Here's How to Balance Air Drying and Blow Drying Your Hair for Happy, Healthy Tresses
We've all had those nights where blow drying our hair before bed just feels like too much effort, but is it okay to go to bed with wet hair? Can air drying your hair in certain situations do more harm than good? We reached out to Brittany Johnson, a licensed cosmetologist and Senior Content Manager at Mayvenn, to learn her recommendation for balancing air drying versus blow drying.
Typically, we think of heat tools causing lasting damage, but the prolonged drying time associated with air-drying can result in stress and breakage on your strands, too, if not protected properly. If you plan on going to sleep with wet hair, damp hair is better than very wet hair, Johnson says. Going to sleep with overly wet hair can lead to scalp irritation and dryness. Scalp health is essential for healthy hair, so using a scalp serum can help prevent irritation.
A balanced mixture of air drying and heat drying your hair will result in happier, healthier strands. "Air drying your hair first not only cuts down on drying time with a blow dryer, but it also allows you to limit the amount of time you're using heat to style your tresses," Johnson says. "I'd suggest starting with detangling and air drying, and then moving on to blow drying with a heat protectant product applied."
There are a few preventative measures you can take if you do prefer to air dry your hair. "For any hair type and texture, using a microfiber towel to start the drying process can help limit frizz and friction," Johnson says. You should find a hair drying process that works best for you. Johnson recommends that people looking to enhance their natural curls or waves should use the "plopping" hair drying method for their hair. This method calls for applying a leave-in-detangler and combing it through still wet hair. Then, apply a heat protectant and curl cream or curl gel, and pile your hair on top of your head in your microfiber towel. Plopping allows the products to be absorbed into your hair as it dries, resulting in a shorter diffusing time, Johnson says.
If you're looking for straight and smooth styled hair, use a microfiber towel, detangle with a leave-in product, and apply heat protectant, Johnson says. Then allow your hair to air dry for 10-20 minutes before blow drying with a round brush.
If you can avoid blow drying your hair every day, it will maintain hair health for longer between haircuts. You can preserve your hairstyle in between blow dry days by sleeping with a silk pillowcase, wearing your hair in a loose scrunchie at night, or braiding your hair at night for a more uniform pattern in the morning, Johnson suggests.
You can also use moisturizing and deep conditioning products on your hair to restore strands if you are in the heat tool-loving camp. "Balancing air drying with the proper products that bring hydration and moisture to your strands is key, Johnson says. "If something isn't working for your routine, switch it up!"