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How To Use A Diffuser On Short Natural Hair

Short, curly hair is stunning for showing off your bone structure and your natural wave pattern at the same time. But the truth of the matter is that it can be a nightmare to style. As with all curly hair types, short curls need extra help to get definition and bounce.

It’s especially tricky to style short hair because your curls are more susceptible to being blown by the wind, resulting in disrupted curls. Luckily, there are some tools to help you bypass that disaster. One of them is the handy-dandy diffuser.

Diffusers can be tricky to work with, especially if you’re a mere beginner. If you use it wrong, you can end up with frizzy, poofy hair instead of uber-defined, frizz-free curls.

Today, we’ll go in-depth about how to use a diffuser on short natural hair.

What Is A Diffuser And What Does It Do?

A diffuser is a plastic tool you attach to your hairdryer to help diffuse and gently redistribute the air blowing out of it.

It’s shaped like a tiny, cone-shaped bowl with several bristles called “fingers” sticking out.

These fingers look like rounded prongs, and they hold your curls together as you dry them.

Diffusing is a technique that allows you to dry your hair without a harsh blast of hot air disrupting your natural curls and damaging your hair cuticles.

The diffuser has many small holes in it so that when you attach it to your hair dryer’s nozzle, it spreads out the airflow in a controlled manner.


Great For Wavy And Curly Hair

While anyone will enjoy the benefits of diffusing, it’s women with wavy and curly hair that will get the most out of it.

That’s because diffusing helps you keep your natural curl pattern in place.

Curly hair is typically vulnerable to frizz and tangling, especially when you use a blow dryer.

But with a diffuser, the air that dries it is super gentle, holding the shape of your curl.

The effect is kind of like when you leave your curly hair alone and let it air-dry without blasting it with heat and air, except ten times faster.

And since you’re not damaging your hair as much as when you use a hairdryer on its own, diffusing can be done every single day.

It’s a terrific alternative to air-drying, especially when you’re in a rush in the morning and need to get your hair done in a few minutes.



The best part about diffusers is that they’re super affordable.

For under $10, you can get a high-quality diffuser like the Conair Volumizing Diffuser Hair Dryer Attachment.

how to use a diffuser on short hair

Its fingers sculpt your curls, helping them keep their shape as you dry your locks.

It also fits most hair dryers, which is a huge plus.

Long story short, a diffuser works to protect your curls as you dry them.

This allows them to spring up and be super bouncy once you’re done diffusing.


How Will My Hair Look After Diffusing?

Diffusing your hair makes a world of difference, and you’re sure to notice it if you’ve never diffused your curls before.

The fingers make your spirals bouncier and more voluminous.

That’s because the act of diffusing requires you to literally lift your hair up with the help of the fingers and dry them that way.

You’ll also notice right away that your curls are less frizzy than when you blow-dry without the diffuser.

This is especially distinguishable on short hair, which is super prone to frizz.

Because diffusers make the air from your dryer flow out gently, it won’t destroy your natural curls nor create tiny flyaways.

It takes a lot for curly hair to look shiny and healthy.

But when you’re diffusing, you’re dealing a lot less heat damage to it, giving it a better shot at looking super lustrous.

That’s because diffusing disperses the hot air into a larger area instead of blasting the heat directly in just one spot.

So since you’re not roughing up your hair cuticles, your curls will look smooth and luminous.


Will Diffusers Work On Short Hair?

Yes, a diffuser works to bring out the waves and curls on any hair length, even on short hair.

It works extremely well on this length since it gives your hair volume and lushness that would otherwise not be so noticeable on super short curls.

Just note that diffusing your short curls will make your hair look even shorter.

That’s because diffusing will create a springy bounce in your hair, leading to a degree of shrinkage.

When shopping for a diffuser for short hair, make sure you get one with fingers that aren’t too long.

If the spikes are extremely long, they can end up roughing up your hair and destroying your curls as you diffuse them.

One diffuser that has short fingers is the one that comes with the InfinitiPro by Conair 1875 Watt Texture Styling Hair Dryer.

how to use a diffuser on short hair

Aside from having short fingers, this diffuser is perfect for short hair because of its multi-chamber design that makes the airflow super gentle.

That way, you’ll have smooth and frizz-free curls no matter how much you diffuse.

The hairdryer itself is terrific for maintaining hair health too.

It’s made with ceramic and ionic technologies that ensure that drying your hair is less damaging.


How To Prepare For Your Diffusing Session

Prepping before you diffuse your hair plays a huge role in how your curls will turn out after you’re done.

That’s why you need to pay extra attention to your hair wash routine.

Your hair has to be damp before you diffuse it.

So the best time to diffuse is right after you wash your hair.



Use a gentle shampoo and moisturizing conditioner, and detangle your hair while it’s still wet in the shower.

Use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb while your hair is saturated in conditioner to eliminate any tangles.

Starting out with smooth, knot-free hair will reduce your risk of getting frizz and flyaways later.

Plus, knotty hair will be a huge hindrance to your natural curl pattern taking shape.

When you’re done, dry your hair with a microfiber towel.

Pat it dry and squeeze out the excess moisture instead of rubbing it with a rough towel.

This will cause your hair to be extry frizzy and poofy, and there’s no coming back from that.

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Curl-Enhancing Cream

Next, you have to use a curl-enhancing cream.

This encourages your natural curls to come out and provides hold.

This is a must for short hair that has tiny curls that are easily disrupted.

Not only will these styling products bring out your curls, but they’ll also serve as a heat protectant later.

A cult-favorite cream styler for curls and waves is the SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie.

It works to bring out your natural curl, leaving your spirals ultra-defined.

It’s also full of moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil.

The smoothie is also rich in silk proteins to strengthen your hair and add a ton of bounce to your curls.

These ingredients nourish the hair while giving it a layer of protection from your hair dryer’s heat.

When your products are in your hair, use your fingers or your favorite hairbrush to create coils and ringlets.

This step accentuates your texture and gives you that final chance to shape your curls the way you want to before setting them with the diffuser and dryer.

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How To Use A Diffuser On Short Natural Hair

Once you’re done prepping your hair and you’re ready to use your hairdryer, it’s time to get diffusing.

Here’s how you do it the right way:

Step 1

Slide your diffuser into your dryer’s nozzle.

Make sure it’s securely attached so it doesn’t fall off in the middle of you drying your locks.

Step 2

Switch on your hairdryer and keep it on low to medium heat.

These levels are a lot healthier on curly hair and will prevent tangling and frizz.

It will also be a lot more comfortable for your scalp since you’ll be pushing the diffuser down into that area later on.

Step 3

Tilt your head over to one side and place the diffuser under your hair.

If you have a very short pixie cut, simply hover the diffuser around your head without pushing it down into your scalp.


Hair Longer Than Two Inches

If you have anything longer than two inches of hair, set your curls into the diffuser and lift the dryer close to the scalp.

Make sure the airflow points upward while your curls are settled into it.

The fingers will hold your curls, giving them a better ringlet shape as it dries.


Don’t Take Long

Hold the diffuser in place at each section of hair for about 15 to 20 seconds. 

Never diffuse one specific part of your locks for too long, lest you end up damaging it with too much heat.

Carefully lift the diffuser from each section of hair and move on to the next one.

While doing this, make sure you don’t shake out your hair with the diffuser.

This will only disrupt your small and sensitive curls.

Don’t use your fingers to spread out the curls either.

Let the diffuser do the work.


Flip Your Hair

When you get to the crown area, bend over and flip your hair upside down so it’s pointing to the ground.

Lift your diffuser to a 90-degree angle and dry your curls in that position.

This gives the hair in that area extra height and lift for a more flattering, bodied look – a must for short hair.

Go through all your curls starting from the back and working your way to the front pieces until you’ve diffused your whole head.


Cool Air

Switch your dryer over to the cool setting and hover your diffuser around your head.

The cool air will help seal the curl pattern in your hair.

Diffuse only until your hair is about 80% dry.

Allow your hair to air-dry the rest of the way to get the most frizz-free results.

Your curls are most defined when they’re wet, so letting your curls dry untouched while they’re slightly damp gives them the best chance at being super defined.

Plus, blasting air into hair that is already dry might make it frizzy, which is counterproductive to diffusing.


Use Your Fingers

When your hair is completely dry, give your hair a gentle shakeout with your fingers.

This will give it body and natural movement.

If you want softer curls, fluff your hair out carefully with your fingertips to get rid of those overly tight coils and kinks.

Don’t be too rough with it though, as this can disrupt the curls instantly.


Will Diffusers Make A Difference On My Straight Hair?

Even though diffusers were designed primarily for those with curly hair, you’ll still be able to make it work with short, straight hair.

With the right products and diffusing techniques, you could bring out natural waves you didn’t even know you had!

Simply add a curl-enhancing styler to your hair, like cream or leave-in for waves and curls.

Distribute the product from the roots to the tips of your hair, scrunching as you go to spread it out evenly and create soft waves.

Use the diffuser to lift your waves and hold the shape in place.

Be extra careful diffusing straight hair – one wrong move and you can completely destroy your shaggy waves.

If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with hair with a bit more texture than usual.

It might not be as structured and bouncy as those with naturally curly hair, but it’s still a great way to spice up your usually straight and sleek short hair.



If you have curly hair, a diffuser will be your best friend in keeping frizz and limpness away on wash days.

It’s the ultimate weapon to bring out your curls and add tons of volume and lift to your tiny spirals.

The difference is tremendous on short hair.

Instead of having your small curls fall flat against your face, a diffuser will help add body and height to your hair.

This will make them springy and have tons of movement even without the length.

I hope this piece has helped you to know how to use a diffuser on short natural hair.

But you’ll need some time to practice your diffusing technique, that’s for sure.

But once you get the hang of it, your short curls will look happy and healthy all the time.

Once you experience firsthand the effect of a diffuser on short hair, you’ll never be able to live without it again.

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