If you think you can get a silky, polished blowout at the salon—think again. With these money-saving tips and tricks, you can easily achieve a gorgeous look.

By Megan Deem
Updated July 10, 2020
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A well-done blowout can make your hair look healthy and give you beautiful bounce, but relying on salon visits to get your hair sleek and shiny isn't always practical for your time or budget. The good news: You can do your own blowout at home with the right styling tools, products, and a little bit of practice. The key is to work in stages (and begin with clean, semi-dry strands). We tapped professional stylists for their best advice on how to help you get the shiny, bouncy hair of your dreams, and how to make it last. Your four-step lesson starts now.

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1. Start with Almost-Dry Hair

After you shampoo and condition, comb out your wet hair then get it 80% dry. You could do this by air-drying, wrapping your hair in a towel, or rough-drying it with a blow-dryer using the lowest heat setting. (If you go the blow-drying route, apply a heat protectant first to guard against thermal damage, prevent frizz, and add shine. We love Bumble and bumble's Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat, $28, at Ulta.) Why pre-dry? For starters, the heat and brush tension needed to blow out sopping wet hair can be really damaging and "take away a lot of the hair's natural body," says Kattia Solano, owner of New York City's Butterfly Studio Salon. You'll also cut down on the dreaded arm fatigue from holding your brush and blow-dryer.

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What's the Best Kind of Hair Dryer for a Home Blowout?

Professional blow-dryers make the drying process faster, easier, and less damaging, says celebrity stylist Bridget Brager. What to look for: a powerful motor (1,800–2,000 watts), multiple heat and speed settings (to control temperature and air velocity), and a cool-shot button. If you're in a constant fight with frizz, try the Eva NYC Healthy Heat Pro-Lite Dryer, $60.34, on Target. The tourmaline and ceramic technology will cause less damage to your hair and ensure shinier tresses. For those who want to control the heat level, buy the T3 Cura Lux,$285, at Sephora. It's made with five heat settings, two speed settings, and an auto-pause sensor. If you're searching for an affordable dryer that still works well, we recommend the Revlon Pro Colection Salon 360 Surround Styler, $14.99, Walmart. The nozzle is made with a slot to put in sections of hair for a brushless blow-dry.

2. Apply Styling Products

If your goal is a super-sleek effect, apply an oil-based styling cream, such as Frederick Benjamin Daily Hydrator Hair Styling Cream, $12, at Ulta, from the midshaft to ends of hair. Want extra volume and body? Work in a root-lifting spray or mousse at the roots. We like John Frieda Luxurious Volume Root Booster, $7.49, at Bed Bath & Beyond. It's especially effective for finer hair. Next, section your hair into four parts. "This will give you more control when styling," says Solano, who suggests dividing hair down the middle of your head, then again from ear to ear. If your hair is thick or unruly, use eight smaller sections. Fasten each with Drybar's Hold Me Hair Clips, $16 for set of four, Sephora.

3. Blow-Dry Your Hair

Make sure the nozzle attachment is on. "It directs airflow exactly where you need it," says hairstylist Juan Carlos Maciques of New York City's Oscar Blandi Salon. Starting at your nape, wrap a section around a medium round brush. "Angle the nozzle of the dryer so it points from roots to ends," Maciques says. Run the dryer down the hair section, twirling the brush when you get to the ends to smooth them out. Repeat as necessary until the section is completely dry.

For the best view in the mirror, turn your chin so it faces opposite the section you're drying. When you get to the crown, tilt your head down. "You'll have a broader range of motion," Solano says.

Does It Matter What Type of Brush I Use?

A medium-size round brush (2–2 1/2 inches) is the ideal tool for stretching and smoothing hair, Maciques says. He prefers the softness of natural bristles, including the Ceramic Wood Outburst Boar Bristles Brush, $14.99, at Target, to boost shine and volume. A ceramic brush, such as the Olivia Garden Ceramic+Ion Speed XL Round Thermal Brush, $24.95, at Ulta, has the advantage of heating and cooling with the dryer—great for smoothing curly textures, says Rick Henry, Joico celebrity stylist.

4. Blast with Cold Air

Did you know that cold air is key to a polished, frizz-free blowout? "It's really important after you've dried a section, that you set your work by going back over it using the cool-shot button," Brager says. "The cold air seals the cuticle and locks in what you've done." Then move on to your next damp section and repeat Step 3. Once you've done your entire head, you can shake out your hair, tousle with your fingers to blend sections or adjust your part if needed. Finish with a light mist of hair spray. For a spray that will keep your hair in place all day long try L'Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray, $12.97, at Walmart.

How Do I Make My Blowout Last?

Bathe wearing a shower cap and use dry shampoo to preserve the style for a second or third day. Dove Fresh Coconut Dry Shampoo, $4.88, at Walmart, works well and smells amazing. Spray it on roots, give it a minute or two to absorb oil, then brush away the excess.

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