Skip to content

Hair diffuser: methods and technhow to use the hair diffuser correctly

A workman is only ever as good as their tools, so it pays to have the right one to hand when drying and styling curly hair. For beautiful, bouncy curls, that particular tool is a hair diffuser, which will have been specially designed to efficiently dry and enhance this hair type without compromising on its health. Read on to find out why curly hair diffusers are so special, with a deep dive into how they work and what they can do for your strands.

The magic behind the diffuser: how it works

What’s so special about a hair diffuser? Well, quite a lot of things, actually. These are the technical features that make diffusers the best possible tool for drying and styling curly hair – you can thank us later.

Low heat and speed settings

When you’re styling straight hair, you want to use high heat and high-speed settings to smooth the hair into submission fast. Curly hair, on the other hand, requires a more softly-softly approach. Due to its bendy, spiral or zig-zag shape, this hair type is naturally prone to breakage, which means that overheating it will cause it to become brittle and frail quite quickly. Equally, using over-zealous speed settings will make your hair look like it’s been through a wind tunnel, encouraging frizz and combining your curls into one big clump, rather than giving them that gorgeous springy definition you were hoping for. Slow and low is best. 

Perforated grid

Unlike smoothing hair dryer nozzles where the air is concentrated through one large gap, diffusers use a series of perforations to allow for a more even flow. This means that no one section ends up hotter, or is blown with more gusto, than any other, for consistent curls across your entire head. 

Wide surface area

As you’re working at lower speed and temperature settings than with a standard hair dryer, diffusing curly hair can be quite time-consuming. The good news, though, is that the large surface area of a diffuser allows you to dry generous sections of hair at once, so you’re not stuck styling strand by strand. 

Finger coiling

Ideally, unless it’s wet (and we mean straight-from-the-shower sopping rather than lightly damp) you shouldn’t be using brushes or combs on curly hair. Brushing or combing hair when it’s dry, or has started to dry, will just create a fluffy, frizzy mess and flatten your spirals. 

Despite this, most of us feel we could still benefit from a brush when styling, then that’s where the finger-like nodules on a curly hair diffuser come into their own. 

They can be teased into the hair in circular motions to define your spirals or smoothed down through strands to stretch out afro hair and counteract shrinkage – both without encouraging frizz. 

Caring coating 

Most curly hair diffusers have a ceramic coating on the outside that gives them a slightly glossy finish. This isn’t just there to look pretty though, and serves a purpose by making the product gentler on the hair than if it was made from uncoated metal or plastic. Ceramic coatings also help to distribute heat properly, reduce frizz and increase shine. Not bad for a top coat, eh? 

Looking for a way to make your curls last longer between washes? Discover "The ultimate guide to keeping your curls looking great between washes".


Why the diffuser is a must-have in your curly hair styling routine

We’ve covered the how and the what, but now for the why – why is a diffuser such an important part of your curly hair styling routine? This is exactly why you need one on your dressing table. 

It helps to define curls

A key area where a hair diffuser has the upper hand over your average hairdryer is when it comes to definition. As a diffuser dries the hair slowly and gently, rather than blowing it around in all directions, and also has nodules you can circle into the hair, it’ll create clearly separate curls rather than turning them into one big ball. 

It reduces damage 

As they work on lower heat and speed settings, and distribute the airflow over a wide surface area, curly hair diffusers are much kinder to your hair than any other kind of heat tool. Keep in mind that curly hair is more prone to damage than straight hair too, so really needs this extra level of TLC. 

It minimises frizz

girl with afro hair

Curly hair is more likely to frizz than other hair types, as the bendy shape of the strands means the cuticles that coat them can’t slot together neatly, leaving gaps for moisture to make its way in. Heat styling the hair provides a change in temperature from cold to hot that works to seal the cuticles, helping them to lie flatter on our strands. Also remember that the more damaged hair is, the more your cuticles will flare, so committing to using a diffuser will help keep this to a minimum

It’ll save you time compared to air-drying

Air drying is widely considered to be better for your hair than blow drying, but it extends the amount of time your hair is wet – and when curly hair is wet, it’s most likely to break. 

If you’re going to bed with wet hair, even the friction between your hair and the pillow can be enough to snap strands. Plus, unless you stay perfectly still all night (and be honest, who does?), tossing and turning will rough up the cuticle and lead to frizz. Using a diffuser to efficiently dry your strands and set your curls in place is healthier for your hair, and will help to keep your style frizz-free between washes. 

It can be tailored to suit your unique curl pattern

two girls with afro hair

There’s no one way to use a diffuser, and you can adapt the techniques based on your hair type, curl pattern and the kind of finish you want to achieve. For example, if you have 2A curls that are more wave than spiral, you might want to diffuse the hair upside down to really encourage bounce and spring. Or, for 4C curls, you could either hover diffuse by holding the tool away from your hair for healthy elasticity and shrinkage or stretch diffuse by drawing the nodules through the hair to elongate your coils. 

Diffuse your curls like a pro with Bellissima Diffon

diffuser curly hairNot all curly hair diffusers are created equal, in fact, far from it. In addition to all the things we’ve already chatted about, like gentle heat and speed settings, a wide surface area and finger coiling, these are the extra features that set the Diffon Supreme apart from the crowd… 

  • Low wattage: We’re conditioned to think that bigger always means better, but the low wattage of the Diffon hair diffuser doesn’t make it any less mighty. It’s a deliberate choice that enables the diffusing process to replicate the effects of air drying, just at a faster rate, so you preserve the pattern of your curls and don’t cause any unnecessary damage. 

  • Built-in diffuser head: If the annoyance of the attachment constantly falling off (and then burning your fingers as you try to put it back on) has put you off curly hair diffusers in the past, you’ll be pleased to know that the Diffon is built-in. Also, the entire tool has been created with curly hair in mind, rather than a hairdryer that’s been predominately designed for straight hair but can be used with a diffuser attachment as an add-on. This means every tiny detail of the functionality and design is focused on getting the best out of your curls. 

  • Ergonomic design: Mastering the art of diffusing can take a little practice, but thanks to the ergonomic design the Diffon stylers are easy to hold and handle at all angles, so you won’t end up with tired and achy arms in the process. 

Looking for a way to make your curls last longer between washes?

Shh... this one's for you

Sign up here for exclusive hair tips 'n' tricks AND 10% off your first order.

onda newsletter