12 Blow Dry Hair Styling Mistakes You’re Making (And How To Fix Them)


No matter how hard you try, you never seem to be able to achieve the same blow-out hair style at home that your hair stylist produces in the salon. Frustrating, right? In an effort to elevate your blow-drying hair skills, the pros at Matrix put their heads together to offer these insights into common hair blow-dry mistakes for long, short and medium hair, along with smart solutions.

The Mistake: You’re rushing your blow-dry.

The Fix: A great blow-dry hairstyle can’t be accelerated. To achieve silky, shiny hair--especially if you have curly hair or a long hairstyle--you have to dry your hair in small sections, carefully and methodically, bottom, then sides, then top. This ensures every section of hair is finished to perfection. Take your time and you’ll be much happier with your hairstyle in the end!

The Mistake: You’re holding the blow dryer too close to your hair.

The Fix: If you feel your scalp burning, know that your hair is probably burning, too. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to hold the blow dryer about eight inches from your head. Use the nozzle attachment—not only will it help shield your hair from some of the dryer’s heat, it will also make your blow-dry smoother. And always, always treat your hair with a heat protectant formula prior to blow drying.

The Mistake: You’re not drying your hair completely.

The Fix: This is possibly mistake numero uno for most blow-dry DIY-ers. Any section of hair that remains damp is susceptible to curling, waving or frizzing. So, that tiny section of hair at your neck that you just skipped over? Go back and make sure it’s dry!

The Mistake: You’re frying your ends when blow-drying your hair.

The Fix: Even though it’s important to dry every section of hair completely, keep in mind that the ends of your long hair are a lot older, and therefore more stressed, than the roots and mid-sections. So as you dry, work each section from roots to middles, getting this part completely dry, before moving on to dry the ends.

The Mistake: You’re using too many hair products.

The Fix: A successful blow-dry requires clean hair. Don’t get us wrong—you definitely need pre-blow-dry prep products to produce a superb hair blowout. But you have to choose the right ones. Avoid anything that creates a stiff or gummy texture. Opt for blowout products that hydrate and smooth hair like hair creams, serums or mousses, chosen for your hair type.

The Mistake: You’re using the wrong hair dryer settings.

The Fix: Most stylists swear by a “low air, high heat” approach to blow drying hair. Heat is essential to lock down the surface of the hair and produce the smoothness you want from your blowout. Reducing the air speed prevents you from blowing your hair all around, which will essentially cancel out the hair smoothing benefits of a proper blow-dry.

The Mistake: You start blow-drying with sopping wet hair.

The Fix: Essentially you’re increasing your blow-dry time, and therefore the potential for damage, if you start on saturated hair. Instead, let your hair air dry for a while, or remove hair moisture with the blow-dryer and your fingers or a paddle brush. Pros recommend waiting until your hair is 80 to 90 percent dry before beginning your round brush-and-blow-dryer blowout.

The Mistake: You’re not layering your hair styling products properly.

The fix: Hairstyling professionals know how to build the right sequence of hair products into the hair. When hair is completely wet, they work in a styling crème for a sleek result on coarse or thick hair, or a volumizing mousse or spray if the goal is fullness for fine hair. Then when the hair is about 80 percent dry, they’ll hit it with a heat protection spray. Finally, when the blow-dry is complete, (and only then), you can mist your hair with hairspray to lock the hairstyle into place.

The Mistake: You’re not using enough tension when blow-drying your curly hair.

The fix: Curly hair requires lots of “stretch” in order to achieve a smooth blow dry.  So place the brush in a section of hair, stretch the hair, dry and then hold the section taut for a few seconds before releasing it. This allows the hair to “set” and prevents you from having to go over the section repeatedly in order to smooth out the curl. Once your hair is dry, refrain from touching it until it’s completely cool. That’s when the blow-dry is actually “set.” 

The Mistake: You’re using the wrong hair brush.

The fix: If you’re using a round brush, you have a choice between hair brushes made of metal and brushes made of natural boar bristles. Metal conducts heat quickly, so a metal brush will speed up your blow-dry, but it could also cause heat damage if your hair is fine or fragile. Boar bristle brushes are the tools of choice for most hairstylists when they’re drying thick or coarse hair. They believe the bristles provide great grip, but they don't overheat, which prevents dryness or damage. Finally, if you’re blow-drying short hair, try an oval styling brush. Use the brush to wrap sections of hair around your head—this will smooth your hair without creating too much lift.

The Mistake: You’re not getting enough lift when blow-drying hair.

The fix: A great blow-dry doesn’t just smooth the ends, it can also produce a nice boost at the roots, especially on long hair. To prepare for lift-off, apply a root-boosting mousse or hair spray to the scalp area when your hair is damp. Then as you dry each section, flip the hair in the opposite direction from which it will eventually lie. This technique is referred to as over-direction. Let each section cool completely before flipping it back. Do this throughout the top sections, and your long hairstyle will be much bouncier.

The Mistake: You’re not styling your hair to make the most of your hair color.

The Fix: Those buttery blonde balayage highlights you budget for so carefully? The glorious chestnut hair color that makes you feel so alluring? They don’t mean a thing if they ain’t got that swing. Meaning, a sleek hair blow-out is a must for making beautiful hair color look its best—shiny, supple and glossy. Blow-drying your hairstyle closes the outer cuticle of the hair, giving each strand the ability to reflect light and deflect hair frizz. Your hair color will look amazing! 

For the perfect blow dry every time, make sure to try Style Link Blowout Cremes for sleek, big, and curvy blow dry looks.