Image via the LIFE photo archive
For the benefit of my foreign readers, much of Australia is currently in the grip of a four day heatwave, the kind that fells the elderly and buckles train lines and makes front-page news. It’s incredibly hot at night, too, so hot that last night I put a flat sheet through the spin cycle of the washing machine and slept beneath it. It should ease a little by the weekend, but until then using a hairdryer is absolutely, positively out of the question.
There’s a technique to air-drying, believe it or not, regardless of your hair type. For reference I have fine, tangle prone hair that’s ringlet curly in some parts, wavy in others, and dead straight around the nape of my neck, a section that seemingly loves growing faster than the rest of my hair, making me look as though I have extensions. I can reliably coax it into fairly uniform waves, though, if I follow these steps.
– Find the right products. I like to use a light styling cream (at the moment I love Kev Murphy’s Motion Lotion, even if it does have a rather porny name), and then when my hair is 95% dry I spray a curl refreshing spray through the ends (my MOP curl refreshing spray is almost empty, and I’m keen to try EVO liquid rollers and why is it that new haircare brands insist on spelling their name in all caps?) I keep meaning to buy a colour protecting spray to put over that, and I’m working through the last of my Frederic Fekkai Summer Hair spray. I’ll probably go for KMS Colour Protect next, because it isn’t too expensive.
– Don’t comb! I used to comb through with a wide tooth comb, but on my hair this just disrupts the curl pattern. As soon as you step out of the shower you need to handle your hair as little as possible. Flip your head upside down and use a towel to squeeze out just a little water, just enough so the dripping doesn’t drive you crazy. Squeeze the ends up to the roots, like scrunching but without the late 80s name. At this stage I work through my cream of choice, by squeezing it through the ends. I get along with the rest of my toilette, then squeeze out my hair again using a t-shirt. The t-shirt is vitally important. A towel won’t remove enough moisture, so if you towel you’ll have to keep towelling and towelling and frizzing and disturbing the curl pattern. Use a t-shirt, squeeze from ends to roots, comb out and blow-dry your fringe if you have it, then do. Not. Touch. Have breakfast. Fidget with your bag. Get dressed. Engage in a lengthy inner dialogue about whether you’ll wear gloss or lipstick or balm today. Make fun of the cat. It takes around 40 minutes for me to get ready after I’ve showered, and this is roughly the amount of time it takes for my hair to dry to 95%. Spray your ends, squeeze again, spray on your sunscreen, out the door.
Now take your lovely hair somewhere with air conditioning and stay there until this all goes away.