The Air-Dry Products Hairstylists Use When They Don’t Have Time to Style

As much as I’d love to be one of those people who can bake in time to blow out or curl my hair, the truth is that 99.9% of the time, I’m an air-dry gal. I’m lucky that I like my naturally wavy hair texture, but it took a long time to embrace—and even still, there are days when I wish I had a live-in hairstylist to help me zhuzh it, à la a Real Housewife. But since that’s a Bravo-induced fantasy, I thought I’d do the next best thing: ping some of my favorite hairstylists to find out how they recommend styling air-dried hair. Because sometimes even the pros just don’t always have the time or energy. 

These seven incredible hairstylists have product recommendations, from air-dry creams to sprays to hair oils, for every hair type and texture. Keep scrolling to find your perfect picks and enjoy your gorgeous hair, no dryer required.

Fitzsimons, who works with the likes of Khloé Kardashian and Megan Fox, says this leave-in is “a nonnegotiable in my hair routine with clients.” The moisturizing, detangling product is free of harsh ingredients and suitable for all hair types, and “best of all, it leaves you with perfectly air-dried hair, every single time,” according to the celeb stylist.

Fitzsimons says this product from Taraji P. Henson’s line “is a recent favorite of mine with clients.” Not only does it help with styling, but it also hydrates. “The twisting cream softens the hair while also nourishing and locking in moisture,” he explains. “The ingredient-rich formula provides a strong and lasting hold, while perfectly defining and elongating twist-outs, braid-outs, and roller sets. It’s infused with all my favorites: shea butter, mango seed butter, pequi oil, and broccoli-seed oil.”

The celeb stylist “loves” Kristin Ess’s affordable haircare line and says the air-dry cream is a personal favorite. “It works on all hair types, so I can use it with all my clients, and it calms frizz, restores shine, softens, and smooths hair all while saving you precious time in your daily routine,” explains Fitzsimons.

Fitzsimons is also a fan of this easy-to-use hair cream. “Apply through wet or towel-dried hair. Then follow with gentle scrunching to achieve a texture and wave best suited to your hair,” he advises. “Unique ingredients like blue algae protect against environmental aggressors, while sea grapes hydrate thirsty strands. I love using this product on my clients when aiming for effortless, frizz-free, and incredibly bouncy waves.” 

He also loves this texture spray from the brand. “A few spritzes of NatureLab Tokyo’s Perfect Volume Texture Mist on damp hair will bring your hair to life like never before, allowing you to achieve a texture best suited to you,” says the stylist, who swears it makes “even the thinnest hair appear full of life and volume.”

“Air Dry Cream is such a unique product because it brings out the best in universal hair textures!” says Van Ness about the styling product from his newly launched haircare line. “Between our hemisqualane, which is superior to silicone, paired with our linseed and chia-seed extract, Complete Air Dry Cream creates a natural, touchable hold which enhances all textures.”

“Jamaican black castor oil is known for its ability to improve the health of our hair by promoting hair growth, moisturizing dry hair, eliminating dandruff and itchy scalp,” explains Taylor of this hair oil from her product line. “I love that it’s safe for colored, straightened, and chemically treated hair. It will leave your hair strong and shiny, and the best part is that you can leave it to work its magic, no heat required.”

Taylor also loves this hair and scalp cream, which she says “is great because it uses shea butter for ultimate hydration, preventing breakage, and will also combat an itchy scalp to reduce dandruff.”

Anderson calls this leave-in a “must-have” because “the apple cider vinegar restores healthy pH to smooth the surface of the hair and naturally seals the hair’s cuticle to help prevent breakage while also adding moisture.” Plus, it may cut down on dry time. “I always recommend using a leave-in to moisturize, condition, and add shine without weighing the hair down. And an added bonus, it speeds drying time for those in a hurry!” says Anderson.

If your hair might get wet again, Anderson says to keep a product like this one on hand. “A little tip I always tell clients is before jumping in the ocean, lake, or a pool, lather your hair in DPHue’s Color Fresh Oil. The oil will act as a barrier from the harsh chemicals that may cause damage to your hair!”

“This oil is super moisturizing and cuts down frizz,” says Spino. “Unlike most oils, it soaks right into your hair and is very lightweight. This is my everyday go-to product that keeps my hair looking and feeling healthy.”

For beachy—but not crunchy—texture, Spino likes this product. “This cream will give you the effortless beach look that can sometimes be hard to achieve. It brings out the wave in the hair and is light enough for fine hair.”

Spino recommends this “cross between a mousse and a cream” for lighter-than-air curls. “It’s very conditioning and not sticky. It lifts your waves giving an airy, bouncy feel.”

“This one is for all the finer, straighter-haired girls,” says Spino. “It’s a lightweight thickening mousse that will leave your hair soft and voluminous. It’s not drying at all and will give your hair that much-needed bounce.”

“Spritz on the palms and apply to your root area to control frizz directly at the root,” recommends Brook. “Then, gently scrunch the hair but leave it to dry naturally. Tip: Use your fingers to break up the root area to add volume and separation for your waves. Lastly, once hair is dry, spritz more leave-in on the tips of your fingers and apply to areas that you want to tame frizz and flyaways.”

Brook uses the Biolage HydraSource Daily Leave-In Tonic “for instant moisture and shine.”

“It adds buildable, touchable hold and defines your natural texture,” says Alvarez of this air-dry cream.

Up next: If You Want Longer, Thicker Strands, Your Hair Growth Serum Needs This

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