The simplest way to dry hair is to take a soft, absorbent towel and mop up as much water as possible, leaving the sunshine to do the rest.

The hardest (and most harmful) way is to put rollers into wet hair and then go to sleep. But the most effective way to dry your hair (since sunshine doesn’t come to order) is to use a hair-dryer and blow dry hair into shape. This also ensures a good hairstyle after shampooing.

The combination of a hot and regular air flow ensures hair dries in the quickest possible time. As long as you don’t hold the dryer in a constant position too close to your hair, blow drying won’t hurt hair.

Take a look at the heat settings on your dryer. Most have two and sometimes even more temperature settings so you can have a hot or cool air flow. This is to allow you to first dry your hair using the hot air flow. You can’t style wet hair but you can style almost-dry hair, so the hot air prepares the hair for styling.

After blotting excess water from your hair with a towel, hold the dryer at least 20cm (about 8 inches) from your hair and run your fingers through it or comb it with a wide-toothed comb while you move the dryer up and down the hair from scalp to ends.

Then switch to a lower heat setting and use a styling brush to hold hair in shape while you complete the drying. Simply brush down the length of the hair, one section at a time, and keep the dryer trained on that section. Wind hair firmly round the brush for curves, and hold in place while moving the dryer slowly down the hair.

Few dryers overheat so you don’t have many worries on that score. Do remember to keep hot air off your scalp; it can cause dryness and flaking. Training hot air on one spot without moving it, and keeping it too close to the hair at the same time, can also cause dryness and brittle hair.

Watch your hairdresser the next time you have your hair blown dry professionally – you will learn a lot.

Tips for home drying

  • Always section the hair, pinning back wet hair not being dried at the time.
  • Always make sure the air flow follows the line of your hair in a downward direction, from scalp to hair end (forget this and you’ll find your head surrounded by flyaway hairs!).
  • Roll hair round your styling brush but don’t pull it taut – this could break, or at any rate, stretch the hair.
  • Pick a dryer that directs air from a large aperture for maximum drying power.
  • When your hair is dry, put a tiny amount of hair finishing cream onto the tips of your fingers and stroke this over the very ends of your hair. It will lend a shine and a protective coat to vulnerable hair ends.

How to keep a curl in your hair

Use your blow dryer for shaping smooth, loose curls without frizz. When hair is almost dry and ready to be styled, take a round brush (large for big floppy waves, small for soft springy curls) and wind sections of hair around the brush while the hot air from your dryer sets the curl.

Allow hair to cool on the brush before gently unwinding it and moving on to another section.

When doing the hair on the crown, lift sections high off your head while drying them, and pay attention to the base of each section. This will give hair the most bounce after blow drying.

Finally, for really lasting curls, you can use a setting lotion before blow drying. Wet your comb with setting lotion and run it through each section of hair before you blow dry.

How to get a curl out of your hair

A dryer with a brush attachment is best. This way you have one hand free to hold your hair straight out from your head, while the other hand holds the dryer.

Run the dryer all over the head to first remove as much excess water as possible. Then section the hair and dry it from the nape of the neck up to the crown, working to the sides and finally the front. Always keep hair held firmly straight out from your head, but don’t drag or pull on it as you dry.

Finish your blow drying with a very light misting of hairspray that holds your hair but allows it to feel natural (most new hair sprays brush out instead of forming a stiff layer on hair). Avoid heavily scented sprays that will clash with the perfume you wear.

You will realize the importance of a really good cut, because it makes hair so much easier to handle successfully at home.