Somewhere along the way, guys stopped blowing themselves. In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, it was cool for a man to blow-dry his hair, like carrying a comb in his back pocket or folding a pack of cigarettes in his sleeve. In fact, the archetypal man of that era’s Hollywood and rock ’n’ roll scenes always sported some variation of tousled hair — feathering that could only be achieved with a brush and some artificial heat. Then hair got short, and hair dryers seemingly went the way of the VCR.
Recently, however, there’s been a push on behalf of some men’s sites to get hair dryers back into the hands of men who want their poof to do the talking. Or at least convince them that the hair-dryer isn’t a lady tool.
To see whether that’s a bunch of hot air or not, we tracked down a number of different guys to find out how they allow their hair to dry after a shower — via the air they breathe or by machine. According to this highly scientific survey, it would seem as though there is no trend to re-establish — they might not flaunt it as much as they as have in the past, but men have never really put down the blow-dryer.
Peter, 55: “I began blow-drying my hair when I was 13 and have done so every day since. Sometimes I blow-dry two or three times a day, depending on how many times I shower. Similarly, if it’s humid or hot, my hair gets frizzy so I blow dry it again before I go outside. The only times I don’t blow dry my hair is when I’m on vacation. I just slick it back with gel. I’m especially rigorous about it because I have a square face, and if I don’t blow dry the top of my hair, the squareness of my hair becomes more pronounced. I also never liked wavy, curly hair.
“Finally, it’s not just the hair on my head that I blow dry. I blow dry under my balls and ass, too, because if you don’t, it gets sticky and that could lead to fungus. So I like to air it out.”
Rustin, 17: “I only blow-dry my hair for the first few weeks after a haircut. Once my hair grows out, I stop because it doesn’t look as good to blow-dry when my hair is long.”
Sam, 69: “I was probably around 20 when I started blow drying my hair. I wanted to get it dry more quickly — at the time, I had shoulder-length hair. It would take about three or four minutes to get it completely dry. I’d also blow-dry under my arms. Typically, I’d use my wife’s blow-dryer. I don’t blow-dry anymore, though; I just don’t have as much hair as I used to.”
Matt, 34: “I use mine daily. When you’re over 30 and the hair ain’t what it used to be, you need to blow dry it into place so it doesn’t lay sad/flat.”
Garo, 29: “When I was 5 years old, my mom started blow-drying my hair for me. When I turned 10, I started blow-drying my own hair. In middle school, I began using ICE Gel, and you had to blow-dry your hair with that stuff. Otherwise, it would just look wet and greasy. Then I got into the whole spiking business and needed a blow-dry to keep it nice and firm. These days, I blow dry my hair five times a week for about five minutes each time — with the same blow-dryer my mom used on me when I was 5. The other days, I’m too lazy, which leaves my hair much curlier than usual. I, too, like to blow-dry my armpits and ball sack — as well as my chest hair and between my toes. Bottom line: I just like the hot air on my body.”
Ben, 34: “Not long ago, my brother-in-law gave me a suggestion I was skeptical of. He said that he’d recently gotten into blow-drying his hair and decided to try blow drying his pits. He said it was quick and felt pretty relaxing. I was like, ‘Dude, that’s weird.’ But I tried it shortly thereafter to prove him wrong. Turns out it’s great.
“As for my head, I prefer to let my hair air-dry and then style. There isn’t always time for that, however. So while I find the blow-dryer annoying, it serves a purpose. That said, a lot of days I wear a hat because I don’t want to deal with blow drying to get the right look.”
Jamie, 27: “I’m new to blow-drying my hair, having started a little less than a year ago. In high school or college, I never considered it manly to use a blow-dryer. Then I became a model and kept trying different hairstyles. A blow-dryer helped add volume to my hair. Plus, during photo shoots, they use a blow dryer every single time. So I just kinda got used to it.”
Nick, 35: “My hair is definitely not as powerful without one. So when I don’t use it, my day and mojo are ruined.”
John, 41: “I probably started blow-drying my hair when I was in middle school, but only as a function of not going to school with wet hair during the cold winters in the Midwest. It was only when I developed a relationship with a cool stylist that I learned this important fact: Any man with great looking long hair who doesn’t admit to using a hair dryer is a fucking liar.
“Here’s my secret process and how long it takes:
- You can’t just dry your hair straight out of the shower because you will dry it out and make it look frizzy. Instead, you need to use something like what I use which is Kiehl’s Hair Conditioner and Grooming Aid Formula 133. The difference is night and day.
- You do NOT put any serious gel or pomade in wet hair because it just looks terrible.
- Once you’ve towel dried your hair, you should use a wide tooth comb to set the part where you’d like it to be when you’re finished blow drying.
- Use your fingers to style your hair for a more informal look. I do this about 75 percent of the time. The other 25 percent — typically when I need to look sharp for business, a night out, a wedding, a date etc. — I use a round brush to dry my hair on both sides of the part to give it volume and look more polished.
- Dry your hair 100 percent in the back and 90 percent in the front and sides. Then apply whatever product it is that you use.
- Use the blow dryer’s cool setting to “set” your hair, which just means to activate the product and have everything stay where you want it to be.
- Once you get it to where you want it, use a finishing spray. Oribe makes an awesome one that holds everything in place and adds a touch of a shine. Not like regular hairsprays — you can still run your fingers through you hair… And so can she 😉
“This might sound very high maintenance, but it’s not. All of it takes 10 minutes max.
“Lastly, I actually pack my hair dryer with me for whenever I have an out of town trip. I do this for a few reasons:
- Believe it or not, there aren’t always hair dryers in all hotels.
- The reality is that even the blow dryers at five-star hotels are pieces of shit.
- Mine has a switch on it that makes it an ionic dryer, meaning you don’t get any frizz but isn’t as crazy fancy. I got it for $25 at Bed Bath & Beyond.
“Truth is if you want good-looking long hair, you gotta use one.”