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Is air-drying the healthiest way to dry your hair?

And welcome to another episode of “I thought I had it all figured out!”  We all know that blow drying and adding heat to our hair without caution, or frequently, is damaging- period. So, a lot of us curlies opt to air-dry our curly tresses in an effort to cut down on any damage and maintain our hair’s overall health. However, it seems like the air is after our hair too. A study done by scientists at Annals of Dermatology came to a finding that air drying caused more drying to the inside of the hair strand and that blow drying your hair at a certain distance, and motion may be less damaging than air drying.

In the study, the scientists wanted to test the overall damage of hair strands that had been washed and dried naturally or with the help of a blow drier.

  • They tested blow-drying the hair at different distances and times.
  • The hair went through 30 trials over 30 days, which meant daily shampooing and drying.
  • One study group air-dried naturally.

cell membran comples

The surface, cuticle, and cortex layer were all examined under a microscope. Also the CMC, or the cell membrane complex, and the moisture content were looked at. The surface of the hair was not damaged significantly in any of the strands but the strands that were exposed to more heat did have some cracks and holes in it.

The CMC is where it gets interesting. The cell membrane complex is basically what holds the cuticles, and other hair parts in tack. In all of the groups the only one that was damaged was the air-dried hair strands. The other strands showed no damage at all. The scientists concluded that possibly if hair is wet longer it may affect the hair more, specifically the inside of the strand.

When the scientist put these two differences together, they concluded that air-drying more was damaging than light blow-dryer exposure. So where does this leave you? The now confused the “I just want to show my hair love” enthusiasts. Well let’s start here.

  • Do you wash your hair daily? If not, then this study may not affect you as much.
  • If you do wet or wash your hair daily, or even more than 2x a week then maybe it can be important. How are you allowing your hair to dry? Air-drying or heat-dried? Is the air-drying time really long? Is the heat drying really hot or do you keep it on your hair for a long time?

air drying hair not always the healthiest try a dryer

Here are suggestions to help you:

  • Blow-drying your hair, 15 cm away from the hair.
  • If you wash your hair because the style is getting “old” then learn how to work on “dirty hair” just but wetting it a little and re-doing your twist/braid-out or wash and go. Or turn it into a protective style, a puff/up do.
  • Lightly blow-dry your hair on the cool or low heat setting, until your hair is half way dry
  • We love the hooded hair dryer or adding a diffuser to your blow dryer. Both help to diffuse the air more evenly to prevent scorching.

Overall, we want to maintain the health of our hair as best as we can. What do you think? Do you air dry or use a heating tool?

Looking for other way to protect your hair? Check out some of our other posts below:

  1. How to sun-proof your natural hair.
  2. Getting moisture into your curly hair during the winter.
  3. Is there something in the water ruining your hair?

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