I don’t know about you, but lately, I’ve been loving the trend (could you even call it a trend?) of embracing one’s natural beauty. Now, we certainly have a long way to go before every hair texture, body type, and skin color is equally represented in the media, but there is a slow and steady movement in the beauty industry towards progress. It’s time to embrace what your mama gave you versus forcing your body to conform to a certain mold. I love that many women no longer feel the need to pluck their brows to death or cover up their freckles. In the hair space, I’ve been thrilled to see many women move away from the idea that locks should always be stick-straight or perfectly blown-out (who has the time or money for that?) and are instead embracing air-drying. In that spirit, today we are talking about the best products to air dry hair according to an expert (and some editor picks as well.)

Armed with the right product, any head of hair can reach its full potential without any heat styling—whether it’s fine, straight, curly, coarse, long, or short. When it comes to air drying, hairstylist Betsy Duggan always recommends products that are hydrating and won’t strip your hair of its moisture. She notes: “We are all so color-heavy now that the hair is already very dry and lacking moisture, so to dry it out further is a bad idea.”

Gone are the days of crunchy sprays that leave hair looking like it’s going to snap in half. Read ahead for our air-dry recommendations by hair type—and you can thank me later for the extra time you save in the morning when you kiss your blow dryer goodbye!

R+Co Cool Wind pH Perfect Air-Dry Crème

This cream is formulated to make hair look gorgeous without the use of styling tools. It hydrates, controls, and softens hair so that it stays manageable and fresh all day long.

Buy it here.

Evo Liquid Rollers Curl Balm

If you’ve got curly hair then this is for you. Duggan adores this light-hold hair balm since it not only keeps curls looking gorgeous but also protects against frizz. It’s also great for reviving curls between washes.

Buy it here.

R+Co High Dive Moisture and Shine Crème

Another one of Duggan’s go-to’s, this cream is a total dream regardless of whether you’re air or blow-drying. It’s a leave-in moisturizer that will keep your hair hydrated and shiny while protecting it from the elements.

Buy it here.

Pattern Wash and Go Bundle

Duggan and her team love Tracee Ellis Ross’ hair care line for those with curls, coils, and tightly textured hair. This bundle includes a leave-in conditioner, curl gel, hydrating mist, and hair pick. They are all are super moisturizing and help your hair to air-dry beautifully in one cute and effective bundle!

Buy it here.

Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream

If you’re desperately trying to figure out how to air-dry your hair, then check out this high-gloss leave-in conditioner. Duggan swears by it for all hair textures since it moisturizes without weighing it down.

Buy it here.

Scroll on for our editors’ picks for the best products to air dry hair…

Bumble & Bumble Don’t Blow It Thick Hair Styler

Bumble & Bumble formulated two versions of their air dry styler: one for thick hair and one for fine hair. The version pictured here reduces frizz and adds control, while the fine hair version enhances texture and body.

Buy it here.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day In-Shower Styler

The lightweight, silicone-free leave-in (Camille’s favorite!) is perfect for straight to wavy hair. Simply apply to wet hair in the shower and quickly rinse before air-drying for enhancing body, softness, and shine.

Buy it here.

Parlor by Jeff Chastain Reworkable Hold Paste

Got short hair? Apply a bit of this paraben-free paste to add a bit of texture and grit to your crop. Finger-style into place and go!

Buy it here.

True Hydrating Hair Butter

For coarse, dry, hair, this hair butter is perfection. Its ingredient list (shea, honey, coconut, and mango) reads like the components of a delicious smoothie! It truly nourishes locks, whether you’re looking to twist or braid your hair or simply enhance your texture.

Buy it here.

Aveda Phomollient Styling Foam

If your hair tends to fall flat when you air-dry it, try this weightless styling foam. It uses air-infused technology to create body and volume on fine hair.

Buy it here.

Oribe Featherbalm Weightless Styler 

Add shine and style with this lightweight balm. It is specially formulated to smooth and hydrate hair while adding a bit of polish to air-dried textures. As if that weren’t enough, it also strengthens and protects dry, brittle hair.

Buy it here.

REVERIE MILK Anti-Frizz Leave-In Nourishing Treatment

This lightweight leave-in conditioner uses ingredients like amino acids, pracaxi seed oil, and more to strengthen hair, protect color, add softness, increase brightness, enhance silkiness, moisturize, and protect hair against environmental damage. The result is a smooth, healthy shine.

Buy it here.

Odele Air Dry Styler

Keep things affordable with a styler that was designed to work with air-dried hair to smooth, condition, give a soft separation, and enhance natural texture.

Buy it here.

Ouai Air Dry Foam

Save time with this nourishing foam that helps to create waves, detangles, and conditions hair. Even those with stick straight hair will get a yummy, bedhead, tousled look.

Buy it here.

Kristin Ess Weightless Shine Air Dry Crème

Wash your hair and go with this weightless balm. It smooths, shines, and adds a bit of texture for that Cali-cool effortless yet polished look.

Buy it here.

This post was originally published on August 14, 2017, and has since been updated.

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Comments (5)
  1. 1
    sageandloft August 14, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Love these selections! I have pretty fine hair, and I’ve been air drying my whole life – looking forward to trying these out!

    Reply
  2. 2
    Tina Nymann August 14, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks for the tips!
    I too like the idea of air drying my hair, just can’t find the time, as it takes 4 hour for my thick hair to air dry?

    Reply
  3. 3
    Michelle K. August 17, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks for the recs! I’ve always air dried my hair, but I’m looking for something to enhance the look.

    Reply
  4. 4
    Kiri August 17, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    I agree. It’s actually better for your hair to keep the hot air off it and let it dry naturally.
    Great product suggestions however in true keeping it natural style – I don’t use anything.
    Kiri
    Set to Glow
    http://www.settoglow.com.au

    Reply
  5. 5
    Natalie Redman August 18, 2017 at 4:11 am

    That Sea Mist sounds nice!

    Reply