What is the healthiest way to dry your hair? You might have been told that air drying your hair is a much better option. After all, it’s the heat that damages hair, right?
We all agree that blow drying and using heat styling tools can be damaging in the long run. As a result, most ladies simply opt for air-drying in an effort to prevent damage and maintain hair health.
Well, what if I tell you that blow-drying is actually better for your hair than just letting it air dry?
Yes, according to a study published in Annals of Dermatology, air-drying actually causes the inside of the hair strand to dry up more, and that blow-drying your hair from a certain distance may be less damaging. This research done in Korea concluded that blow drying might be the healthier option.
Now, you might be wondering how possible it is for blow drying to be better than air drying.
Essentially, a hair strand is made up of an outer layer and an inner layer. The inner layer has the medulla and the cortex, while the outer layer has the cuticle. You must have heard of the cuticle before because it is crucial to the overall appearance of the hair.
When you see frizzy, dry and dull hair, it means that the cuticle is damaged. The bad reputation of blow dryers come from the fact that they trap water in the inner layer of the hair and expose the hair to extreme heat, causing damage.
However, air drying also significantly affects the hair. The hair fiber of your hair swells and becomes weaker when the hair is wet. So, the more exposed your hair is to water in this weakened state, the more chances of it getting damaged.
What happens when you leave your hair to dry for hours is that you keep it in its swelled and weakened state. This causes damage to the proteins which make up the hair structure, causing the hair to look and feel dry and rough.
The Healthiest Way to Dry Hair
Is it better to air dry your hair? Is it better to blow dry your hair? Though air drying is a great way to prevent heat damage caused by blow dryers, it takes a long time. The longer it takes, the more your hair swells, affecting your hair proteins and leading to damage.
On the other hand, blow drying your hair exposes the hair to much heat which can cause damage. It leads to a “flash-drying” effect that removes the surface moisture of the hair as well as the hair’s in-bound water.
From this, it is obvious that air drying or blow drying alone is not healthy for the hair. It is important to avoid the risks associated with both air-drying and blow drying. The best way to do this and keep your hair healthy, soft, and luscious is to do a combination of both. Experts recommend that you let your hair air dry for about 70% – 80%, then get it to dry completely with a hair dryer. This is a healthy method guaranteed to keep your hair looking fabulous and super sleek.
Rather than waiting long hours for your hair to air dry or stressing yourself for long with the hairdryer, leave the hair alone till it is about 70% dry. Once you’ve employed this natural method, you can now blow dry your hair till it’s completely dry. Besides, it is not only healthy; it is also super convenient.
As you air dry your hair, it is very probable that you may want to dry it with a towel. A towel abrasion can result in hair stripping or breakage. So, rather than rubbing your hair with a towel to get rid of excess water, use a microfiber towel or a cotton T-shirt.
There is also the struggles of dealing with messy and shaggy hair as you air dry which can tempt you to brush your hair. Your hair is most delicate when it’s wet, and brushing it will cause the hair strands to stretch, leading to splits and breakage.
READ: How To Air Dry Curly Hair Overnight
However, going outside to air dry without brushing will cause knotting, which can also result in split ends. To keep your hair tangle-free, frizz-free and damage-free, you should comb your hair while you are still in the shower (or before you shower), rather than brushing it.
Exposing your hair to much heat while blow-drying isn’t ideal, hence the recommendation that you should only blow dry for about 20 % – 25%. To ensure that you do not incur any damage while you do this, follow these tips:
- Use a high quality blower in order to get the best results.
- Never blow dry your hair with the high heat settings of the blower. Use only low temperatures.
- Keep the heat dryer about six inches away from your scalp.
- Work on your hair in sections in order to keep the hair dryer moving constantly. If the dryer is only on a single spot, the direct heat concentration can cause extreme damage.
- Use an air flow diffuser for even distribution and to cover a large section of hair.
- Always apply a heat protectant spray or a leave-in conditioner on your hair before you blow dry. This provides cuticle protection and overall hair protection, preventing split ends and long term damage.
CHECK OUT: How To Use Hair Dryer Without Damaging Hair
The Bottom Line
The proper hair drying method is something you want to get right as one wrong turn your hair into a frizzy mess, and even lead to worse damage. Now, you should be aware that the healthiest drying technique for your hair is to let it 75% dry naturally, and then apply a heat dryer till it’s completely dry.
If you stay consistent with the tips given above to properly air-dry and blow-dry your hair, drying your hair will surely become a fantastic experience. Voila! You can confidently say goodbye to bad hair trouble. Step out with healthy and luscious hair that is free of frizz, tangles or breakage.
Did you know? You can curl hair with just a blow dryer.
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