Caring for, drying and styling curly hair as you would other hair types can lead to disaster.
Ethan King, salon owner and curly hair educator, shares his professional tips on the art of drying curly hair:
1. Go for soak.
Those not versed in styling curly hair always fall at the first hurdle because it seems counterintuitive. We all automatically give the hair a squeeze after shampooing to remove excess water, but with curly hair you may want as much moisture as you can get. I don't squeeze immediately. My first move is to apply my chosen cocktail of prescribed styling products and disperse through the lengths while hair remains very wet.
2. Do the plop.
The next step–plopping–is the most important, and for this you need a non-plastic microfiber towel. Plopping is a term familiar to every curly hair specialist. Using a Scrummi, you fold over one long edge, place it on the forehead and then ask the guest to lean forward, allowing you to position the hair forward into the Scrummi. Next you bring the long ends of the towel to the back, securing them in place by tucking the towel. The guest then sits back, making it easy to fold the rest of the towel around the hair. I leave it in place to do its magic. Don't use a cotton towel, because plopping with a Scrummi soaks up the moisture without disrupting the curl or displacing the styling product.
3. Take your time.
You mustn't rush plopping because, depending on hair type, you want an exact amount of moisture in place before the next and final step toward perfection. I leave the Scrummi wrapped for as long as 15 minutes because I may need a dryer curl to work with to achieve my goal and to avoid wasting time as I diffuse. Our new salon is focused on sustainability, but that's not the only reason we use Scrummi. The plant-based, plastic-free fabric is more absorbent than cotton but, more importantly, it has a consistent quality so I can guarantee every time exactly how much moisture each towel will remove over a set period."
4. Don't air the hair.
It might take a couple of visits to prove to a new client why diffusing their hair is better than air-drying, but not often. Some come to me believing letting it dry naturally is better for their hair or that they don't have time for diffusing. But air-drying can create frizz and dampen volume. It can also take so long with some textures that hair may start to smell of mildew. Plopping correctly means I can get out the diffuser confident of the finish and aware of exactly how long the drying process will take. My clients are convinced pretty quickly.