Contrary to popular belief, heat damage from a hair dryer may not be inevitable. In fact, one study shows that blow drying can be better for your hair than air drying (mind-blowing, I know). Apparently the key to knowing how to blow dry hair without damaging it is in part using the correct technique, and also investing in the right blow dryer.
According to a South Korean study published in the Annals of Dermatology, water causes the cell membrane cortex (CMC) that holds the hair cuticles together to swell, which over time damages the hair from the inside out. In the study, hair that was left to air dry for two hours showed more damage than hair that was blown dry. Now to be fair, the hair dryers in this study didn’t come off scot-free either. But it does make a case for finding the right balance between blasting your hair with heat and leaving wet hair to its own accord.
So what is the right balance? The study concluded that “using a hair dryer at a distance of 15 cm with continuous motion causes less damage than drying hair naturally.” It also found a direct correlation between heat and hair damage, with cooler temperatures causing less breakage. And that’s where choosing the right blow dryer comes in: Today’s hair dryers have advanced technology that emit non-damaging, infrared heat and negative ions that break down the water molecule. These safer alternatives to conventional hair dryers along with the right blow drying technique will ensure that your hair stays healthy.