As mentioned, you’ll want to apply styling product on wet hair in order for them to work most effectively. But should you leave your strands dripping or damp? Dickey explains: Those with curlier, coarser hair (curl types 3 to 4, typically) might have a shorter window once they step out of the shower—those curls are prone to frizz as soon as they’re exposed to air. That’s why, Dickey says, it’s best for coarse-haired folk to apply product when their hair is sopping wet, as “that’s when they have the least amount of frizz.”
In fact, he says, you may even want to stash your oils and creams in the shower with you; that way, you can easily slide them through your hair as soon as you rinse out your conditioner—so your products can seal in as much moisture as possible. Bonus: Leaving your stylers in-shower can save valuable shelf space and keep your bathroom clean (like, say, if you routinely find leave-in spray residue on your mirror or counter).
On the flip side, if you have a looser curl structure with a finer texture, Dickey suggests towel drying your hair a bit before reaching for a lightweight product. That’s because finer hair may require more volume (to avoid looking limp and oily—another unfortunate byproduct of summer sweat). And “if you put product on when it’s sopping wet, it’s just going to be flatter,” Dickey explains. So for those with fine waves, you can get away with a quick towel dry before sliding in a styler, especially if you’re looking for that extra bout of frizz-free fullness.
If you do opt for the towel, be super gentle, or invest in a soft microfiber cloth (even a T-shirt works!): Vigorously rubbing your hair with a traditional towel roughs up the cuticle and causes more frizz and friction on your strands. “It has a sandpaper-like effect,” says Dickey.