To dry or not to dry is not the question...which method is. Part 2: Diffuse/Hood Dry / by Andrea Lemonds

It's not a matter of IF people will dry their hair, but HOW people will dry their hair. Air Dry, Hood Dry/Diffuse Dry or Blow Dry are some of the common methods. Each has its pros and cons, good or bad consequences. One source, The Science of Black Hair by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy, describes one of the methods as a "gentle breeze" and another as a "Category 5 hurricane."  Hopefully the following will help you reach your own drying conclusion.

Domed heating and diffusers are a couple of names used in this next installment on the drying of hair. Diffuse drying and Hood drying are similar methods because the air is dispersed and not rapidly blown when drying hair. It does tend to be slower, but is considered a safe way of putting heat on hair.  The difference between these two comes in the types of hair they are used to dry. A diffuser is mainly used for drying wavy and curly hair types. As for a hood dryer, it can be used with any hair type (straight, wavy or curly) to create different styles. 

So, what is a diffuser? According to, it's a "blow dryer attachment that is used to spread the airflow across a large section of hair."  It diffuses out the air so that there is less disruption to the cuticle and less frizz. Some professionals say to do high heat with low air-speed, but doing medium heat with low air-speed works also (high air speed can work, but use at your discretion as it can disturb the cuticle more and has a higher likelihood of causing frizz). When diffusing, it is best to get the hair about 80% dry and then let it air dry. Diffusing is a great method for wavy and curly hair types who need a jump on obtaining dry locks.

Hood drying is a method that has been around for some time. It is mainly used for setting hair for styles that will be worn for several days. It is "one of the safest forms of heat to our hair. Heat is diffused and evenly concentrated over a larger surface area under a hooded dryer," says Audrey Davis-Sivasothy from her book The Science of Black Hair. These hooded dryer styles can last longer than other styles that use different forms of heat. This option can have its down-side though. Hotspots where there is a greater concentration of heat can happen. If so, just rotate your seating for a more even distribution of heat.

The theme for this posting would best be described as "less heat, better hair." Hair does tend to do better and is more healthy when less heat is applied. Diffusers and Hood dryers are good methods for achieving healthier hair when a heat source is needed for drying hair.