A Smooth and Silky Blowout with a Simple Half Updo



I’m excited to be walking through the steps of a smooth and silky blow out today! I’m using the T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i blowdryer in this tutorial, and this dryer is fantastic. I’ve used a lot of dryers, even another one by T3, and I can really tell that my hair is smoother after using this one.

While it may not seem long to many, this is the longest my hair has been in about 20 years! So, a lighter blow dryer is much much easier on the arms. It takes practice to do a home blow out as good as your stylist can do it, and also strong tricep muscles. If you are new to using a round brush, use very small sections and be sure to rough dry your hair until it’s about 70-80% dry first! Pulling a round brush through soaking wet hair is rough on it and also takes much too long to complete the blow dry!


At the end of the video I share a really simple tutorial that looks fantastic on freshly blown dry or straight hair.


If you’d like to enter to win a t3 Featherweight Luxe 2i dryer, click HERE (entries accepted until June 17, 2016)! If you just can’t wait, you can get 20% off your order of a T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i dryer when you order HERE and use promo code SMALLTHINGSLUXE2I (valid until June 10, 2016)!

Huge thanks to T3 for partnering on this tutorial!

Leave a Comment

Comments (56)

  1. Debbie says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    Kate, what type of brush do you recommend? Maybe you mention it and I missed it. I have found that having natural boar bristle to the brush (are those actually from little piggies?) was a GAME CHANGER for me with blow outs when it comes to the sectioning part.

    • Kate says
      Posted June 3, 2016

      I use a vented brush sometimes when I rough dry just to smooth it out, any vented paddle brush, and this round brush is the one that came in the box with the dryer, by T3!

      • Cheryl says
        Posted June 3, 2016

        So you rough dry with a vented brush? I always rough dry with my head upside down using just my hand and dryer.

        • Kate says
          Posted June 5, 2016

          I rough dry like I show here, flipping my head from side to side, and if I need to smooth through a section (as my hair can be prone to tangles), I’ll smooth through it with a vented paddle brush. Then, when I’m ready to round brush, I’ll grab the round brush.

  2. Kristen says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    HI Kate! I’ve had my eye on this hair dryer at Ulta for awhile, but was waiting for a 20% off coupon before I took the plunge. So excited that you are offering this promo code, so I decided to order through the link you provided, but at check-out it says that the code is not valid 🙁 Anyone else having the same issue?

    • Melanie says
      Posted June 3, 2016

      Works for me, did you copy&paste?

  3. Beth Tessier says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    You make pinning your hair back look soooooo easy! I’m all thumbs when it comes to that! ??. BEAUTIFUL!

  4. Melissa G says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    $250 for a blow dryer…wow.

  5. Amanda says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    It’s such a shame that so many of your posts are sponsored now, I definitely don’t enjoy the visits to your blog as much as I used to. I completely understand you have a family now and your priorities are different but I feel the blog is purely used as an advertising platform and much less about tutorials and favourites videos like it once was. I remember a time I used to get so excited when your email bounced into my inbox and almost all the posts were things I was interested in but now I tend to leave it a few days before I check the site because I know there’s only likely to be 1 out of 4 posts that I’ll enjoy. I’m not trying to be overly critical or harsh, I still think you’re an incredible person and I really admire all you’ve achieved but you can tell that the blog is no longer your baby, rightly so and its just a shame is all.

    • Dana says
      Posted June 3, 2016

      I have to kindly disagree. Far and away, most of her posts do not have paid product promotions in them. I think there may have been a few in a row recently, but that’s not the norm. I do agree the posts have changed over time, but that’s ok! I have never been steered wrong by Kate in a product suggestion and love her posts. Just my two cents!

    • Angela says
      Posted June 3, 2016

      I agree. I don’t know if all the posts are sponsored, but they increasingly feature products that are very expensive to the average person. I have a Rusk Weightless Blow Dryer that is pretty darn light, does a wonderful job and is under $100.

      Its not just the blow dryer though. It seems like every time I watch a video, the products that are her absolute favorites change. I’ll go buy a foundation based on her recommendation and by the next month its already been replaced by another best ever foundation.

      As for this video, I didn’t really see many specific or unknown tips to using a round brush to dry, in fact holding the dryer right up next to the hair seems like a surefire way to fry it. And the “tutorial” for the half up do at the end was just a video of her doing it, not close up and no words.

      • Carrie says
        Posted June 6, 2016

        Kate specifically mentioned in another video (pretty sure it was 2016) that the best way to damage your hair is to blow it dry on hot. She says the air speed is the most important. That’s why she also likes that dryer Speed Freak. I always think about that now and most of the time dry my hair on warm but feel guilty if I turn it up to hot. I bet she has the temperature turned down in the video!

    • Kate says
      Posted June 3, 2016

      Well that’s really discouraging to read. It’s been 5 years since I started this blog. My life has changed a lot, and therefore my content has changed as well as it’s a personal blog. While the blog isn’t my sole focus, it’s still very much something I’m proud of and enjoy working on.

      • gturn62 says
        Posted June 3, 2016

        They’re giving a blow dryer away, people. Lighten up! Always gotta be some “Debbie Downers,” Kate. We love ya. Keep up the good work, and make money doing what you love. The cream always rises to the top!

        • Dana says
          Posted June 3, 2016

          I agree! I had to say something bc I disagree with them. Kate you can’t please everyone! Keep doing a wonderful job.

      • Amanda says
        Posted June 3, 2016

        I’m really sorry Kate, it wasn’t my intention to hurt or upset you. You’re still the primary blog I read and I do still so admire you as a person I just wanted to give you some feedback as there was a time you would welcome it from readers. I’m entirely aware you can’t please all of the people and I don’t think anyone would expect you to but as someone who has been an avid fan since before David was born I just wanted to express how I felt about how it’s evolved. I really do think you’re incredible and to juggle all you do as well as raise your beautiful boys is truly amazing.

      • Andrea says
        Posted June 3, 2016

        Kate, I love your blog and I have learned a lot of tips from you. Thank you for the content you are putting out on the web. You are a strong woman to endure such criticism. I truly admire you.

    • Posted June 3, 2016

      While I think you’ve made a valid observation – sometimes it does seem that there are a lot of sponsored posts – I think the authenticity of the blog remains the same. This is her livelihood so who cares if a post is sponsored or not. The writing is entertaining. The videos are instructive ( Today I really needed to see clearly how someone does a round brush blow dry on long hair – I’m about to try this again and am trying not to think about 15 year old me with 3 feet of fine hair spending hours trying to get the round brush free!!).

      And I get a lot of ideas about cosmetics here. Some I have no interest in after Kate talks about them because I know they won’t work for me, and others intrigue me. It’s like shopping with a friend. Would you diss a friend who was repping for Mac extolling the virtues of a Paint Pot?

      Whether the posts feature a specific product or not, the tips and techniques are still applicable with whatever you have in your drawer.

      Just my thoughts – agree with me or don’t – I think there is a lot of value here with no obligation on our part. Like a gift… maybe the wrapping isn’t what you expected, but what’s on the inside is awesome!


      • Kate says
        Posted June 5, 2016

        “Whether the posts feature a specific product or not, the tips and techniques are still applicable with whatever you have in your drawer.” — it’s nice to read a comment from someone who understands what I’m trying to do! Thanks Susannah!

        • Carrie says
          Posted June 6, 2016

          Yes! You’ve helped me a lot. Where’s the like button?

    • Kelly says
      Posted June 4, 2016

      I agree as well. And I too understand it’s a money maker, but since I have been visiting your blog for many years, I know that you often promote one item in a sponsored post, and then turn around and promote a “competing” item. I understand that items change, and what once was the best isn’t now. However when you promote it as the best and then all of a sudden something else is the best, it makes me wonder.

      I loved when your blog was about hair and makeup. That’s where your expertise is. I think your boys are adorable, but that doesn’t pertain to me at this point in my life. So I just don’t watch those videos or read those blogs. But when I watch a hair/makeup and it’s some really expensive item that most of us can’t afford, it’s disappointing. Do you really need a $250 blow dryer to get this look? If so, I would guess it doesn’t apply to most of us.

      Either way, I think it’s important to accept constructive criticism and not get defensive about it. We are all saying we love your blog! I know I love your blog and you are one of the first ones I watch/read every morning. I just often times wish you hadn’t gotten so “big”. It seemed more genuine then and now more of a business. 🙁

      • Kate says
        Posted June 5, 2016

        Kelly I appreciate your thoughtful comment here. I don’t feel “big” as you put it, but I think that is because blogging is quite personal (not for everyone, but for me it is). I’m excited to work with brands to explain certain tools/products that I enjoy. That doesn’t always mean you *must* have that exact item for a tutorial, as the goal for my tutorials is to teach women how to work with their hair or makeup. My original goal, which remains true even today, is to teach women how to do their own beauty stuff. Quite intentionally, I don’t use language like “you must have this exact item otherwise you will not be able to execute it”. I try to share general tips and tricks I’ve learned from doing hair over 10 years.

        In regards to different content, I can respect that you don’t care about my post with my family–I certainly didn’t read blogs that were family focused until I had one of my own so I get that. I’ve rather enjoyed the variety in content, and it’s been fun to think of fresh ideas for posts!

        • Kelly says
          Posted June 5, 2016

          Oh i have a family…6 kids to be exact. However they are 11 and up, so reading about strollers and playsets doesn’t interest me. And obviously i have limited time. So my YouTube time is used wisely with videos that will benefit me in some way…hair and makeup. My time, my choice as to which watch.

          • Kate says
            Posted June 5, 2016

            I see, yes with 6 kids I bet your spare time is quite limited!

  6. Michelle says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    I might have missed it, but what temperature and speed do you recommend for thr blow out?

    • Megan says
      Posted June 4, 2016

      Yes! I am interested knowing the temp too! Thanks, Kate! I have been hoping for a blow dry tutorial for a while now! I really enjoyed and appreciated this post!

  7. Alyssa says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    Gorgeous! I love the simple pinned back style. Totally taking pictures of your color to my stylist in a few weeks. It’s the most gorgeous blonde!

  8. Jenn says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    Have you see/heard about the new Dyson hairdryer?? Looks amazing and super light!

  9. Brandi says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    Is there a product (or products) you would recommend in using while doing a blowout? Thank you!

  10. Caroline says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    Love this tutorial! Since welcoming my son 3 months ago a simple half up is key when I nurse or else I feel like my hair is all in his face the whole time! 🙂

    Also a funny story for you: First of all I have been reading your blog for about 5 or 6 years and just love it! I also absolutely love that you share your life with us through snapchat! Love your sense of humor about life! So confession, my husband and I were driving up to Dallas over memorial day and I was telling him about something I read on your blog. But when I described you I simply said, “My friend Kate…I mean, you know Kate, the small things blogger I love.” 🙂 My husband just smiled. So there you go, in my head we are friends. Thank you thank you for sharing this blog, and your life so candidly!

    -Caroline McKee

  11. KellyG says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    I love and needed this tutorial. My hair too is longer then it has ever been. I am running out of options as far as styling (I am sick of wearing a ponytail when I don’t know what to do with it). I loved the blow out and the half updo. I may just be able to do this one. Can’t wait. Going to the salon next week and like another commentor, I am taking a screenshot of this post to show her how I would like my color to look.

    Thank you for taking the time to show us this and ALL of your tricks, tips, thoughts, and comments. I truly enjoy your posts, Snaps and Instagram. Your boys crack me up on Snapchat. I also love your “office” posts – when you talk to us like we are co-workers. That makes me laugh every time.

    Have a great weekend and I hope Justin starts feeling better soon (and hope he doesn’t talk about William and Kate – haha!)

  12. A New Old Fashioned Girl says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    I do half up styles all the time, so it’s always nice to see a new way to try it.
    A New Old Fashioned Girl

  13. Sydney says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    I’ve always loved your hair! So I was happy to see this post, as I’m terrible at blow drying my hair! Since I’ll be going off to college in the fall I’ve been in the market for a hair dryer to bring along with me. I’ll definitely be looking into this one, thanks so much for sharing! Hope you have a lovely day Kate!!
    xo, Syd

  14. Anna says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    Love the blow dry look, but my hair never seems to keep the slight bend at the ends…it always flips out! And I’m not talking just one piece or section but my entire hair just flips out. Any suggestions on how to keep the bend at the ends?

  15. Harriet says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    Hi Kate!

    I have curly hair that I normally wear straight. It blows out relatively easily however I have baby hair/breakage at my temples that always wants to stick straight out. I usually end up having to you a strong hair spray to hold them down which negates the easy and cool blow out look I’m going for. Any tips for how to get those hairs to lay with the rest of my hair? Thanks!

    • Kristel says
      Posted June 3, 2016

      I have the same issues! Would LOVE it if you did a tutorial on how to blow dry curly hair. If I left my hair to get about 70% dry, and then touch it, it would be a frizzy mess. I usually have to flat iron it as well after to try to calm down the frizz. Any tips on how to prevent the frizz, especially around the hairline?

      • Lindsay says
        Posted June 3, 2016

        I have the same problem, I laugh hysterically at the idea of a ‘rough dry’, all that warm, half-dry hair just sitting there frizzing while I work the other sections. What I do is apply my product to wet hair, then section like Kate did, with alligator clips, only a bit tighter and smoother. I do other things, letting it dry like that for a while, then blow out with a round bush. That way the roots air dry a little, cutting drying time, but the tension keeps them from curling.

  16. Eden says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    I love your blog Kate! I initially found you on YT, you taught me how to use a flat iron AND curling iron. For years I used hot rollers but as I age my hair has thinned at the crown and my hair “dents”too easy for rollers now. I was all thumbs when it came to other hot tools and your vids have been SO helpful! I love that your real, use quality products, and are willing to admit your faults AND we all have them. Don’t be discouraged! So many ladies like myself appreciate you for you. Can’t wait for your next post!

    • Kate says
      Posted June 5, 2016

      Thanks Eden!

  17. Andrea says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    This is gorgeous! I’m so bad at blowouts! I think I’ll have to invest in a better hairdryer!


  18. Lily-2 says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    Keep up the good work, Kate!

    • Kate says
      Posted June 5, 2016

      Thanks Lily!

  19. Jenny says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    Thanks for the tutorial! Blowouts seem so intimidating. Frizz prone hair plus impatience leads to many ponytails. Could you please tell us what skin care products you’ve been using. Your skin glows! Shopping for a new facial cleanser and would love to know what you’ve been using lately!

  20. Ashli says
    Posted June 3, 2016

    I actually had my first salon Blowout a week ago, and it was mind blowing. HaHa! I thought what I waste of money but O.M.G. my hair was AMAZING!


    • Kate says
      Posted June 5, 2016

      It’s amazing, isn’t it?

  21. Posted June 4, 2016

    Fun & Simple – your hair is gorgeous! thanks for sharing these tips. With some practice, I’ll have it down pat!

  22. Sam says
    Posted June 6, 2016

    This post was what I (and my hair) needed! My hair is the longest it’s been in years and recently having it look cute seems like a battle. For a while now I’ve just been rough drying my hair (causing volume at the ends and not the roots) and then trying to tame it with a flat iron with blah results. But this weekend I used some of your tips and actually paid attention to how I blow dried my hair instead of just relying on styling it once it was dry. I had some of the best hair days I’ve had in a while and it was just in time for my birthday weekend! I also tried the half updotoday and I love that it hides the bobby pins. Thank you!

  23. Lee Ann says
    Posted June 6, 2016

    Kate, you are absolutely adorable! I just love your blog and all of your tutorials. You are a breath of fresh air in such a negative world. I love that you love Jesus, your husband, and your babies. Your styles are always so cute and fresh.

    Please, please, please come to Memphis and do a class!!!! My thick, coarse hair in this humidity needs some help! 🙂

  24. Rachel Lyons says
    Posted June 7, 2016

    I had originally intended to comment a request for more direction of the half-up style…(I love the look but the picture featured looks more “done” than Kate’s hair at end of video?
    I would expect Kate to address this as some others have posted similar requests. I would not expect Kate to necessarily reply to me personally but it would be great if she did:)
    I am astonished and frankly a little disappointed that followers of this PERSONAL blog could be so petty and shallow as to lash out at its creator! Shame on you and you know who you are…
    This is not a hair& beauty blog nor is it professed to be!
    It is without fail the most consistently and pleasantly uplifting site I visit on a regular basis! That is just gravy people! Kate doesn’t have any duty to any of us to post sponsored or unsponsored content, news about her kids or what color underwear she’s wearing…ITS A PERSONAL BLOG!
    She goes above and beyond to be informative, professional and genuine in every post! With all the crap on the internet now, this is a refuge and a soft place to land where I also can find some amazing hair help! 🙂
    Ok rant over

  25. Amy says
    Posted June 8, 2016

    Catching up on posts today and was shocked to see the comments claiming to be “constructive criticism”. Just because a post is sponsored means it’s not genuine?? Don’t readers know by now that Kate would never promote a product that she doesn’t believe in? And heaven forbid she changes her mind over the course of her blog and lets us in on a better product that she has found. I like what another reader said…her beauty information is like a gift to us. And I think we all keep coming back for more because Kate feels like a friend who we can relate to and trust. How about if there is a post that doesn’t sit right with you, just skip it that day and move on. Don’t let it ruffle your feathers and feel like you have a reader duty to let her know that you didn’t like it.
    I’ve been following this blog for 4 years now and don’t usually post comments like this but sometimes it’s like, come on…

  26. Mel says
    Posted June 9, 2016

    I have been dying to purchase the T3 blowdryer since you blogged about it a few months ago. I always ask girls at the gym how they like it and they have nothing but love for it. I’ve saving up for it.

    Mel | http://www.thegossipdarling.com

  27. Taylor says
    Posted June 11, 2016

    Hey, Kate! I tried to get in on the giveaway, but the link says that it has ended. I may be crazy, but it’s not the 17th yet, right? (I’m probably missing something.) Thanks in advance!

  28. Annie Hall says
    Posted June 19, 2016

    Could you describe your current cut and color for me to describe to my stylist? Getting my hair done this weekend!

  29. Samm says
    Posted March 7, 2017

    Good tip, drying your hair before starting with the T3 is something we’ve heard all around in reviews. It’s hard to believe for the price it doesn’t come with more features, but then again it is a pretty stylish blow dryer.

  30. jayne says
    Posted March 30, 2017

    Hi , Did you use any product on your hair to give it volume? I have very fine hair and need volume for the top of my scalp. (or it sits flat) . Any recommendations?

  31. Jessica says
    Posted April 27, 2017

    On phone site.. how to I subscribe to blog??