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Is Blow-drying Your Hair Bad? The Healthiest Way to Dry Your Hair

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Split ends, brittle hair, dry and irritated scalp—these are clear signs that your hair may have been exposed to too much heat. 

While hair damage is sometimes caused by various environmental factors that are beyond your control, it may also be due to the way you dry your hair. 

If you regularly use a hairdryer, it may be time to take a break and look at why it may be doing you more harm than good.

Table of Contents:

  • Is blow-drying your hair bad?
  • Common blow-drying mistakes
  • Is air-drying better than blow-drying hair?
  • How do I properly dry my hair?
  • The best tools for drying hair

Is blow-drying your hair bad?

The short answer to that is: not always. Blow-drying can be helpful, especially if you don’t have enough time to air dry and style your hair using other heating tools. 

towel drying, hair drying

In some cases, blow-drying can even be better for the scalp and hair. What makes blow-drying bad and harmful is the way that you do it.

Common blow-drying mistakes

Contrary to popular belief, blow-drying is an acquired skill. There’s a reason why hairstylists do it best—it takes practice and experience to do it properly. 

Many people try to replicate what professionals do, but blow-drying isn’t as easy as it looks when you do it yourself.

hairdresser, blow drying, hair drying

For instance, stylist and blogger Emily Henderson discovered through her hairstylist friend that she has been blow-drying her hair wrong for so long. Some of the blow-drying mistakes she made were the following:

  • Forgetting to use protective hair products
  • Failing to use the right brush and hairdryer
  • Blow-drying in the wrong direction
  • Putting the hairdryer too close to the hair 
  • Blow-drying while the hair was still wet
  • Starting in the wrong sections
  • Blow-drying too fast

Professional dry cutting specialist Dhiran Mistry also outlined common blow-drying mistakes that many people tend to make, which may you unknowingly be making as well:

  • Failing to rinse off shampoo properly
  • Failing to split your hair into sections
  • Applying product in the wrong places
  • Tugging and pulling your hair while brushing and detangling it
  • Using a ceramic or metal brush
  • Forgetting to rough-dry your hair before blow-drying it
  • Cleaning your hairbrush

These practices put your hair at risk of breakage, brittleness, and dryness, which can be stressful to handle, especially if you value your hair more than anything else. 

What many fail to realize is that blow-drying can be good, but only when done right.

Is air-drying better than blow-drying hair?

It’s normal to switch to air-drying once you discover and experience the harmful effects of improper blow-drying. 

Air-drying is not problematic per se, but, like blow-drying, it’s just as effective when you know how to do it properly, and you’re familiar with how your hair works. 

You see, your hair is made up of proteins called keratins, which are then protected by a flexible cover called cuticles. When your hair is wet, its proteins form weaker bonds, making it prone to damage.

brushing wet hair

Trichologist Jane Mayhead also explained that your hair’s elasticity increases as well when it’s wet, making it stretch and at risk of unnecessary tension when you brush and style it and leave it to air-dry. 

This consequently deforms the cuticles and makes your hair look dry and frizzy.

Both air-drying and blow-drying can be tricky, but they aren’t at all that bad. The key here is finding healthy ways to dry your hair.

How do I properly dry my hair?

Doing a balanced mix of air-drying and blow-drying can help you maintain the health of your hair. Experts recommend washing and deep conditioning your hair in the shower first, then letting your hair dry naturally by 70%-80% to get the moisture out of your hair and minimize damage. 

Using protective hair products is key to saving your hair from breakage and dullness as you dry it. Use a heat protector spray or leave-in conditioner that contains glycerin and propylene glycol, both of which are instrumental in reducing water evaporation. Choose products with proteins like collagen or amino acids to protect your hair cuticles as well.

If you’re using a hairdryer, use its low or medium heat option and move it in a continuous motion while holding it at a distance of 15 cm or 6 inches from your hair. 

Aside from professional hairstylists and trichologists, researchers from Yonsei University support this practice since they discovered through a study that hair surfaces become more damaged as temperature increases.

The best tools for drying hair

As mentioned before, using a heat protector spray or leave-in conditioner can give you the best results when drying your hair. You can also use several great products to efficiently maintain the health of your hair while drying it. 

Microfiber towel 

You can also dry your hair by blotting and squeezing the moisture out with a towel. 

A microfiber towel, in particular, can help dry the hair faster because it contains nearly 200,000 fibers, which create a larger surface for absorbing moisture.

Silk pillowcase or hair wrap

If your scalp becomes dry from air-drying or blow-drying, try using a silk pillowcase or hair wrap to keep your scalp hydrated. 

The frictionless surface of silk also mitigates hair damage and maintains the smooth result of a good blow-dry.

WOW Skin Leave-in Treatments

Our leave-in treatment products are made with plant-powered and gluten-free formulas to keep you safe from potentially harmful ingredients and give you the results that you want. 

The WOW Hair Revitalizer contains micronutrients and active ingredients that help strengthen hair strands, tame frizz; seal split ends, replenish moisture on your scalp, and more. 

Simply apply a few sprays of the product and gently massage it onto your scalp and the length of your hair. 

Our 10-In-1 Apple Cider Vinegar Mist Tonic, on the other hand, contains rose hydrosol and lavender essential oil, both of which can help soothe and hydrate your skin and hair and fight dandruff-causing fungi. 

10-In-1 Apple Cider Vinegar Mist Tonic, wow Mist Tonic, Apple Cider Mist Tonic

When using the tonic on your hair, lightly spray it all over cleansed areas and let it dry naturally.

Gentle Flex Detangling Brush

Use the Gentle Flex Detangling Brush to comb through wet or dry hair from the ends up.

The brush is designed with eight rows of separated Nylon bristles, which can be stretched or tightened with a detachable bracket to detangle small or large sections.

Its hollow body also allows heat to disperse and dissipate evenly, reducing the amount of time you’ll need to dry your hair.

Radhika Bhatia

I'm a content writer, copywriter, and blogger with a background in marketing, planning, and eCommerce. I specialize in beauty writing, including skincare, cosmetics, wellness, aesthetics, and health. Classically trained and idea-savvy, I love living in the present.

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