How To Air Dry Curly Hair Fast: 5 Effective Ways to Try!

Want to learn how to air dry curly hair fast without altering your natural curl pattern?

Beautiful and natural curls are to die for, but maintaining your curl formation may be difficult, especially if you want to air dry your hair. 

The air drying process can be quite elaborate and time-consuming, I’m not going to lie!

But the best part is there are some ways to render your wet hair dry without using direct heat! 

Let’s get started then, shall we? 

5 Quick Tips for Air Drying Curly Hair Efficiently

Now that we are embarking on this journey of getting ridiculously sexy curls without a hair dryer, let’s start from the very beginning. 

1. Shampoo and condition your hair

The secret to having the curls of your dreams lie in what hair products you use on your tresses, of course! Are you using a shampoo and conditioner meant, especially for curly hair? 

Black woman shampooing her hair

Curls need extra moisture to help them get the bouncy, carefree look we adore. Naeemah Lafond, global artistic director for Amika says (1),

“You have to cleanse your hair without stripping it of its natural oils. It is imperative for curly hair to be hydrated to maximize its curl formation.”

2. Wrap your hair in a microfiber towel

I personally love a microfiber towel for its ability to get rid of excess moisture fast! It is highly absorbent and soft and my curls absolutely love it. 

senior lady holding her face

The best part is it also helps to tame flyaways and frizz. It also cuts down on breakage and split ends. Now, who wouldn’t want that? 

Check out this awesome video on how to use microfiber towel.

@melissaaxrx Reply to @xx.thisrandomperson.xx microfiber towel for the win! #foryou #hairtutorial #hairtips #howto #haircare ♬ Like That (feat. Gucci Mane) – Doja Cat

Haven’t got a microfiber towel? A cotton t-shirt or a cotton towel may do the job as well. But whatever you do, please don’t use regular towels on your strands. 

3. Use a wide-toothed comb

Start detangling your damp hair with a wide-toothed comb. (2) You will not only get rid of your tangled hair but also promote airflow in your hair strands. 

Make sure to do this while your hair is still damp. Some people wait until the hair is almost dry before they untangle their hair. 

Doing so can cause you to get frizz in your strands. If you have tight curls like me, you may benefit by using extra-hydration conditioners to smoothen the strands.

If you’re exploring hair styling options, don’t miss our articles on how to make curly hair permanently straight and achieving heatless curls with a robe tie

4. Add some air-dry hair products

Thanks to technology and all the hard work put in by hairstylists and developers over the world, we now have several air-dry hair products to help our strands dry better. 

Check out this awesome video on how to airdry hair.

@louisarose213 Reply to @oatmilklatteaddict here are my favorite tips for air drying! I hope this helps ? #curlyhairtutorial #airdry ♬ Stuck In The Middle – Tai Verdes

I like using a styling cream that won’t weigh my curls down and adds tons of moisture to my dry curls. 

It is crucial to use a styling product on the wet hair when you are air drying it because your hair is more prone to frizz while getting it air-dried. (3) 

5. Leave it to dry

This is probably the easiest step in the entire drying process. You’ve done your part: used a good hydrating shampoo and moisturizer, got rid of the excess moisture, and used air-dry hair products! 

Now you go about your tasks and let the air around you dry your hair for you. Before you know it, your hair is 100% dry and your curls are kicking! Now, isn’t that the dream? 

woman with BEACHY WAVE hair

I have reasonably thin hair and it takes me about an hour to get my curls 100% dry. Depending on how thick your hair is, it may take you an hour to three to get them fully dry. 

How to Air-dry Curly Hair Overnight

Another method of drying the hair without using heat is to wash your hair at night and leave the curls to dry while you sleep. The ultimate multitasking, if you ask me! 

I love the curls that come out in the morning because this means mother nature does its job while I’m peacefully sleeping away. Here’s how you do this. 

Repeat steps 1 to 3

The first three steps in the air-drying process are the same. Wash your hair with a hydrating shampoo, apply some conditioner, and rinse away. 

Towel dry your hair and detangle your strands with a wide-toothed comb. 

4. Use a leave-in conditioner

Step 4 is a bit different. In the air-drying process, we use an air-dry product that helps dry the strands faster. Air dry formulas are made with starches that soak moisture from the hair faster. 

woman putting on a hair moisturizer

Since you’re leaving your hair to dry overnight, you don’t need an air-dry formula to cut down on drying time. Instead, I divide my hair into sections and apply a leave-in conditioner. 

A leave-in conditioner helps keep my strands moisturized while it dries slowly overnight. 

5. Plop away

Plopping is a method that helps give you the best-looking curls without using heat! Yeap, you heard that right. 

Plopping requires a cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel to wrap around your head while the curls are still wet. 

I like to spread my big cotton shirt (and we’ve all got a big freakin’ shirt, for sure) on my bed after I’ve undergone steps 1 to 4.

Then, with my head upside down, I slowly lay my hair over it, making sure the curls are forming right. 

The next step is to wrap the sleeves around the head while my hair is still upside down. Secure the sleeves around your head and voila! 

This may have been a tad too difficult to understand if you’re new to plopping, so here’s a video to show you exactly what I’m talking about. 

Do this right and you will never wake up with bad curls. Ever! 

4 Tips When Air Drying Curling Hair

1. Don’t pile your hair while shampooing

Professional hair stylist Nelson Vercher says, “One thing you must be careful not to do while shampooing the hair is piling it on top of your head with shampoo in it—always keep your hair loose and hanging downwards.” 

This method of shampooing helps prevent the hair from getting frizzy and does not alter the shape of your curls. 

2. Detangle hair in the shower

You can detangle your hair in the shower itself while you have your conditioner on. Apply a good conditioner liberally on all the hair strands and comb through with your wide comb before rinsing. 

This can help you style your curls better without disrupting your natural curl pattern. 

3. Use a ‘wet’ dry shampoo

You certainly don’t want to wash your hair daily, and it is not recommended for curls. You may be tempted to reach for your dry shampoo, but your curls may need some extra help! 

The latest in hair technology for curly hair is ‘wet’ dry shampoos. These water-based sprays help reset the style while adding moisture to the hair. 

They also help to remove creases in your curls and any odor or grease that may have formed on the scalp after a day or two of washing. 

Here’s another cool tip on how to airdry hair.

@mattloveshair @aquishair gets hair dry SO fast! If I need to dry my hair quick I grab this wrap! #hairtowel #wethair ♬ THE YEAH SONG – Gregg Allen

4. Take care of your curls

Everyone has different hair and texture. It is best to take the time to learn what works on your hair and what doesn’t to figure out the perfect way to style your hair. 

lady spraying her hair to make the curls set

Here are some products you can use on your curls.

@galhascurlyhair #easycurlroutine #airdrycurls #howtostylecurlyhair @lush @lusbrands #gifted ♬ Lights Are On – Tom Rosenthal

Anu Prestonia, professional hair stylist and founder of Anu Essentials, says,

“My primary tip is to take the time to know your hair. What works for the girl on YouTube may not work for you, particularly if your hair is a totally different texture.” 


What is the fastest way to air dry hair? 

The best way to cut down on your drying time is to get rid of all the excess water in your wet hair. When you don’t have soaking wet strands, you will significantly reduce your dry time and get dry hair faster. 

Is it better to let curly hair air dry? 

Regardless of your hair type, it is best to steer clear of the blow dryer and cut down on heat damage. Air drying is best for the hair as it helps your hair strands maintain their moisture level and retain curl patterns.

How do you dry curly hair fast without a hair dryer? 

To effectively start air drying your hair, you can begin by blotting your wet hair strands with a microfiber towel. Brush your hair with a wide-tooth comb and wring your hair to get rid of the water molecules. 

Can air drying hair cause damage? 

Recent studies have shown that the longer your hair is wet, the more damage it may face around the cortex of the hair strands. It may also break and swell resulting in fragile ends. As such, it is best to air dry the hair fast. 


Curly hair is quite different from straight hair. For starters, curls require more moisture than your average straight hair. Using hot tools on the hair will only strip it of its moisture, causing its health to falter and look frizzy and limp. 

Now that you know how to air dry curly hair fast, do your hair a favor by bidding goodbye to your dryer and embracing the air around you to dry your hair instead.

Not only will your curls look and feel beautiful, but you will also be retaining the moisture of your hair strands. 

Do you have other tips on how to air dry curly hair? Please share below!


1. 18 Best Shampoos for Curly Hair, According to Celebrity Hairstylists [Internet]. ELLE. 2019 [cited 2023 Aug 3]. Available from:

2. Ask a Beauty Editor: How to Dry Your Hair Faster Without a Blow Dryer [Internet]. Real Simple. [cited 2023 Aug 3]. Available from:

3. Air Drying vs. Diffusing [Internet]. LUS Brands. [cited 2023 Aug 3]. Available from:

About Sylvia K

Sylvia is one of the most joyful people you’ll ever meet. She is a high advocate of self-love and encourages women to take care of themselves both mentally and physically. She loves girly talks especially salon talks (a little gossip doesn’t hurt) and spends most of her free time on skincare or hair care. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. Find her on LINKEDIN. Learn more about her HERE.

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