How To Use A Hair Diffuser? What Does It Do?

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Wondering what that cup-shaped attachment with your hair dryer is? It’s called a hair diffuser. As fancy as it sounds, a hair diffuser is probably one of the best frizz-free ways to dry your hair – especially if your hair is curly, wavy, or big on texture. This underutilized and unassuming tool uses warm air to style textured hair and protects the cuticles from direct heat. But when not used right, the hair diffuser may leave you in a knotted mess. So before you buy and abandon a hair diffuser, scroll down to learn how to use it like a pro!

How Does A Hair Diffuser Work? How Is It Different From A Blow Dryer?

Before talking about how to use a hair diffuser, you need to know how it works. The diffuser is a plastic cup-shaped or round attachment designed to snap or clip onto your hair dryer’s nozzle.

The head has multiple orifices on long prongs that release streams of warm air. These streams have low pressure and spread warm air to a wider area. A traditional blow dryer may release hot air blasts at high pressure. Drying hair with such dryers may expose the hair shafts, cuticles, and scalp to direct heat. Prolonged use may also damage the fibers, make them brittle (1), (2).

A hair diffuser releases warm, gentle, and evenly spread out air streams. It protects your hair from the effects of direct heat. It offers better frizz control, which is key for curly, wavy, kinky, and fine hair types. Most importantly, the orifices help in adding definition to your curls.

Now that you know how a diffuser works, let’s talk about how to use it.

How To Use A Hair Diffuser

You can get long-lasting and professional results with your hair diffuser in a few simple steps. Let’s get to work:

1. Detangle And Comb-Dry Your Hair

Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle your hair and prevent breakage.

2. Get Rid Of Excess Moisture

Use a soft cotton T-shirt to pat your hair dry. This is to get rid of extra moisture and hold the style and product better. Gently scrunch your hair while at it.

3. Apply A Styling Product Of Your Choice

It could be a hair serum, mousse, gel, curl cream – anything that you use regularly. This is to add definition and hold to your curls.

4. Gather Small Sections Of Hair To Feed Into The Diffuser

Place small sections of hair into the diffuser bowl. Turn on the blow dryer and slowly bring the diffuser towards your head. Hold the blow dryer in this position.

5. Work Your Way Through All The Sections

Hold the diffuser in each section for 30 seconds before moving to the next one. Use hair clips to hold sections out of the way to reach the under-layers of your hair.

6. Scrunch And Detangle

Once all the sections are dried by the diffuser, seal the look with hairspray or a volumizing spray. Gently scrunch your hair one last time.

Listed below are some more tips that you can follow to get the results with your diffuser.

Tips To Effectively Use A Hair Diffuser

  •  Your hair needs to be damp – not dripping water nor too dry – when using a diffuser.
  • Apply a thermal protectant styling serum or spray on damp hair. This will protect the hair fibers from direct heat damage.
  •  Work your way from the scalp to the tips. Stop the diffuser when you are reaching the tips/hair ends. Let the ends air-dry to add bounce to your hair.
  • Don’t use the diffuser directly on your scalp. It is not a scalp massager.
  •  Cup the sections of hair you want to feed into the diffuser. Gently lift them as they dry to preserve the curls and prevent frizz.
  •  Throughout the process, use your hands sparingly. Touching blow-dried hair often causes your curls or waves to lose shape.
  •  Give a blast of cold air with the cold-shot button when you are done drying all sections to release trapped heat and set the curls in place.
  •  If you are working on coily or kinky hair, be patient. The hair diffuser step may feel time-consuming and laborious, but the result is worth it.
  •  Always finish or set the look with a hairspray or a pomade.
  •  Use gentle strokes or sweeps to get the finishing product in, especially on the deeper layers. These finishing products nourish heat-treated hair and hold the style for a longer time.

With these tips, you will be able to use a hair diffuser like a pro. The more you use it, the better you get at it. Using a hair diffuser is probably the safest way to dry textured hair without causing untamable frizz. So, invest in a good-quality hair diffuser and start practicing. This tool effortlessly styles curls, waves, and coils on dry, thick, or fine hair types. You can now let your hair down and stay frizz-free too!

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).