Is Using A Blow Dryer Or Curling Iron More Damaging To Your Hair? Here's The Hard Truth

Fact: Using heat on your hair at all makes it susceptible to damage and breakage, and even though we know we all should lay off the appliances and just go au natural all the time, that's easier said than done. If you absolutely have to put heat on your hair but want to mitigate the dryness and breakage, then you might be wondering: Is using a blow dryer or curling iron more damaging to your hair? One definitely is better than the other, so you might be due to switch up which one you reach for when the going gets unruly.

I try to never use heat on my hair, but sometimes it's unavoidable. It gets frizzy, the weather makes it fall flat, or you sleep on it and it gets all bent out of place. During those times, I'm usually inclined to switch on my flat iron or curling iron for a quick shape up — I mean, it takes way less time than fully blow-drying it, so it must be less damaging, right? Wrong.

According to dermatologist Carolyn Jacob, "Irons are worse than blow dryers." So what gives? Damage increases when heat is held in one place on your hair for an extended time, like with an iron, but with a blow-dryer, you usually keep the heat moving, so it helps to reduce damage (emphasis on reduce, not prevent). In addition, irons usually have higher heat settings than blow-dryers, and the higher the heat, the more damage is caused.

Dario Cantatore/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

But that doesn't mean you have to swear off your irons for good. Definitely keep the use to a minimum (every few days, not every day), and when using, choose a low heat setting and only keep it on your hair for three or four seconds max per section. It is also super important to use a heat protectant spray, whether you're curling, straightening, or blow drying your hair. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Phyto

PHYTO PHYTOKÉRATINE Repairing Thermal Protectant Spray, $32, Amazon

This paraben-free spray will help fight breakage.

2. Aussie

Aussie Heat Protectant Shine Spray, $5, Walgreens

Not only will this protect your hair from heat, it will also add shine.

3. John Frieda

John Frieda Frizz Ease Heat Protectant, $5, Amazon

Want to fight frizz? This two-in-one product is for you.

Want more fashion and beauty tips? Check out the video below and subscribe to Bustle on YouTube!

Bustle on YouTube

Images: Milles Studio/Stocksy; Dario Cantatore/Getty Images; Nordstrom; Walmart