How to give yourself a salon-quality blowout at home, with tips from hair styling experts
Show off the sleekest locks with our ultimate guide on how to get the best blow dry at home, with tips from expert hair stylists.
Want to achieve salon-looking results from your own home? Become a hair styling pro with our handy guide on how to give yourself a salon-quality blowout.
At The Recommended, we’ve done our research and have got you covered with the ultimate tips and tricks for executing the perfect blow dry. Plus, we spoke to some highly experienced hair stylists for their expert advice.
Our hairstyling experts
Jonathan Andrew is a celebrity hairstylist and Global Ambassador at haircare brand Fudge Professional. He has worked with celebrities including Lottie Moss, Olly Murs and Little Mix, styled at iconic media events including the BAFTAs, NTAs and BRIT Awards, and for TV shows such as This Morning and CelebrityJuice. Earlier in his career, he worked with brands including L’Oreal, ghd and Schwarzkopf, and most recently launched his brand new podcast ‘This is Not What I Asked For’ on Global Player.
Luke Benson is a celebrity hairdresser with over 20 years of experience. His famous A-list clients include Billie Eilish, Liam Payne, Michelle Keegan, Anna Friel, and Roman Kemp. He has styled iconic hair moments at events such as the BRITs and Bond premiere and has been a top stylist for brands including Tom Ford, Charlotte Tilbury, and Hugo Boss. He has won awards for his cutting, styling, and grooming talent, including the Session Stylist of The Year Finalist for the 2022 Fellowship for British Hairdressing Awards.
How to achieve a salon-quality blowout: a step-by-step guide
Follow this step-by-step guide, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving professional results - think shiny, silky smooth styled hair, all from the comfort of your own home.
Step 1: Start with clean hair
First things first, wash your hair - see our guide on how to properly wash your hair for the ultimate clean. This provides a fresh starting point.
Step 2: Choose the right hair dryer and attachments
Ensure you have a quality hair dryer with adjustable attachments and heat settings (we like the Shark Style iQ). For blow drying, you’ll need a concentrator nozzle to achieve your smooth and polished effect.
Step 3: Protect your hair with a heat protector spray
Before using the hair dryer, spritz your hair with some heat protector spray to minimise heat damage and keep your hair in its best condition. Our hair expert Jonathan Andrew likes the Fudge Professional Blow-Dry Aqua Primer.
Step 4: Dry your hair
After washing, gently towel dry your hair using a soft towel to remove any excess moisture, then roughly dry your hair with the hair dryer until it’s about 80% dry.
Step 5: Section out your hair
Once hair is roughly dried, divide it into manageable sections to work on using hair clips. This will make the styling process easier and more efficient, focusing on smaller areas at a time.
Step 6: Begin blow drying
Starting from the roots, aim the airflow from the hair dryer in a downward motion, working your way down each section at a time. Our expert Luke Benson explains that ‘working section by section and really concentrating on making sure the airflow is down the hair shaft will produce a much smoother finish.’ Use a round brush to lift each section and guide the hair, wrapping it around the brush and gently pulling downwards while directing heat. Your hair will begin to smooth out with added volume. If you don't have a round brush, we like the Moroccanoil Ceramic Round Brush.
Step 7: Finish with a cool blast
Once hair is all dry and styled, switch your hair dryer to the cooling setting and give your hair a blast of cool air - this will help hold the blow dry and add extra shine.
Step 8: Add styling products (optional)
For the finishing touch, apply a small amount of styling cream or serum. This can help reduce frizz and add more shine - just avoid using too much, as this can cause a greasy look and weigh down the hair. We like the Wella Professionals Oil Reflections Luminous Smoothing Oil.
How long does it take to blow dry your hair?
The time it takes to complete a salon-quality blow dry depends on various factors, including hair length, thickness and texture. In general, it can take anywhere between 20 to 45 minutes. Just make sure you allow yourself enough time according to your hair type.
Mastering your blow-dry: top tips and things to consider
Once you’ve got the hang of blow-drying your hair, the process will become easier and quicker. Here we’ve rounded up some top tips from our experts and several things to consider to master the technique and achieve the ultimate results. These include the following:
- Hair type: Different hair types will react differently to blow drying, with some taking longer to finish. Fine hair may require a lower heat on the hairdryer in comparison to thicker, coarser hair - adjust the heat settings accordingly. Long hair will also take longer.
- Hair tools: Our hair expert Jonathan Andrew stresses the importance of your tools, explaining ‘they are vital for the perfect blow dry - you need a powerful hairdryer and always ensure you have a range of brushes’. Different styles of hair brushes will give a different finish to your blowdry. A round brush is ideal for creating a smooth style with volume, while a paddle brush is great for straightening and detangling.
- Before your blow-dry: Prepping your hair is highly important pre-blow dry in order to protect your scalp and hair strands. Our hair expert Jonathan Andrew emphasises the need to ‘always prep the hair with a heat protector, no matter what.’ He recommends the Fudge Professional Blow-Dry Aqua Primer as it includes hydrating hyaluronic acid and is combined with weather-shield technology ‘to create a virtual umbrella for the hair, delivering all-day humidity resistance and frizz control, improved softness, smoothness, and visible shine.’
- Don’t overdry your hair: It’s important to partially dry your hair before blow drying, but make sure to leave it slightly damp to get that smooth finish - aim for about 80% dry. According to our expert Luke Benson, ‘too much rough drying will cause frizz and static that you then need to combat.’
- Distance: Our expert Jonathan Andrew says, ‘I can’t stress protection, protection, protection enough! Don’t hold the dryer too close to your hair – you wouldn’t do it with your skin, so you shouldn’t do it with your hair.’ Aim to keep a distance of about six to eight inches between the hairdryer nozzle and your hair - this will minimise heat exposure and distribute the heat evenly.
- Tension: Creating tension by pulling the hair taut with the brush when blow drying will help smooth the hair, achieving a sleek finish.
- Cooling shot: After blow drying a section of your hair, switch your hair dryer to the cool setting or use the cool shot button to seal the style and add shine.
- Styling: To achieve soft, natural waves, twist small sections of hair around your fingers while blow drying and release once the hair is cooled. For added volume at the roots, lift the hair upward with your brush as you blow dry, directing the airflow toward the roots.
- Aftercare: Using styling products post-blow dry can also help smooth out your hairstyle and hold it in place for longer. Use a light hairspray or serum to set your style.
Want to read more about haircare and see some more expert-led reviews and guides? Check out The Recommended's Cosmetics section. Here you'll find round-ups of the best shampoos for all hair types, the best conditioners recommended by hair experts, and the best hairdyers.
Cordelia Aspinall is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media, working across brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeForMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. She has previously worked and written for digital publications including Condé Nast Traveller, The Evening Standard, Cosmopolitan, and several other lifestyle brands.