This is the secret to the perfect blow-dry

And the common mistakes we all make

Marie Claire marie claire and InStyle Assistant Digital Content Manager / January 11 2018

It’s the one question all hairdressers get asked every single day: why can’t I make my hair look this good? If you’ve struggled to replicate the same bouncy, glossy waves you walk out of the salon with, you’re not alone. But boosting your blow-dry game is possible without forking out a fortune for a live-in hairdresser (who hasn’t dreamed of that?).

We quizzed Leigh Dole, director of the Blow Bar Co. in Sydney’s Bronte (plus a brand new store in Balmain) for her expert tips. Consider these the golden rules of a salon-level blow dry:

#1 / Preparation is key

“I think the secret to the perfect blow dry is all in the prep. Make sure you're using the right products to complement your hair type and its needs. If you have finer hair be sure to stay away from anything too heavy - use a foam mousse over an aerosol, or a cream over an oil to avoid weighing the hair down, ensuring it stays bouncy and fresh for days.

For those with thicker hair, at Blow Bar Co. we tend to use a curl cream or even a light hold gel. Don’t be scared, gel is amazing! Being an alcohol-based product this will be your best friend when trying to keep frizz at bay. Be sure to not overdo it and always apply to wet or damp hair, directionally blow drying down the hair shaft, again helping to eliminate any unwanted frizz. And if you’re unsure, make sure you always ask your stylist.”

#2 / Don’t fight your hair’s natural tendencies

“As a rule of thumb, it's generally best to work with your hair rather than against it! If your hair is curly, it’s best to choose a style with more movement. If your hair is fine, try something straighter but with lots of texture keeping it on trend but not boring.”

#3 / Choose the right shampoo

“Products are of course tailored to each person’s individual hair needs however my personal must-have go-to products are: a light shampoo like label.m deep cleansing shampoo. This will ensure you do not weigh down the hair unnecessarily and keep the scalp nice and cleansed helping to prolong your blow dry.

A conditioner is also important. The Une Olive en Provence Conditioner is my personal favourite. It contains natural olive oil products which are great at keeping the hair healthy, hydrated, shinny - enough to make your friends envious!”

#4 / Don’t underestimate heat protector spray

“Heat protector would have to be my most important of all hair products! Without using this you wouldn’t have any hair to style! Get in the habit of applying a heat protector straight after you wash your hair. This way it will activate when heat touches your hair and will protect your hair until the next wash.”

#5 / Use less product

“To make your blow-dry last as long as possible, we believe the secret lies in the product... Less is definitely more in this situation. Start off with minimal product, even just a heat protector. We recommend adding product as the days go on - and be careful - be sure to use it more to revive your look rather than finishing your look.”

#6 / Don’t skimp on treatments

“Treatments are really important. At Blow Bar Co. we encourage our clients to use a treatment every 4-6 weeks. It also doesn’t hurt to use a mask instead of a conditioner giving your hair that extra nourishment - but be sure you're only using from mid-lengths to ends unless instructed otherwise by your stylist. There are different treatments for different needs i.e. protein based for hair repair and moisture based for nourishment and shine. Be sure to ask your stylist which is most suitable for your hair type.”

#7 / Easy does it with the hot tools

“A common blunder is over-drying and over-styling your hair. Make sure the temperature on all your styling tools at home is never over 175-200c - and don't over-dry it! Over-drying will not only make your style limp and most probably drop within a few hours but it’s also extremely damaging to your hair, causing it to split, break off and also making colour fade.”

Looking to mix things up with your signature hairstyle? Then check out 11 new ways to style your ponytail.

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Image credit: Getty

Anna is marie claire and InStyle's Assistant Digital Content Manager, reporting on everything from sell-out skincare to Meghan Markle's messy bun. Her work has taken her to tea with Miranda Kerr, the red carpet with Margot Robbie and New York with Jason Wu. Her words can also be found on Vogue, Body & Soul and Buro 24/7.