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Research Says Blow Drying Your Hair This Way Is Actually Healthier Than Air Drying It

Research Says Blow Drying Your Hair This Way Is Actually Healthier Than Air Drying It

Sorry, ladies, but it turns out everything you’ve been taught about the ‘dos and don’ts of hair care has been a lie. OK, we’re exaggerating, but seriously, you may want to sit down for the massive truth bomb we’re about to drop, because it’s a killer. Word around the PRÊTE office is: blow drying is actually healthier for your hair than air drying. Take a second; let that settle in.

Obviously we were thrilled to uncover this revelation, but we were also pretty confused by it, too. Haven’t we all been taught that our hair can’t handle too much heat? That hot irons and high temperature settings on our blow dryers put strands at risk for dehydration and all kinds of damage?

Well, evidently, there’s a dark side to air drying, too. The big reveal came about in 2015, when Elle curated a list revealing some of the most popular beauty questions asked around the world, in which Aussie hair gurus wanted to whether or not it was OK to sleep with wet tresses. 

Now, we’ve all been there. Nighttime showers are great because they save us an extra few minutes in the morning, but when your eyelids are heavy and your comforter is practically calling your name, how many of us can honestly say we haven’t given into the temptation, patted our strands semi-dry with a towel, and crawled into bed? Apparently, too many of us.

What’s the damage?

 Photo by Shutterstock

Photo by Shutterstock

According to a study published in the Annals of Dermatology, leaving your hair out to dry can potentially cause some serious water damage. In short, water-logged strands swell and weaken from the inside out. When hair is wet it’s super sensitive, so you actually want to – prepare yourself -  avoid running a fine-toothed comb or brush through it because the risk for breakage is so high. 

If you’re not searching for a brush first-thing, chances are you’ve gotten into the habit of towel-drying before letting your tresses hang out to dry. Well, it turns out you can forget about this step, too. Vigorous shakes and scrunching in between a folded piece of cloth is borderline rough housing it. If you thought hair couldn’t take the heat, it really can’t take the frizz and tangles we often mistake for natural waves.

Does that mean heat damage from blow drying is all a bluff?

 Photo by T3

Photo by T3

Nope. You’ve heard the saying “too much of anything is never a good thing,” right? Well, same goes for blow drying. Mom, Grandma, and every stylists who has ever warned you not to wear out your hot tools weren’t kidding – high temperatures make for a hot head, literally.

According to SELF, blow drying causes what’s referred to as a “flash drying” effect that not only dries surface moisture, but also sucks the hair’s hydration along with it. When hair becomes dehydrated, strands grow brittle and stiff to the touch, aka not a good look for anyone.

If there are pros and cons to both methods, what’s the healthiest way to dry your hair?

 Photo by PeopleImages/iStock

Photo by PeopleImages/iStock

By this point, we don’t blame you for being slightly confused; after all, our entire beauty routine just got turned upside down. The good news is, the hair goddesses have come up with a solution to this hair drying dilemma and, surprise, it’s a happy medium.

Prevention reports the best way dry damp hair is to let it air dry a little more than halfway. Eyeball it, occasionally run your fingers through, and when it’s about 70-80 percent there, dust off your hairdryer and finish the job on a cool setting, keeping the hot tool 6 inches from your tresses at all times to ensure damage is kept to a minimum. 

Bottom line: Balance is key. Carolyn Aronson, founder of It's A 10 tells PRÊTE the benefit of blow drying your hair is that the process "stimulates the scalp and blood flow more and loosens oils and free radicals adhered to the hair and scalp," while air drying eliminates heat damage from the equation, so you don't have to worry about breakage or split ends. The best thing you can do for your hair, she says, is to "pay attention to your hair and scalp" and make adjustments from there. 

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