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Published October 23, 2011, 12:00 AM

Savvy Consumer: Speed-drying your hair made easy

When the days get shorter and the air blows colder, air-drying your hair is no longer an option. Embrace the new season with a new hair-care regime that will give you gorgeous results – fast. Read on to learn the Good Housekeeping Research Institute’s top tips on how to dry hair and look great with minimal time and fuss.

By: Good Housekeeping Reports, INFORUM

When the days get shorter and the air blows colder, air-drying your hair is no longer an option. Embrace the new season with a new hair-care regime that will give you gorgeous results – fast. Read on to learn the Good Housekeeping Research Institute’s top tips on how to dry hair and look great with minimal time and fuss.

Step 1: Take 10 minutes to air-dry

Give it time before you grab that blow dryer. Smoothing out hair that is about 30 percent dry is faster than tackling it sopping wet, says Ali Webb, cofounder of Los Angeles-based Drybar. So gently towel-dry, apply a lotion or serum, comb and let hair air out for 10 minutes as you go about your routine. Don’t wait too long: Too-dry tresses resist manipulation. Then start on your hairline to brush out any cowlicks.

Step 2: Rub on a smoother

To achieve a healthy shine that doesn’t appear greasy, GHRI recommends a blow-dry lotion. Any blow-dry lotion or serum will help achieve a sleek finish, usually with a dose of a smoothing silicone. But in consumer testing, the Good Housekeeping Research Institute found that Blow Ready Set Blow Express Blow Dry Lotion ($21, Ulta), with polymers it claims distribute heat along the hair shaft, also shaved an average of three minutes off drying time.

Step 3: Swap out your brush

Quick-drying hair can be greatly aided with the right hair brush, which is why switching to a ceramic round-barreled brush is important. It conducts heat and will warm up under the hot airflow of your dryer, reducing blowout time, says Sean Jahanbigloo, co-owner of Juan Juan Salon in Los Angeles. “These brushes usually have fewer bristles than ones made of boar hair (often used for blowouts), allowing for more airflow.” Try Goody Blow Dry Protect Brush ($9.50, Walmart).

Step 4: Boost the blast

It might be time to turn in your old blowdryer for a better model. The motor in a professional blowdryer is three to four times larger and produces more air (hence faster drying) than the one in a consumer model, says Leon Benz, director of marketing/product development at Conair. But they can run upward of $200. For power on a leaner budget, JF1 John Frieda Full Volume Dryer ($50 CVS) has a slightly compact version of a pro motor.

Step 5: Do a semi-pro job

The pros tackle blow-drying in sections, and you should do the same, according to GHRI experts. “At the salon, we meticulously dry both the top side and the underside of each hair section, for a blowout that lasts for days,” says stylist Shuki Almac, of New York City’s Warren-Tricomi Salon. To smooth tresses for just one day, use the nozzle attachment to focus the airflow on only the top of each section. And if you’re super rushed, brush downward with a paddle brush.

Shine the light on spinach

When choosing spinach, don’t reach for the bags in the back of the case. New USDA research designed to simulate supermarket conditions found that spinach leaves exposed to continuous light – as they would be in the front of the case – had significantly higher levels of certain carotenoids, folate, and vitamins C, E and K than those that got the dark treatment (mimicking conditions in the back of the case). For the best and freshest spinach, choose from the front, but take note of sell-by dates and the condition of the leaves. In the study, some wilting occurred after three days of storage under the lights.

Feel-good haircut

Memo to women with long, healthy hair: Take a snip against breast and other cancers. Hair-care giant Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program, in its fifth year, has used donated ponytails to create more than 18,000 free real-hair wigs (the $1,000-plus cost usually isn’t covered by insurance). Donated hair must be at least eight inches long, no more than 5 percent gray and can’t be permanently colored. Check pantene.com for more details. If yours fits the bill, put it in a ponytail, cut it off and send it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, Attn: 192-123, 20770 Westwood Dr., Strongsville, OH 44149.

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