If today is one of those laid-back days where the last thing you want to do is spend hours blow-drying your hair, we’ve got just the thing for you: styling products that give you definition without the added effort.
Not only does air-drying your strands minimize styling time, but it also protects your hair against heat damage. However, without the right products, your mane can poof up in seconds. To avoid this, pick up an air dry hair product that will help define your natural texture and ditch your heat tools once and for all (or at least during peak summer months).
What to Look for in an Air-Dry Hair Product
When it comes to finding the right air-dry hair product for you, you’ll want to consider your hair type and texture. For fine and thin hair, lightweight products (like leave-in conditioners) are the way to go because they won’t weigh down strands. However, those with thick and curly textures usually need more moisture, so heavier creams and oils are the best bet. Meanwhile, wavy hair tends to respond well to mousses and foams, which define beachy locks. If you’re still not sure which air dry hair product is for you, we found 18 picks to get you started.
The Best Air Drying Hair Products At a Glance:
Best Serum: Odele Air Dry Style
Best Cream: JVN Complete Hydrating Air Dry Hair Cream
Best Foam: Ouai Air Dry Foam
Best In-Shower Styler: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day In-Shower Styler
Best Leave-in Conditioner: Daily Dose Miracle Moisture Spray Leave-In Conditioner
Best for Wavy Hair: John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Air Dry Waves Styling Foam
Best for Curly Hair: Curlsmith Weightless Air Dry Cream
Best for Color-Treated Hair: R and Co Cool Wind pH Perfect Air Dry Crème
Best for Fine Hair: Bumble and Bumble Bb. Don’t Blow It Fine (Hair) Styler
Best for Frizzy Hair: Oribe Gold List Nourishing Hair Oil
Best for Dull Hair: Fekkai Brilliant Gloss Multi-Tasker Perfecting Crème
Best for Thick Hair: Moroccanoil Hydrating Styling Cream
Best for Dry Hair: NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Texture Wave Cream
Best for All Hair Types: Kristin Ess Weightless Shine Air Dry Creme
Most Lightweight: Aveda Phomollient Styling Foam
Best Definition: Color Wow Dream Coat for Curly Hair
Best Budget: Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Soft Waves Spray
Why We Love It: Sulfate-free, 100 percent natural fragrance, clean ingredients
This serum promises the perfect air dry. It's designed to lock in moisture, smooth frizz and soften dry strands. The lightweight formula is a winner for any hair type that needs shine and texture without weighing down locks. We also appreciate the sulfate-free formula and vegan-friendly ingredients.
Why We Love It: Silicone-free, clean ingredients, great for all hair types
When we found out Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness was making a hair care line, we weren’t the least bit surprised that styling creams were on the list. This one enhances your natural texture, while keeping frizz at bay thanks to ingredients like squalane, chia seed extract and moringa seed oil. Whether you have straight locks, beachy waves or rambunctious curls, this air-dry cream will help soften and define your hair.
Why We Love It: Sulfate-free, floral fragrance, great for curly and wavy hair
If you don’t have enough time to style your hair, look no further than this foam. This $28 pick provides instant waves, while conditioning and detangling locks and it doesn’t leave behind a crunchy finish.
Best Shower Styler
Why We Love It: Sulfate-free, vegan, color-safe
OK, air-drying already saves you time, but how about cutting even more time off your routine with a product that’s specifically designed to be used in the shower? This Living Proof styler is meant to be applied as soon as your rinse out your conditioner. The formula features hydrophobic resins, thickening molecules and magnetic texturizers to boost shine, improve fullness and enhance your natural texture. For best results, apply it throughout your hair and give it a light rinse before letting it air dry to a soft, defined finish.
Best Leave-In Conditioner
Why We Love It: Vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free
The beginning of a great styling regimen starts with a leave-in conditioner. This one uses citric acid, aloe juice and acedic acid to smooth down unwanted frizz, restoring moisture and repairing dull or damaged strands. Whether you have fine or coily hair, a few spritzes of this leave-in will nourish, detangle and strengthen your hair as it dries.
Why We Love It: Vegan, paraben-free, free gift with purchase
This air-dry balm will show you a thing or two about managing frizz. The vegan formula includes hydrating carbohydrates and antioxidants that add hydration, shine and bounce to strands. Use a dime-sized amount on damp hair and run it through your ends to define your texture.
Best for Wavy Hair
Why We Love It: Alcohol-free, lightweight formula, free gift with purchase
It’s time to unleash your beachy tresses. This styling foam reduces frizz, while enhancing your natural waves. The key ingredient—magnesium—softens locks without the crunch and heavy hold of other mousses. Add two pumps, scrunch and let the air-drying do the rest of the work.
Best for Curly Hair
Why We Love it: Vegan, clean ingredients, great for all curly hair textures
This leave-in conditioner is the missing puzzle piece in a curly gal’s LOC method. The lightweight blend (featuring ingredients like castor oil, shea butter and hyaluronic acid) hydrates, softens and enhances curls. Whether you’re doing a wash and set, braids or twist-outs, the styling product is a great addition before air-drying or diffusing your strands.
Best for Color-Treated Hair
Why We Love It: Vegan, color-safe, sulfate-free
With “perfect air dry” in the name, of course we were going to give this styling cream a try. The lightweight formula features mango butter, soybean oil, apricot extract and watermelon extract to tame frizz and style your hair without needing any hot tools. It’s also a great pick for color-treated hair since the ingredients also protect against UV rays, which can strip away your vibrant hue.
Best for Fine Hair
Why We Love It: Cruelty-free, free gift with purchase
Yes, this hair styler provides texture. But when you have fine hair, finding a lightweight creme that offers volume without feeling heavy or greasy is near impossible. Thankfully, this one makes all your wishes come true. It’s designed to enhance texture and protect against the UV rays, while giving your strands plenty of bounce and softness.
Best for Frizzy Hair
Why We Love It: Lightweight ingredients, great for dry, damaged and color-treated hair
Hair oils are known to keep frizz in check and this luxury find excels at it. The blend features argan oil, jasmine oil, shea butter and sandalwood extract to condition even the poofiest hair and smooth down any flyaways. Whether you apply it as a pre-shampoo mask, an overnight treatment or a daily styler, it’ll leave you with sleeker strands that shine bright under the summer sun.
Best for Dull Hair
Why We Love It: Vegan, sulfate-free, free gift with purchase
If you’re worried that air-drying your hair will leave it looking dull and brittle, try this glossing crème. Its complex blend of pro-vitamin B5, rice protein and edelweiss flower extract protects your mane from everyday elements like heat, pollution or chemical treatments. All you need is a pea-size amount (or dime-sized dollop if you have thicker/longer hair) to increase moisture and improve shine.
Best for Thick Hair
Why We Love It: Lightweight formula, paraben-free
Look, having a huge mane can be tough. Yes, you have plenty of natural volume, but you also deal with moisture loss, frizz and tangles. This styling cream will help put your hair woes to rest. Argan oil, which is the key ingredient in the formula, restores elasticity, prevents dryness and fights frizz every step of the way. Use one or two pumps to smooth and nourish thick strands.
Best for Dry Hair
Why We Love It: AAPI-owned, sulfate-free, free gift with purchase
Are your locks parched, brittle or damaged? This wave cream will replenish dry hair, while defining your natural wave pattern. The hydrating blend of alpine rose, sea grapes, blue algae and Japanese camellia oil work together to protect strands and strengthen any weak areas.
Best for All Hair Types
Why We Love It: Vegan, color-safe, free gift with purchase
Whether you have thick, fine or frizzy locks, this creme will work wonders on your hair. The zip-up technology targets weak areas with a complex blend of castor oil, glycerin and keratin. A dime-sized amount (or quarter-sized for thick/long hair) will tame frizz, soften strands and restore shine after a wash.
Most Lightweight Formula
Why We Love It: Cruelty-free, vegan, great for fine/thin hair
If you have fine or very thin hair, a lightweight formula is key. This formula features air-infused technology that transforms the liquid into foam, so you can run it through your strands without leaving behind any build-up or heaviness. Instead, it gives you a light to medium hold, while improving volume, shine and body throughout.
Why We Love It: Paraben-free, gluten-free, great for all hair types
Need help defining your waves, curls and coils? This texturizing spray enhances your natural pattern minus the crunchy finish. The weightless formula (loaded with glycerin, cashmere extract and tri-polymer complex) can boost hydration, improve elasticity and increase shine for a smoother, more voluminous ‘do.
Why We Love It: Clean ingredients, affordable price tag, tropical fragrance
You can rock a tousled look without breaking the bank. This $7 spray offers soft beachy waves and plenty of volume. Featuring a blend of dead sea salt, sea kelp and aloe extract, it keeps your mane afloat (literally). Plus, it’s safe to use on color-treated, natural- and fine hair.
PureWow may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from PureWow's editorial and sales departments.