How to get a Kate Middleton Worthy Blowout ... At Home!
Let’s just get straight to the point. If you’ve landed on this page, it’s because you know that:
Kate Middleton's / Duchess of Cambridge hair = #goals.
Now, that's me over there in the pictures you see on this post ... with my hair blowout (by myself, no salon hair here!)
But here's the real deal, behind-the-scenes scoop on my hair type:
- it’s naturally curly (3b type, if you’re into that kind of thing)
- it’s extremely fine, which means the curls are extra frizz prone
- there’s a lot of it, which means when it does frizz, it gets enormous
- (it’s also dark brown and prematurely gray, but that’s for another day, another topic)
Anyway, I’m not one of those women who’s going to stand here and chant “curly and proud!” When Debra Messing, Keri Russel and Taylor Swift abandoned their trademark curls for straight styles, I didn’t start screaming about betrayal. I understood.
Sometimes you just want smooth hair. People will make you want to apologize for that fact. It's okay to want what you don't have. You hear me? IT'S OKAY!
Do I sometimes wear my hair curly? Sometimes. Do I like my hair curly? Sometimes.
But I prefer it straight. And I'm not going to apologize it--if you're here to tell me to embrace my inner beauty, I feel most beautiful with my hair smooth. I'll do me, you do you.
So anyway, I like my hair best when it's not a curly mound of frizz. But not too straight. And therein lies the point of this post and the magic of Kate’s hair. What makes her hair exceptional isn’t that it’s straight—anyone can get straight hair with a decent flat iron. It’s magical because it’s smooth, but also full. And a little bouncy. You can't get that look from a flat iron.
You need a blowout. A good one.
And guess what — you can do it at home!!
Now, I’m not going to pretend the tips below will leave you with salon hair, but after a ton of practice, I’ve finally gotten the hang of a decent home-blowout.
Please note note, the below tips assume you’ve got at least a basic sense of proper blowout technique. My steps are more “tips and tricks” for improving your skills—an “Advanced” course, if you will. If you’re a blow-dry novice, I highly recommend checking out YouTube to see a “self blow-dry” in action to learn technique, and then come back here to get some ideas for tools!
LL’s Tips for a perfect blowout
Dry your hair in small sections.
If you’re hair’s even a tiny bit frizzy, you’ll make it so much worse by just drying your hair all willy-nilly. Take on one little piece at a time so you can have complete control over it. Each section should be however much you can easily maneuver around your round brush. For me, I dry my hair in ten sections. It sounds complicated, but I don’t section them off all formal-like. I just pull out the first section (about a 2 inch strip near my temple) and pull everything else into a pony at the back of my neck. Once that first piece is dry, I clip it away, and pull out another section, and then re-ponytail the wet stuff. I dry the new strip, then clip it up with the previous. And so on. By the time I'm done, it's usually about 10 sections, but I've been known to get by with doing it in 8 if it's a particularly non-humid day.
Use a smoothing lotion/cream/milk.
I’ve tried every frizz fighting product on the market; sprays, gels, mousse, serums … and I’ve found that anything with a lotion/milky texture (sorry, I don’t know how else to describe it?!) is the best for a blowout; enough smoothing action to tame frizz, but not so heavy as to weigh down your blowout.
new favorite: kérastase Spray Fluidissime (discipline line)
I've been using kérastase shampoo and conditioner for years now, but I've been stubbornly resistant to the idea that their styling products would be as magical as the shampoo line. Why? Because this brand is expensive. Really expensive. I was afraid if I started down the path of their styling products, I could never go back to cheaper alternatives. My fear was justified. On a recent trip to California, I forgot my styling product and had to get something on the fly. The salon I went into carried kérastase, so I bit the bullet and splurged. A glorious mistake, because now I can't go without it! I also like the leave-in treatment in this line, but the spray is my go-to. It's frizz-fighting, but also wonderfully lightweight and has thermal protectant. My hair has never looked healthier, smoother or shinier!
previous favorite: La Brasiliana Dieci All In One Treatment
2018: While I still like this product, and it's a great price, it's been increasingly hard to find. I've also noticed that every now and then a bottle smells a little ... off. Not sure if I'm getting a bad bottle, or what, but it's no longer my go-to because I can't count on it!
My stylist recommended it, and I agreed to try it, figuring that they’re all sort of the same at this point, but this one truly blew me away. The biggest difference about this one is that my hair actually feels softer after using it; not just smooth, but soft. Does that make sense? Just trust me.
Other go-to: Living Proof Styling Cream
This was my previous favorite before I discovered La Brasliana above. Definitely highly recommended, although in comparison I don't like it quite as well, especially for the higher price point.
You need a decent, HOT hair dryer
Travel hair dryers won't cut it. And don't even think about trying to get a decent blowout with that dryer in your hotel room if your hair’s even remotely frizz-prone. And for your regular dryer, here's a trick: heat's more more important than “power.” I used to think that a dryer had to blow really hard/fast (there are so many sexual references in this post, I can’t even …) A powerful dryer’s good, but a hot dryer’s even better. There’s a reason flat irons and curling irons are hot—heat makes hair obey. I use the T3 Featherweight. Expensive, but I've had it for 6 years and going strong, so it's been worth it for me. This is the closet I could find to what I have--as I said, mine's a few years old and not available anymore, but this looks pretty similar--just a bit more modern/sexy. If the T3 is totally out of your price range, you actually can get pretty good results from a Conair--it's my favorite budget brand. Just make sure it has multiple heat settings. Remember, you want hot!
Point the nozzle of the dryer down the hair-shaft
That's pretty much blow-dry 101, but throwing it in here for the newbies. What I mean is that the nozzle of the dryer should be pointed towards the ground as you dry, not up towards your scalp. And you should move the dryer DOWN the hair from roots to tip as you work, not the other way around. Oh, and don't you dare get rid of the "concentrator nozzle!" That little plastic "tip" that goes on the end of the dryer is essential for a smooth blowout.
Don’t let it air-dry too much
I frequently read/hear that you don’t want to attempt to blow-dry sopping wet hair. That’s true. But I’ve also heard that hair should be about 80% dry before you attempt to blow it out/style it. That's friggin false. For curly-hair, letting your hair get 80% dry will be a total disaster. Your hair should be wet. You don't want it dripping, but if it’s already started to curl, you’ve let it go too far. Don't worry though, you can fix it! Just wet your hands, and re-wet your hair again. For me, the sweet spot is after leaving it wrapped in a towel for 2 minutes or so. Enough time for the towel to soak up excess water, not enough time to let the hair start to frizz.
Use a boar-bristle round brush
This is perhaps the most game-changing trick for me—most stylists use metal round brushes to dry their clients hair. And that’s great for them. They’ve got a good angle, years of practice, and impressive arm muscles. For the rest of us, we need a handicap to tame the frizz—boar bristles are the answer. They grip the hair so better than the metal ones, helping to combat us mortal’s lack of coordination. This is especially helpful for the back of your head when it’s hard to keep the pieces pulled taut. I like this one.