How to air dry your hair while keeping it healthy and protected

Posted by for Beauty

You may be air drying your hair more often at home, but is it actually causing damage? We asked the experts.

Working from home comes with its perks. One we’ve discovered over the last few months is being able to emerge from your morning shower without having to immediately reach for a hairdryer. Instead, you can sit at your work station with damp hair and let it air dry with zero heat.

While we’re constantly told about the damaging effects heat styling can have on our hair, it’s easy to believe that air drying is the best thing for your hair – but it can actually weaken your hair, too.

When your hair comes into contact with water it swells and becomes weak. Not only does this put pressure on the proteins that keep your hair intact, it can make your hair stretch, which leads to snapping and breakage.

“Hair can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in water,” explains Adam Reed, hairstylist and ghd UK ambassador. “The longer it stays wet, the more the cortex swells and cracks, permanently damaging hair.”

Of course, that’s not to say that blowdrying your hair doesn’t come with its own downsides. 

Heat styling can cause moisture loss. “Our hair’s elasticity and strength are largely reliant on its water content, so this can cause dryness, brittleness and breakage,” says Anabel Kingsley, consultant trichologist and brand president at Philip Kingsley

“At its most severe, heated styling tools can cause ‘bubble hair’ – a condition that occurs when your hair becomes filled with tiny air bubbles. Very hot blow dryers over 175 degrees and straighteners over 125 degrees can cause moisture within the hair shaft to rapidly steam and expand, creating tiny air pockets within the hair fibre.

“If this happens, you will notice the formation of little bulges or ‘bubbles’ along your hair shaft. Where these bubbles form, hair is very weak and fragile. Unfortunately, you cannot reverse bubble hair.”

While both methods come with their own disadvantages, there are steps you can take to ensure your hair is protected and the integrity of the hair shaft isn’t compromised. Here, we round-up our favourite hair drying products…

  • Aquis Hair Towel Lisse Luxe


    As well being extra gentle and friction-free on hair, Aquis’ cult hair towels are a quicker alternative to towel drying. These work particularly well on afro hair.

    Aquis Hair Towel Lisse Luxe, £30 (shade pictured, Desert Rose)

  • The Wet Brush Detangling Hair Brush


    As we mentioned, your hair is weaker when its wet, which can lead to snapping. The Wet Brush is made with flexible bristles to minimise breakage while also making detangling as pain-free as possible. Read our full review here.

    The Wet Brush Detangling Hair Brush, £13.24

  • Ouai Air Dry Foam


    Created with keratin and kale extract, this foam works with the natural patterns in your hair to define curls and waves.

    Ouai Air Dry Foam, £24

  • Virtue One For All 6-In-One Styler


    This styling cream works for both wet and dry hair. As well as leaving hair softer and adding hydration, it contains keratin to tackle areas of damage.

    Virtue One For All 6-In-One Styler, £17

  • ghd Helios Professional Hair Dryer


    If you prefer using a hairdryer to dry your hair, opt for one that has different heat settings. The ghd Helios allows you to pick your level of power and temperature so you aren’t overloading your hair with heat.

    ghd Helios Professional Hair Dryer, £159

  • Kérastase Discipline Fluidissime Spray


    It’s important to protect hair against heat loss but this Kérastase spray also has a pro-keratin formula to promote shine and strengthen hair.

    Kérastase Discipline Fluidissime Spray, £24.80

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Main image: Getty

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