How to dry your hair properly (airdrying isn’t the way forward)

2 months ago 21

Think ditching the hairdryer during lockdown was a good idea? Wrong!

‘It’s a common misconception that drying hair naturally is better,’ says Iain Sallis, trichologist and director of the Hair Medics chain of clinics.

‘Yes, the heat and tension of using a hairdryer can cause micro-cracks to appear in the hair’s outer cuticles.

‘However, leaving water in the hair isn’t good for it either, as the cell membrane complex that acts like cement to hold the internal cortex together tends to swell, pushing out until hair cracks from the inside.’

So while hair stays wet and swollen, the delicate fibres that keep it intact are increasingly put under pressure and permanently damaged.

This, then, should be your new hair-drying regime…

1. Take as much moisture out of your hair as possible

‘Gently squeeze with a towel rather than rough drying, which can cause damaging friction to the outer cuticle,’ advises Shoreditch salon owner Adam Reed.

Made from microfibres that mimic sportswear fabric, Aquis Rapid Dry Lisse Luxe Hair Towel (£30) draws moisture away from hair to dry it twice as quickly while keeping cuticles smooth.

To prep hair, Adam favours oils, which he says are ‘unsung heroes that boost moisture and shine but don’t weigh hair down.’ Try super-light L’Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil Original (£19.70), packed with nourishing, strengthening argan oil as well as heat and humidity defenders.

2. Apply a heat protecting product

‘Heat protection formulas help take the guesswork out of drying hair so you can get the best result most safely,’ says Adam.

For fine hair, mist on Azure Healthy Shine Xtreme Heat Hair Protecting Shield (£15.99) with natural orange, sugar beet and white tea extracts to create a shield against styling tools.

Alterna My Hair My Canvas Soaring High Volumising Blowout Mist (£26.49) is a vegan volumising spritz that claims 72 hours’ humidity defence plus heat protection up to 232C due to oils including sunflower.

For thicker hair or styles that need a richer formula, Bumble & bumble’s Bb.Bond-Building Repair Styling Cream (£25) helps repair bonds inside the hair shaft while protecting against high temperatures and is also infused with a honey complex to improve elasticity and stop breakage.

If you’re going to diffuse curly hair, Shedid & Parrish Curl Control Serum (£28) uses a tara fruit and sunflower blend to naturally fight heat while creating a smooth curl.

3. Pick the right drying tools

The GHD Helios Professional Hairdryer (£135) is quiet, light and has heat settings adjusted to the optimum temperature and a smooth airflow design for sleek styling.

Undone by George Northwood Blow Dry It Hairdryer (£65) has five heat and power options, plus a cool shot to tailor drying while boosting shine.

‘Everything should be about keeping the cuticle aligned,’ says Adam. ‘That means drying methodically down the lengths of your hair, not speeding through the process.

‘If the air is too hot, it swells the hair up and causes damage, so start with a medium heat and fast speed to slowly expel water and seal cuticles down, only getting hotter at the end to finish off your style.’

Top hair-drying tip

A study by scientists in Korea found that holding your hairdryer 15cm away and moving continuously actually causes less damage than leaving hair to dry naturally.

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.

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