Our hair is fragile, and it's easy to forget that, especially when we spend so much time dying styling it without much worry. But our hair is especially sensitive after we get out of the shower, and there are a number of things you should never do to wet hair. You might be okay to use your curling wand on blow-dried hair, but using heating products on wet hair is a whole other story.
"Whether you have fine or coarse tresses, whenever your hair is wet, it is more fragile, especially if you have color-treated or chemically-treated hair," says celebrity hairstylist Kiya Wright over email. "Unlike dry hair, wet hair is more delicate to anything it touches. I always recommend sectioning wet hair into six parts and then towel drying or blow drying each section, so that you are decreasing the amount of tension and friction that is being applied to your fragile strands."
Taking the proper precautions when your hair is wet can help protect the health of your hair, which will ultimately lead to stronger, healthier, and more full-looking locks. To make sure your hair isn't going through any unnecessary breakage, avoid these eight things you should never do when your hair is wet.
Almost all stylists agree: Don't brush your hair when it's wet. "If you find yourself with a lot of tangles, it's best to go with a Wet Brush and leave-in spray," says stylist Bryant Anthony of Salon Eva Michelle. "The bristles are much softer on a wet brush than a regular, everyday hair brush." Anthony also recommends avoiding a round brush on wet hair. "Try rough drying your hair first (about 90 percent) and then using a round brush to smooth rather than detangle," he says.
2Pull It Back
Avoid putting your hair in a bun or ponytail when your hair is wet. "When wet, elasticity is at its max, so when it is in a bun, the hair is more prone to break," says stylist Eva Mustafai of Salon Eva Michelle over email. "This can cause fly aways and extremely dry ends. The same goes for ponytails, but you add in the factor of the scalp not having enough air to dry, which can cause eczema or other skin irritations." Mustafai recommends leaving your hair down to air dry or using a leave-in spray with your hair dryer.
3Use A Curling Iron Or Straightener
It's tempting to style your hair before it's completely dry, but avoid it at all costs. "Never flat iron or curl with an iron on wet hair," says stylist Krystle Hansen of Salon Eva Michelle over email. "You are just frying your hair and creating damaged, dull hair."
4Put On A Ton Of Product
"Wet hair and loads of your favorite product are like oil and water — they don't mix," says Wright. "When you blow dry wet hair, the heat melts the product and weighs down the strands, making your hair too heavy to style."
5Go To Bed
"We all need to get our beauty rest, but if you choose to do so with wet hair, expect to wake up to matting and tangling in the morning," says Wright. "Hair should be dried before you go to bed no matter how tempted you are to get some shut-eye."
6Blow Dry It On High Heat
Although it might be a time saver, avoiding high heat on wet hair is imperative, says stylist Fae Norris of Rock Paper Salon over email. "Gentle drying on low heat may take more time, but it will definitely reduce damage," she says. "Anyone who has seen the viral video of that sweet girl burning her hair off with a curling iron got a lesson in how wet or damp hair responds to direct, high heat."
7Apply A Hair Mask
Applying a mask to wet hair is much less effective, so in order to maximize the mask's effects, avoid applying the treatment when your hair is completely wet. "You must towel dry your hair so the mask can penetrate your hair shaft easier," says stylist Bricel Cury of DreamDry over email.
8Wrap It In A Towel
So many of us do it, but wrapping your hair in a towel after the shower can actually damage your hair. The harsh fibers of the towel are rough on the hair and can cause breakage, stylist Jen Atkin told Elle. To help absorb moisture, try using a cotton t-shirt instead.