I'll be honest, I'm currently really craving a professional blow-dry at my favourite salon. What I wouldn’t do for the level of bounce and shine that hairstylists get right every time. However, given the amount of time I’ve spent at home over the past year—and the amount of time I've spent quizzing hair experts—I think I have perfected my at-home blow-dry. Yes, while nothing beats a salon trip, the professional advice I’ve received has seen me through lockdown with pretty decent results. The main reason for that? Using the best blow-dry serums.
According to the professionals, the difference between just drying your hair and a luxe blow-dry is mainly in the styling product you apply when your hair is damp. When your hair is damp, it’s at its most pliable and can be shaped and set easily, no matter the texture. Applying the wrong product at this point will make or break your finished result, so it’s key you pick correctly.
If you have fine hair or hair that doesn’t hold a curl for long, you’ll need a product that gives your hair texture. As this dries in, it’ll create volume and hold. Textured hair will need a serum that gives the hair slip to help close the cuticles and stops your hair from puffing up at the first sign of humidity.
"I have lots of clients with poker-straight hair who struggle to hold styles like waves and curls. I always recommend Shu Uemura's Netsu Design Blow Dry Cream. In addition to protecting the hair, it helps add body and holds the shape or curl of the blow-dry or style you have created, for longer. For fine and straight hair, always focus on detangling and creating volume without using products that are too heavy on the hair that will weigh it down." - Paul Edmonds, Owner of Paul Edmonds Salon
"This is one of my all-time favourite serums, it is simply luxurious and lightweight. It is versatile enough for me to mix in with styling products and add to conditioners to enhance them or to simply use on its own before blow-drying to add that beautiful expensive touch that I expect of every head of hair." - Darren Fowler, Owner of Fowler35 Salon
"The Amika Blockade Heat Defense Serum is ideal for a smooth, sleek blowout, especially on curly or wavy hair. The lightweight serum creates an invisible barrier between the heat and your hair, allowing you the chance to brush and smooth your hair straight without compromising the integrity of your natural texture." - Naeemah LaFond, Amika Global Artistic Director
#4: Revlon Professional EKSperience Hydro-Nutritive No Split-Ends Shine Serum
"Not only does this smooth flyaways, but it's brightening as well and includes sun filters to reduce harmful effects on the hair from exposure to sun. It leaves their hair nourished and delivers minerals that help to repair their hair, an absolute must-have for dry, damaged, or coloured hair." - Mark Leeson, Owner of Mark Leeson Salons
"I always use Tresemmé's Care & Protect Heat Defence Spray before I do anything! I prefer to mist it straight onto wet hair before blow-drying so it gets all the benefits straight away… and then another light mist before any hot-tool action." - Aaron Carlo, Celebrity Hairstylist
"The Philip B serum is the perfect prep for blow-drying hair. It has been formulated with natural extracts of feverfew, altea, and horseradish. The gel-like texture is heat-activated and facilitates smoothing whilst moisturising and softening the hair." - Dionne Smith, Hairdresser & Founder of Signature Hair Tools
"This is excellent for Afro-textured hair. It's non-greasy, really good detangler, and makes blow-drying coarser hair types an absolute breeze. Hair is left soft and shiny." - Heather Dapaah, Celebrity Hairdresser and Founder of Hi'Demand Hair
"I just love how lightweight this product is. It works perfectly for all my clients and leaves the hair super shiny and tangle-free. It’s the perfect blow-dry aid but is also a great finishing oil. It’s the perfect product and a staple in my kitbag." - Tim Scott-Wright, Owner of Tim Scott-Wright @ The Hair Surgery
"If hair is looking a little bit dry, I will blow-dry a small amount of GHD Dramatic Ending Smooth & Finish Serum into the ends of the hair to add some moisture and smooth over the ends, as this instantly makes the hair look silky and smooth." - Dafydd Thomas, GHD Global Head of Education
"My go-to serum has to be the Indola Smooth Serum! Its light consistency makes it the perfect finishing product. It’s perfect for smoothing down flyaway hairs and adding that gorgeous finishing shine without making the hair look greasy!" - Abbey Jarrold, Session Hairstylist
#11: Shu Uemura The Art Of Styling Shiki Worker Blow Dry Primer
"This is a beautiful product to use on frizzy, dehydrated hair and is amazing for detangling the hair with ease. The other great benefit to using the product is you can use wet or dry. On wet, it will give you amazing shine when blow-drying. On dry, it will enhance natural texture. A great all-round product that should be a staple in anyone’s hair routine." - Stephen Smith, Ken Picton Salon Salon Director
"This is a moisturiser for all hair types. It makes the hair soft without weighing it down, so it’s perfect when blow-dried into the hair to get rid of that "just been washed" fluffy look. It also works really well in men’s hair when just left naturally to dry for that next-day lived-in feel." - Matt Gavin, Hairdotcom Art Team