The 8 Best Diffusers for Curly Hair That Promise Zero Frizz

The ultimate curly-girl secret.

curly hair frizz
(Image credit: Jonathan Knowles)

Please allow for a moment of silence for all the times you’ve skipped diffusing your curls because you thought it was just too complicated to even attempt. Yes, I am absolutely projecting onto everyone the hair faux pas that I have been making my entire curly hair-having life. But don't worry—I tapped curl expert and Matrix Global artistic director Michelle O’Connor to get all her tips and tricks for diffusing your hair (and find out her all-time favorite diffusers for curly hair, sans frizz). Throw away whatever preconceived notions you may have about diffusing and get prepared for your best curls ever.

What does it mean to diffuse hair?

O’Connor explains it best: “It’s mainly used on wavy, curly, and oily hair as a means of locking the shape of the hair without disruption and in a controlled manner. It also provides an instant way to 'finish' or dry the hair as opposed to air drying.”

Oh, and if you’re anti-heating tools or paranoid about heat damage like I am, you have nothing to fear, O’Connor confirms that since a diffuser is an indirect heat source, it won’t cause any damage to your hair. In fact, using a diffuser attachment on a hairdryer is perfect for any hair type if you're concerned about heat damage.

What products are good for diffusing hair?

Like any hair routine, the products that you use can directly impact the effectiveness of the style. In the same way you should use a hair oil or heat protectant when straightening your hair, you should use certain creams and detanglers for your best curl diffusing. Not all curl types work the same, and that's even more true of the product you use.

If you have wavy or loose curls, O’Connor says to focus on gels, mousses, or foams that will maximize your hold for that “in water” flowy look. An effective go-to for non-crunchy waves is the Wella EIMI Nutricurls Soft Twirl Anti-Frizz Styling Foam. This differs for curl types that lean towards the 3B-4C territory, says O'Connor: “When your pattern is a tighter curl or coil, you need the extra added moisture, therefore creams, custards, and puddings will be your go-tos." Just make sure to avoid formulas containing silicones, parabens, and sulfates.

Pro tip: O’Connor’s favorite is the Moisturizing Cream from Matrix’s A Curl Can Dream collection.

How do you use a hair diffuser?

One major thing to understand before you begin: If you're looking to control frizz, make sure you use a frizz-specific cream or oil like the Virtue Correct The Polish Un-Frizz Cream to style your hair.

O’Connor says, “Allow the diffuser to hover over your roots, however, don’t jump around too quickly. Spend at least 10-20 seconds in each area.” When you’re hovering, make sure to rotate the dryer from left to right, backward, and forwards, O’Connor adds, “This will create a 360-degree rotation in your curl as opposed to drying in one position. If that occurs, you’ll end up with a curl that doesn’t want to shift away from that dried direction, and it’ll have trouble falling naturally into place.” If volume is your hair/life purpose, flip your head upside down when diffusing, allowing gravity to do some of the work. Do the same thing, except sitting upright, for flowy, loose waves.

Alexis Gaskin
Alexis Gaskin

Alexis Gaskin is a Freelance Beauty Writer for Marie Claire who can often be found painting her nails to match every outfit. She covers beauty, skincare, and fat fashion and will get distracted by any and all Halsey-related content or anything glittery.