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How to Air Dry Your Hair Without Looking Like a Hot Mess

Ditch your hot tools and master the art of air-drying your hair
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For most of us, #iwokeuplikethis is less Beyoncé and more crazy bedhead and traces of last-night's smudged eyeliner. In a perfect world, we'd have plenty of time to shower and blow-dry our hair to perfection, but unless you're Olivia Pope, you probably don't have time to handle your hair on top of your daily obligations.

Fortunately, you can achieve amazing beachy waves or perfect ringlets without touching a blow-dryer or hot tool. "Air drying put less friction on hair and cuts back on unnecessary hair damage. It is the ultimate time-saver and allows you to do other things while you 'do' your hair," says PhytoSpecific National Educator Ron Williams.

So we tapped industry experts to break down all the styles you can achieve sans heat, and how to get the look. Whether you're into lazy-girl beauty, are continually running 10 minutes behind or just can't deal with heat styling when it's sweltering outside, there's something for everyone (and every hair texture) here.

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Lay Your Groundwork
Getting a perfectly air-dried style starts in the shower. First, choose the right conditioner for your hair type says Sarah Potempa, celebrity hairstylist and inventor of the Beachwaver. This will ensure your hair comes out smooth and healthy.

For example: if your hair is prone to frizzies, choose a smoothing conditioner (Potempa recommends Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Smooth), $2.97; if your hair is color-treated or riddled with split ends, choose a deeply hydrating conditioner.

After you've conditioned, detangle your hair in the shower using a large toothed comb, says Potempa. Always comb hair while wet, never when dry, otherwise it may frizz and feel dry. Then, rinse your hair will cool water, which will close the cuticles of your hair and reduce frizz and split ends.

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Do This Post-Shower
Don't even think about using your regular towel to dry your hair. You want a supersoft cotton towel or even a t-shirt, which will soak up moisture without making your hair frizzier. Williams says to gently wrap your hair into a turban, and leave it for about two minutes to soak up water. When you unwrap it, gently pat your hair dry (repeat after me: do not rub your hair dry).

Then, begin layering your products. "Layering means to begin with stylers that need to be applied closest to the scalp and proceed to mid-shaft and ends," explains Williams. Comb through to distribute the product evenly -- but don't comb through your hair more than twice, or risk the wrath of frizz. "Once your desired shape is complete, only handle hair as needed," advises Williams. "This will decrease frizz and bigness."

Remember: Products are your BFFs when it comes to air-drying your hair. "Water can leave hair dry with flyaways in abundance, therefore a light crème or drops of oil will make the difference between shiny soft hair or frizzy, dull locks," says Williams.

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For Tousled Waves (On Stick-Straight Hair)
To give your straight hair messy, beachy waves, try this overnight recipe.

First, you need to start with the right product cocktail of lightweight stylers that have hold. Williams says to try a mousse, followed by a moisturizing cream. He recommends Phyto Professional Intense Volume Mousse, $24, and Phyto 7 Hydrating Day Cream, $29.

Then, divide your hair into four sections: ear-to-ear and top to the nape of your neck. Twist each section around a piece of cloth, then wrap into a bun and secure with a bobby pin. Grab a hairnet to keep your hair in place as you sleep. When you wake up, untwist your hair for "waves galore," says Williams. Flip your head over and gently shake and scrunch you hair -- don't even think about touching a brush -- and you're ready to go.

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For Sleek, Straight Hair
If you have straight hair, follow these tips for getting a sleek style that won't look greasy. Start with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.

Since straight hair tends to be oily, Williams says any product you use should be lightweight and only applied mid-shaft to ends (exception: volumizers, which should be applied at the root). Try a smoothing cream like John Frieda Frizz Ease Beyond Smooth Frizz Immunity Primer, $9.99. When hair is about 90 percent dry, apply a shine serum and then brush through your hair to further smooth it.

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