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Why Does My Hair Take so Long to Dry?

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I have strange hair. It’s just a reality I have learned to deal with over the years. Stylist after stylist has commented on it: “Oh wow. Your hair is wavy on the top and board straight on the bottom.”

Yep. The top half of my scalp grows my hair differently from the bottom half of my scalp. But though I have a lot of hair, it is very fine.

Each strand of my hair is relatively lightweight, which means, when it comes to styling, it dries very quickly. Whether blow drying or air drying, my hair is usually dry within minutes, and I classify it as high porosity hair.

I have girlfriends that have struggled with wet hair that takes forever to dry aka low porosity hair, halfway through the school day when we were kids. My sister got up an extra hour early each morning before work to blow dry and straighten her hair because it is the opposite of mine: super thick, super dense.

So, when my friends and readers ask these questions, “why does it take my hair so long to dry?” and “how long does it take for hair to dry?”

I answer: “it depends.”

Table of Contents:  

  • Hair Thickness and Hair Porosity
  • Atmosphere Matters, Too
  • Your Hair Takes So Long to Dry: What Can You Do?
  • Self-Love, Self-Care, Let Your Hair Be

    Hair Thickness and Hair Porosity

    These are one of the first factors when it comes to the question “how long does it take for hair to dry?”

    So, what do hair thickness and hair porosity have to do with how quickly, or slowly, your hair dries?

    Thickness has to do with how much volume your hair takes up, how much, essentially, it weighs. Imagine the difference between drying a single bed sheet in the dryer versus drying a big fluffy towel. Hair density rule is - The denser the hair, the longer it will take to dry.

    As for the hair porosity, if you have high porosity hair, that means whatever you put on it, water, oil, and any other product can get into your hair quickly. Likewise, it comes out just as quickly.

    High porosity hair tends to feel drier, can be frizzy, and tangles easily. High porosity hair dries very fast.

    Low porosity hair, on the other hand, feels like it takes forever to air dry! While it is more challenging to get products into low porosity hair, those products will stay longer once they do get in.

    Thickness is typically genetic, and there is not much you can do about it. But, while porosity can also be genetic (African American hair tends to be high porosity, for example), it can also be environmental.

    why does my hair takes so long to dry

    Atmosphere Matters, Too

    Yes, your environment, the atmosphere, the products you use, can all contribute to how long does it take for hair to dry. If you live in a particularly humid climate, say, coastal Florida, you might feel like your hair is always a bit damp because it will absorb all the moisture. On cooler, rainier days, your hair will also take longer to dry.

    The atmosphere can also contribute to more permanent changes in your hair. If you live in Los Angeles with a ton of chemicals in the air, it may dry your hair out over time, turning it into high porosity hair, which means it will dry more quickly after showering.

    Finally, the products you use can dramatically change your hair. I will never forget the time my fancy Southern California hairstylist looked at me with a mixture of pity and compassion when I confessed I used some cheap, bottom-of-the-shelf shampoo and conditioner combo on my hair.

    Those products typically have damaging chemicals and toxins in them that can cause long-term damage, drying out your hair over time, which, of course, will mean it dries more quickly.

    Your Hair Takes So Long to Dry: What Can You Do?

    So, you have low porosity hair, maybe even thick hair, and it takes forever to dry. How can you speed up the process of drying your hair?

    Well, you do not want to dry it out and make it high porosity hair. If you have naturally low porosity hair, turning it into high porosity hair might be extremely damaging. You also have no control over the thickness.

    You are out of luck if you are looking for healthy, long-term changes. But there are some tips and tricks you can apply to overcome the problem of low porosity hair and why your hair takes so long to dry.

    First, you can shower at night and let it dry naturally (always best choice for the low porosity hair!) before you go to bed. Be careful not to go to bed with wet hair as then you will wake up with a nasty case of bedhead that will be difficult to get rid of the next day.

    You can also be sure you are not using heavy products in the shower that weigh down your hair, which will make low porosity hair harder to dry.

    Finally, you can be sure to thoroughly towel dry your hair before either leaving it to dry naturally or blow-drying it. All of these will help you speed up the process of drying your healthy hair while also keeping it natural as much as possible.

    Self-Love, Self-Care, Let Your Hair Be

    As one final, happy, note, you can also just let your hair be what it is. Now more than ever, women find themselves so much happier, less stressed, and less anxious when they learn to love themselves in all their fabulously messy glory.

    It took me years, but I finally embraced my half and half fine hair. My sister learned to adjust her morning schedule, and my girlfriends adopted night-time hair washing routines that allowed them to go to work with fully dry hair without opting for a blow dry.  

    Your hair is a part of who you are, and all the parts of who you are, make you, you. Learn to love it. The best thing you can do, in my self-love-promoting opinion, is to treat yourself to all-natural, plant-based products for your insides and outsides, get fresh air, drink plenty of water, and get good sleep every night.

    The world is constantly giving you things to worry about. Make who you are and how you look one less of those worries.

    Shanna Mendez

    Shanna Mathews Mendez is a freelance writer and blogger on topics related to self-care, naturopathy, female empowerment, and motherhood. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children, where she enjoys traveling, being active outdoors, and studying herbalism and plant-based remedies in her free time. Drawing on her graduate degree in comparative literature and her own life experiences, she is currently writing her first book. She can be found online at her website thewordywitch.com

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