Is air-drying your hair actually worse than a blow dry?

Let's investigate.

It’s the age old question – to blow dry, or not to blow dry?

We’re well aware of the damage that heat can cause on your tresses, which is why all the experts advise you use heat protection spray when using styling tools. So what would you say if we told you that research suggests air drying your hair could be just as bad as blow drying it?

Annals of Dermatology conducted a study and found that leaving your hair to dry naturally once you’ve washed it can actually be worse for your hair health than blow drying step-by-step while it’s still wet.


It’s all to do with your hair’s response to being wet. Experts claim that when your hair is wet, the fibres swell and are weaker, so letting your hair air dry means its exposure to water goes on for longer, making the risk of damage greater.

Talking about the research, Dr Tim Moor, chief technology officer at ghd, told The Sun: ‘Naturally drying hair swells the cortex, as it is in contact with water for a longer period.

‘Repeated swelling and slow drying of hair causes the cell membrane complex (the glue that holds the cuticle together) to crack, which damages the hair.’

Confused? Same. Armed with all this new knowledge, do you blow dry your hair or not? We know that blasting your tresses with hot air can cause surface damage and dehydrate your hair, as well as affecting the colour.

But it turns out you don’t need to ditch the hairdryer completely, as long as it is around 15cm away from the hair and continuously moving as opposed to staying in one place for an extended period of time.

So now you know.

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