Sure, there’s nothing quite like sleek and smooth blow-dried hair, but when the shine and silky texture fades, you’re often left with less-than-desirable locks. You might be looking at your limp and dry strands and wondering if your favorite heat styling tool might be the culprit.
You probably won’t be wrong, as it’s generally known that exposing your hair to extreme heat removes moisture essential to your hair’s structure and health. The loss of moisture due to the heating elements can cause hair to become dry, brittle, and damaged. Brushing hair exposed to heat damage can cause further hair breakage as well.1
Whether you’ve been blow drying your hair for a long time and need a plan to counteract heat damage, or you just want to be more conscientious about your hair health when you style your hair with blow dryers or hair irons, here are some ways you can breathe life back into your locks.
Recognizing The Signs Of Damaged Hair
Hair treatments (like hair dyes and bleaching), or even the lack of proper shampooing could also create hair damage. Any kind of exposure to heat styling can play a large part in damaging the hair cuticle. Hair that’s regularly exposed to heat may:
- Be dry and brittle to the touch
- Show obvious split ends
- Break apart easily when your brush or finger comb it
- Have a rough texture
- Appear frizzy (due to the porous texture of damaged hair)
- Tangle easily2
While hair masks, a leveled-up conditioning game, or even a new haircut could help your hair regain its lost vitality, you may have to pull the power cord on your blow-drying habit — or at least lessen your dependence on it — to truly have healthier hair.3
You can also employ some towel drying hacks, up your use of heat protectant hair products, and adopt some new haircare habits to still have amazing hair as you wean off your heat styling tools.
Natural Drying Techniques: How To Towel Dry Hair Properly
Air drying might not be an option for all hair types (especially those that need a little extra help to tame unruly curls or control natural texture). You can limit the time you expose your hair to heat by removing excess moisture from your hair before blow-drying.
First, learn how to towel dry your hair properly. Instead of rubbing your hair vigorously with a towel, you can try loosely wrapping your hair up in the towel and letting it absorb the water. You can also blot the hair in sections.4
You can also just let it air dry a little on its before you plug in your hairdryer.
Choose A Good Hair Protectant Spray Prior To Heat Styling
Perhaps the most popular advice when it comes to heat styling is to apply a heat protectant spray or product to your hair before subjecting it to extreme heat. The purpose of these sprays or masks is to coat the hair in a protective layer, so that heat doesn’t penetrate the delicate inner cortex of your strands and lead to moisture loss.
You can look for a heat protectant product containing glycerin or propylene glycol, as these compounds are especially effective in keeping the water (moisture) in your hair despite the application of heat.5
Still Need To Blow Dry? Consider Ionic Technology And Other Blow Drying Tips
If you absolutely have to blow-dry (or simply don’t want to give it up just yet), you can adjust your blow-dry game to reduce your hair’s prolonged exposure to heat.
- Consider switching to a hairdryer that uses ionic technology, as this type of dryer is said to dry hair much faster (which means less time exposed to heat).
- Move the dryer farther away from your scalp, since you’ll get more heat damage the closer the nozzle is to your locks.
- Try a lower heat setting and reduce the time you spend under the dryer, so you can minimize damage despite still using heat to style hair.6
You can also try this one-two punch: Air- or towel-dry hair until it’s just damp, and then use a cool setting on your blow dryer to finish off. Move the dryer continuously around your head so you don’t concentrate heat in one spot and create further damage.7
Play Hair Stylist And Experiment With Different Looks To Extend Your Blow Dry
In a bid to lessen your blow dryer usage, you can try stretching out the days between heat styling sessions. No need to sacrifice your hairstyle, though — you can try out different looks using other products to extend the life of your blow-dry.
Here are some ways you can style your hair in between blow-dry days:
- Try putting your hair up in buns or braids. You can even weave ribbons or sparkly fabric through the braid to jazz it up.
- Apply sea salt spray to play up natural curls.
- Use gel or pomade to slick your hair back in a more modern look.
- Pull your hair back into a sleek high ponytail, slicking stray hairs back with gel or hairspray.
- Sleep with your hair in little buns so you wake up to effortless, beachy waves.
- Play around with colorful clips, hats, headbands, or headscarves to accessorize hair.
Love Your Natural Hair
While blow-drying and heat styling might be inevitable in certain situations, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with rocking your natural hair. Provided your hair is healthy and well-cared for, there’s certainly merit in embracing your curls and waves — not only in avoiding heat damage but also in having the confidence to love your unique look.