How To Diffuse Your Curly Hair Without A Diffuser

Categorized as Hair Dryer Guide

Last Updated on April 11, 2022 by Rei

So you’re on a trip, and you forgot your trusty diffuser, or maybe you want to try using one without having one (I think that doesn’t make any sense lol).

Whatever reason you might have, we’ve got you covered; we’ll show you how to diffuse your curly hair without having a diffuser.

What exactly does “diffusing” your hair even mean? What does it do?

Simply put, a diffuser is a device that scatters the hot air into a much larger area of your hair, making it gentler. 

That is why the hair dryer diffuser is the best attachment for curly hair because when you “cup” your hair using a diffuser, the hair is not being dried while hanging loose.

And as you know, the most important thing for curly hair is to prevent disrupting the hair’s natural curl patterns.

To diffuse your hair without having a diffuser, we have to mimic the function of the diffuser. 

There are several ways to do this; one is to use your hand as a makeshift diffuser to cup your hair.

Or you could use a strainer to do the same thing.

Table of contents

Do you need a diffuser for curly hair?

To determine whether you need a diffuser, you first need to understand what it does.

I know that it’s bulky and hard to maneuver around your hair, but it’s actually a really great tool to have. 

A hairdryer diffuser prevents your hair from getting damaged because it scatters the hot hair instead of a focused stream, which damages your hair if used continuously.

Diffusers would not only prevent your hair from getting brittle and damaged, but they would also prevent your hair from frizz.

This is especially true for curly hair.

As an added benefit, it gives your hair more definition and volume.

While all hair types can benefit from using a hair dryer diffuser, curly hair is the one that needs it the most.

This is because curly hair is more prone to frizz and damage. 

We recommend that you give a diffuser a try if you’re having the problems we listed above.

How can I get curls without a diffuser?

As we mentioned in the introduction, there are several ways you can approach this.

One is to use your hands as a makeshift diffuser to “cup” your hair.

Another method is to use a hair strainer to do the same thing.

Whatever method you choose, the important thing to remember is to not over-dry your hair or use it too long.

This is because it’s easy to over-dry your hair if you use a hair dryer without a diffuser. 

The hand method

For this method to be successful, we need to set a few rules so that we don’t accidentally damage our hair. 

First thing is to only set your hair dryer to low.

I know some of you might be in a hurry and want to dry your hair as quickly as possible, so I suggest holding your hair dryer a little further and moving it quickly so you won’t overdry an area of your hair.

Another thing we suggest is moisturizing your hair as much as possible.

We recommend using a leave-in conditioner or a heat protectant spray that contains silicon (silicon helps protect your hair from heat damage).

Here is a video demonstrating how to do this method properly:

The strainer method

Who would have guessed that this kitchen tool could be used as a makeshift hair diffuser?

We actually prefer this method compared to the hand method.

This is because the little holes on the strainer scatter the hot air, making it gentler and less likely that you’ll damage your hair.

But still, you should risk damaging your hair.

We still recommend that you use some kind of hair protectant and make sure that your hair is as moisturized as it can be.

It’s actually really simple to do the strainer method; just place your hair inside the strainer and blow-dry away! 

Here is a great video demonstrating how to do the strainer method.

However, we recommend that you use a much finer strainer because the one that is seen in the video has larger holes.

Yay! We just saved you $20! 


Hair drying your curly hair without a diffuser is totally possible.

While a hair diffuser is still recommended, the methods we mentioned above are great alternatives when you’re in a pinch and need a quick way to protect those curls.

Just make sure that you use some kind of heat protectant product and make sure that you moisturize your hair as much as you can.

By Rei Garnet

I've been a hairstylist and worked for salons for over 8 years and I want to share my passion and knowledge with a wider audience. My goal is to give everyone the best hair they could possibly have.