybar, Dream Dry, and Blo are ubiquitous—a professional blowout is one of the toughest looks to replicate at home. Thankfully, T3’s celebrity hairstylist Laura Polko, who works with Chrissy Teigen, Gigi Hadid, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, is here to offer her best tips to DIY the salon blowout.
1. Preparation is key
A great blowout starts when your hair is wet. “I first start with a leave-in conditioner on all my clients. A lot of it,” she says, suggesting one from Unite. She also suggests drying the hair with a microfiber towel to get most of the moisture out. Then, she follows with rough drying to get out 50 percent of the water.
2. Mousse is your best friend.
Before starting to dry, Polko will apply mousse all over the head. “I like mousse for pretty much everybody,” Polko says, because it “gives hold and will put volume in your hair.” Her go-tos are from Kenra and Mr. Smith. She starts on the ends, and works her way in to the crown and roots, but makes sure not to put too much in the front face-framing pieces of hair “because it will be a little too sticky.”
3. Start with the front pieces
While people typically leave the front pieces until the end, Polko insists you should start with them to get the most polished result. Make sure to section off the hair first (bottom layer, mid layer, and top layer with the front pieces left out) by using clips that don’t crease. Then, use a large round brush—Polko swears by T3’s 3-inch brush.
4. Always angle the hairdryer downward.
“You want to follow the round brush and direct the hair down because that’s what’s going to make it shine and smooth it,” Polko says. “I keep the nozzle an inch away, so pretty close. Trail the brush.” As for how big your sections should be, use your brush’s width as a guide.
5. Use your round brush like a hot roller.
One of Polko’s biggest tips was to let your hair cool on the round brush, as you would a hot roller. “I’ll pause five to ten seconds so the hair cools on the brush, that way I get a good bend,” she explains. “You want it to cool down, otherwise you’re going to lose all the volume you worked for. If you’re at the salon wondering ‘ how do I get that volume?’ That’s how. You hold it there.”
If you’ve ever watched a hairstylist magically twirl a round brush as they’re drying to yield gorgeous curls, the trick is to dry a section straight down, and then when you see the hair layers about to fall off the brush, twirling it back towards your roots.
6. Finish with hairspray—but use the right technique.
“I think a lot of people are lost on how to properly use hairspray,” Polko says. “You have to get a consistent mist at least a foot away from the hair.” Don’t spray it too close, or do little spritzes because then you’ll end up with some parts too sticky and flatten the blowout.