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Secret tricks of round brushing and blowouts

Behind the scenes of a fashion show, product is applied before final styling.
Behind the scenes of a fashion show, product is applied before final styling.
getty, FDP

My first memory of a round brush is getting it stuck in my long hair as a curious 5-year-old, having gotten my hair wrapped around my moms strange-looking round brush while playing. It's not a pleasant memory. I always had a "tender head," and looking back, it probably would've been less painful to just cut my hair off rather than try to pry my hair from around that stupid brush.

Get a smooth but full-bodied look with these tricks.

It wasn't until I was being trained as a hairdresser many years later that I not only tried a round brush again, but actually learned why they are beneficial and how to use them. Using a round brush, in my opinion, is the single most important thing you can do if you want more volume at your roots and/or smoother, more controllable hair.

Using a round brush will give you more volume, style control and smoothness- but only if you are doing it the right way. Here are a few quick tips to using a round brush the way the pros do.

  • If you're going to go to the effort of roundbrushing or "blowing out" your hair, don't forget product. Using a thickener or styling creme, and/or a root booster, gives your hair the ability to hold volume, shape and style better and longer. Straight hair, thin hair and fine hair are the most likely to "fall flat" or lose style if there's no product to help it.
  • The one thing that will make the biggest difference in your round brushing is this: don't even pick up your round brush until your hair is 90% dry! If you are roundbrushing wet hair, you are wasting your time and energy. Dry your hair with just the blow dryer and your hands until your hair is almost completely dry- you should be able to feel just a tiny bit of dampness. It's at that point that you start round brushing- starting any sooner has absolutely no effect.
  • There are two things that determine what size brush you should be using: hair length and how curly or straight your goal is. If your hair is short, your round brush should be smaller in diameter. Otherwise, you should choose a larger sized brush (1 1/2" - 2 1/2" are the most commonly preferred for medium and longer hair.) The only exception is if you are trying to add some curl or wave to your style. If that's the case, you can use a smaller-sized brush which will help add some wave (though you'll still probably need to add some curl with an iron or rollers later.)
  • Ever wondered what that "cool button" on your dryer is for? Here's a biggie: as you're roundbrushing, blast the hair and brush with your hot dryer, but then blast it with the cool button. The heat helps hair form into the shape of the brush, and letting it cool down on the brush helps keep it in that shape. Another option is to let the hair sit on the brush for several seconds before taking the brush out. This, too, lets the hair cool down in the shape of the brush, and it will hold that shape longer and better.
  • The higher above the part or section line you hold the brush, the more volume you're pumping in. If you hold the brush up high, in relation to where the hair is being pulled from, you'll get maximum volume. If you hold the brush straight out from the section, or even lower than the section, your volume will be minimized for a flatter look.
  • Finally, applying a shine or finishing serum to blown out or roundbrushed hair will add shine, softness and a bit of hold to your style. Just remember to keep the serum at the ends and midstrands- applying it at the roots can bring on a greasy look.

At this point, you may want to continue on with a curling or flat iron or rollers, but even if you don't, you'll have extra volume and smoothness you just can't get without the boost of using a round brush.


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