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It’s the height of summer, and walking around with wet hair is no fun. But applying heat to curly hair can cause serious damage. What’s a natural-haired gal to do?

There are ways to blow-dry curly hair while still protecting it from damage and preventing frizz. Whether you’re going for a full blow-out or just trying to dry off after a shower, you can safely blow dry your curls.

Here’s how to do it.

Use a Diffuser

A diffuser is a hair dryer attachment that spreads the air out over a wider surface. Not only does it minimize damage, but it also minimizes frizz. Diffusers can even help even out your natural curl pattern and add some volume, if that’s what your hair needs.

To use a diffuser on curly hair, simply cup the diffuser around your wet hair. Let each section of your hair sit in the diffuser for a few moments at a time. Your hair should be conditioned and styled before you diffuse it.

Blow-dry On Low Heat or Cool Air

Each time you blow dry, make sure the heat is turned on low or turned off entirely. You don’t want to blast your hair with super hot air. Yes, cooler air takes longer to dry your hair. But the health of your hair is worth the extra time.

Use Heat Protectants

If you’re blowing your hair out, you may need to use medium heat to actually stretch the hair. In that case, make sure you use a heat protectant first. Apply it evenly from root to tip on each section before blow drying. Heat protectants create a barrier on top of your hair, which prevents the heat from damaging your hair cuticle.

Air Dry First

If you have the time, air dry your hair for 15 minutes or so before you blow dry. Blot excess moisture with a T-shirt or microfiber towel, which are both gentle on curly hair. Then blow dry. You won’t spend as much time blow drying, and you’ll end up with less frizz.

Keep It Moving

Lastly, don’t let the blow dryer sit on one section of hair for too long. Ideally, the blow dryer should keep moving around every few seconds. Otherwise, you risk putting too much heat on your hair at once, which spells damage.

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