While it's generally best for your hair to just let it air-dry, sometimes we don't have four hours to spare. So whether you only use heat to dry your hair occasionally or even if it's an everyday necessity, it's important for the health of your hair to use the blow-dryer setting that causes the least damage to your strands. But which is better: Higher heat for a shorter amount of time or lower heat for a longer amount of time? Turns out, it can be a little more complicated than that.
John Redmond, Renpure Marketing Director, explained to me over email that it's not necessarily the heat setting that dries hair faster, but the wattage that powers the dryer. For a quicker dry, look for a dryer that has at least 1800 watts (the higher the wattage, the faster the blow-dry). But just because your hair-dryer might give you a speedy blowout doesn't mean you should leave it on high heat. Both Redmond and Matrix Style Link Celebrity Stylist, Nick Stenson, with whom I also emailed, generally recommend keeping your heat set on low to medium. The only time you should crank it up, they say, is depending on your hair type and styling needs.
"High heat may be used on really thick or coarse hair to remove excessive moisture," says Redmond. Stenson adds that if your hair is really healthy, you can also use higher heat to help control frizz. However, they agree that if your hair is thin, damaged, or heavily colored, you should stick to a lower heat setting. Even if you always use the lowest setting available though, your hair may still need extra heat protection. To really mitigate potential damage, here are three other things you can do:
1. Use A Natural Shampoo + Conditioner
Try: Renpure Advanced Bamboo Coconut Water Shampoo and Conditioner, $6 each, Target
"It's important to keep hair as nourished as possible before blow drying," says Redmond. He therefore recommends using a natural shampoo and conditioner that are free from sulfates and other drying and damaging ingredients whenever you wash your hair.
2. Use Both Methods
Try: BaBylissPRO Ceramix Xtreme Dryer, $60, Amazon
To really minimize the damaging effects of heat styling, Stenson suggests giving yourself time to air-dry before bringing out the blow-dryer. He recommends letting your hair air-dry 80-percent of the way, especially if it's damaged, and then using heat to "polish and finish off the last 20-percent of the drying."
3. Don't Forget A Heat Protectant
Try: Marula Pure Beauty Oil Daily Moisture Mist Leave-In Conditioning Heat Protector, $32, Marula
And of course, don't forget to use a heat protectant before blow-drying your hair. Try to find one with other nourishing ingredients so that it's not just protecting your hair from damage but also conditioning and strengthening it at the same time.
Here's to a fierce and healthy blowout.