How to actually use your hairdryer's diffuser

07 November 2019 | By Anna-Bet Stemmet

Have you ever bought a new hairdryer, only to find a perplexing attachment with a bunch of odd-looking spikey things in the box? That, ladies and gents, is a diffuser – one of the more confusing elements of the modern-day hair-drying repertoire. Fear not! We’ve set out to find out all about this baffling contraption and we’re ready to report back with findings.


We recently caught up with Deidré Geldenhuys, owner and head stylist at Piatra's Hair Design, to find out more about the mythical diffuser and what it is used for. Here is what she had to say.

What is a diffuser used for? 

“A diffuser is most often used by people with curly hair. At the salon, this is our primary use for this tool; I actually use it on myself as well since I’ve realised that I have a bit of a kink in my hair,” explains Deidré. “A conventional hairdryer is built to expel air on a focussed point - the diffuser spreads this warm air over a larger area. This is why it works so well for curly hair; the diffused air does not blow the curl apart. That means the natural pattern stays intact.”

How do you use it? 

“Wash your hair as normal. Take a moment to comb your hair before you rinse out your conditioner. Towel dry your hair don't touch it with a comb or a brush once the conditioner is out - a soft, microfibre towel works well, or try an old T-shirt at home if you don't want to spend money on a new towel. Next, add a bit of product. We use a balm, mousse, or curling cream at the salon,” recommends Deidré.

“When you're ready, throw your hair forward and use the hairdryer with the diffuser attachment to dry your hair. There is one of two ways to do this - you can either use massaging motions on the scalp, or you can use your hand to scrunch up sections of your hair and hold it in place on your scalp with the diffuser to form curls. The first option works well if your hair has a kink instead of a defined curl, while the second option is tailormade for people with bona fide curly hair.”

TOP TIP: New at the diffuser game? Start at a low temperature and speed setting. This will allow you to get to grips with your curl pattern before it sets in a way you don't like. Also, don't dry your hair 100%. Leave a little moisture in there so your curls can gain a bit of bounce while the last hint of moisture evaporates naturally. 

How to clean your diffuser

“Because we use product in the drying process at the salon, we clean our hairdryers and diffusers regularly. The same goes for our brushes and flatirons,” explains Deidré. “If you don't clean it often, product residue builds up and could clog up the vents of the diffuser, causing it to overheat. This is very dangerous, because hairdryers have been known to explode due to overheating.” 
“Cleaning your diffuser is very simple - wait until it has cooled down sufficiently after use and use a damp cloth to wipe it down. Do this every time and you won't need to mess around with any chemicals like surgical spirits.”

IMAGE CREDIT: 123rf.com

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