Prev Next

Beauty 101: the Blow Out

By Amalah

Hi, your blog is awesome, and I’m only 16! I have a question, I hear people talking about their hair “blow out” or something like that, but I have no clue what it is. Could you explain it?
-not even going to try to make up something funny to put here

Aw, if I may get REAL OLD and possibly a bit patronizing here, but aren’t you the cutest thing! Tell your mother I’m very sorry about all the cursing.
Essentially, a blow out is just another name for blow drying your hair, although there is a difference between the half-assed “I’m late and my hair is dripping wet quick blast it with the dryer and shove it into a clip” blow dry that many of us do and a real, true “blow out.”
Think about getting your hair done at the salon and the time-consuming, piece-by-piece blow dry you get there. Your hair is left perfectly straight and bouncy and full of volume and shine and awesome. And then this awesomeness usually lasts a day or two and then you try to blow dry it and hmm. It’s not so bouncy and maybe a little bendy or wavy or frizzy. And then you might run back to the salon to cry to your stylist because your new haircut looked SO GREAT before and now it looks like warmed-over butt and you don’t know what you’re doing wrong.
That’s a blow out. Some women will actually go to the salon JUST for a shampoo and blow dry, before a special occasion, perhaps, like a party or wedding or prom or something. Just because you wear your hair down doesn’t mean that’s automatically a do-it-yourself style. I always schedule my haircuts as close to any type of trip or vacation as possible too, since my salon blow outs last about three days before my hair reverts back to its limp, blah natural state.
But! Of course you can achieve a salon-like blow out at home. It just takes patience, the right tools and some pretty good upper arm muscles. Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, a blowout will take about 20-40 minutes.
First, wash and condition your hair, and then blot out as much excess moisture as you can with a towel.
Second, apply product. This can be a leave-in conditioner or anti-frizz spray or heat protector or straightening cream or volumizing mousse or any other miracle-in-a-bottle that you like. (I use a detangler, some root lift and sometimes the to curb the fly-aways and add some texture.)
Third, get your hair even more dry with a blast of the blow dryer. I like to get my hair to just-vaguely-damp — any wetter and I will be blow drying for the rest of the day. My stylist always starts by aiming at the roots from underneath and pulling them up with his fingers, and then lifts and separates the ends with his fingers. There isn’t a whole lot of finesse needed for this step — just get your hair to a not-super-wet state that’s easier to work with.
175.jpgNext, separate your hair into pieces. How many sections depends on your cut and the thickness of your hair. I have a layered cut so first I clip up my short layers (I use flat clips like the one pictured) into three sections, and then separate the longer sections (the two front sides and the back) and clip them or wrap them VERY LOOSELY with hair bands. Braids or buns will work well too.
Okay, now you’re ready to start really blowing pieces of hair out. Again, the size of the section of hair you want to work with depends on hair length and texture. The smaller the pieces, the longer it will take, but the more control you’ll get.
First, lift the roots up with your fingers and get that part completely dry. Then wrap the rest of the piece around a round brush and get as much tension and tightness as you can. Pull the brush out and through the ends while blasting your hair with hot air, preferably using an angled attachment on your dryer. Angle the dryer directly straight down into your hair — this helps with frizz. Repeat this wrap/pull/dry movement two or three times until the piece is completely dry, making sure to blast the piece and the ESPECIALLY the ends with cold air at the end to “set” it. This will lock in the volume and the direction of the ends (whether you want them curled under, flipped out or completely straight).
And then you do this on your entire head, section by section, piece by piece. When you get to the back of your head you’ll understand what I meant by arm muscles.
Annnnd then you’re done! I sometimes spray some shine serum afterwards, avoiding the roots, although if I’ve used the Surf Spray I skip this and add nothing.

Published April 7, 2008. Last updated April 7, 2008.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon
chat bubble icon