How to Master Every Single Hair Tool You Have

Whether you're going for stick-straight and slick tresses or bouncy, bountiful curls, here's how to wield curling wands, straightening irons, and blow-dryers like a pro.

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The Tool: Blow-Dryer

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Tip No. 1: Perfect the Pre-Dry

Before you even pick up a blow-dryer, make sure your hair isn't completely sopping. "It's all about the pre-dry," says Naeemah LaFond, global artistic director of Amika, a hair-care line that specializes in innovative heat tools and styling products. "Depending on your hair type, 50 to 75 percent of water should be out of your hair," she says, noting that fine hair can be on the wetter side, while curly hair should err on the drier side.

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Tip No. 2: Not All at Once, Now

"If you don't section off your hair, you will most likely have wet spots," LaFond says. "Four sections is good to start off with—part from the forehead back and from ear to ear." To keep the separation, secure each piece with section clips until they're next in line for a blast of air.

Tip No. 3: Flip It

When you want a volume-heavy blowout, turn your hair upside down. "Flip your head over and blow-dry hair so that strands stand up at the root," LaFond says. When you want a sleek look, take a more casual, less acrobatic approach. "Keep your head upright and blow-dry the hair down in the direction you want it to go."

Tip No. 4: Know Your Nozzles

Waves and curls can get in on the dryer love, too! Just make sure you're using the correct attachment to best enhance ringlets and coils. "The diffuser attachment doesn't allow the dryer to aggressively blow air at your hair," LaFond says. "Instead, it concentrates the amount of heat so that your hair stays in place, which helps stave off frizziness."

The Tool: Curling Iron

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Tip No. 1: Work With Your Texture

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There isn't a universal rule for using a curling iron, so it's all about knowing your hair type—and how to manipulate it. "If you leave fine hair on heat for too long, the warmth will allow the curl to drop later," LaFond says. Instead of a long hold, do a quick hit with the iron, then pin the curl until the section has cooled. "For thick, coarse hair, leave strands on a little bit longer, as that helps the curl stay," LaFond adds.

Tip No. 2: The Clamp Is Optional

Forget about the iron clamp when you want to achieve casual waves. "Wrap your hair around the entire curling iron, so that you have more of a loose wave instead of a classic curl at the end," LaFond says. Just be mindful of how close your hands are getting to the hot wand.

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The Tool: Brush

Tip No. 1: Pick the Right Brush

Yet again, your hair type affects the way you use your tools—especially a brush. So if you want to blow out your curly hair, invest in boar bristles. "A boar bristle brush is better for your wavy and curly textures," LaFond says. "The bristles are a lot thicker, and they can help smooth and straighten the hair out." And as you'll find out below, metal brushes give fine hair more volume.

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Tip No. 2: Use It as a Curling Iron

For those of you looking to pump up the volume, a metal brush should be a fixture in your arsenal. "Metal round brushes can substitute for a curling iron, because the metal warms up," LaFond says. "Roll your hair onto the brush and then hit it with heat from your blow-dryer."

The Tool: Flat Iron

Tip No. 1: Use Protection

Frequent use of your heat tools causes damage such as dryness and breakage. But, if you prep your hair before you straighten, your strands will be better protected from the direct heat. If you don't like using product, don't fret: a protectant serum won't kill your style's vibe. "Just use a few drops of serum—it won't change the final outcome of your hair," LaFond says.

Tip No. 2: Use Your Discretion

If there's no need to flat iron all of your hair, then don't! "Focus on the areas that need it," LaFond says. "Say you're growing out a keratin treatment. If that's the case, just flat iron the roots and slightly touch up the ends."

Tip No. 3: Comb Through, Girl

Integrate a comb into your straightening routine to get out any bumps or knots that could get in the way. "Take a section of your hair and put the comb into it," LaFond says. "Place the flat iron above the comb and work your way down. The comb is going to help keep your hair nice and flat so you only have to pass the iron once over the section." This process will reduce heat damage and will cut down on time!

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