Learn how to air dry your hair overnight without making it frizzy. Also check out why air drying is so beneficial, especially to natural hair.
Did someone ever tell you to ditch the blow dryer and air dry your hair? Did you hair come out super frizzy when it dried?
Well that’s because you’re doing it wrong!
I’m sure the struggle would have been real guys, because while blow drying your hair may seem like the easiest and quickest way to get your hair dried, air drying should always be your go-to option.
Related: How To Dry Natural Hair Fast
But did you know that there is actually a “right way” to air dry hair, when it actually seemed like a simple no-brainer thing to do?
Well, let me put it this way – in order for your hair to air dry well, it should also be washed in the correct way too. It is all part of a process.
So do keep reading and you’ll find out everything you need to know about how to air dry your hair the right way!
How To Air Dry Your Hair
It is important to note that before hair is air dried the method in which your hair is washed is equally important and here’s how you should do it!
Step 1: Make sure your hair is rinsed under running water
This step is very essential before you shampoo your hair. For your shampoo to penetrate into the hair shaft and lather well on your hair, your hair has to have a sufficient amount of water coating each strand.
Make sure not to use hot water, as it will not only damage the hair, but it will also strip away all the hair’s natural oils and will also make the hair dry as the cuticles on the hair shaft will open and let out all the moisture.
Therefore, using cold water or lukewarm water is ideal.
Step 2: Shampoo your hair and condition it thereafter
This is the most essential aspect of hair washing. Remember that shampoo is always for your scalp and conditioner is for the hair.
This means that when you shampoo your hair, you need to apply the shampoo over your hair at the scalp and dilute it with a little water, so it flows down the length of your hair. After this, you can massage it in.
While using a conditioner, make sure to only use it on your hair and not on your scalp.
Using a conditioner on your scalp will not only result in product buildup formation, but will also over-condition your hair and make the hair stand limp, when it dries up.
The reason behind why you shouldn’t condition your hair near the scalp is because the scalp is already well-moisturized by the hair’s natural oil or sebum, so it doesn’t require any more moisturization.
Make sure to follow these tips so your hair doesn’t end up like this!
Step 3: Rinse off the conditioner with cold water
After rinsing off the shampoo and conditioning your hair thereafter, you can rinse off the conditioner using cold water.
This is an ideal practice because the cold water will help seal the cuticles on the hair shaft and lock in all the moisturizer which is obtained from conditioning your hair.
Step 4: Use a microfiber towel to dry your hair
Remember to never leave your hair to be air dried if it is soaking wet. This practice is incorrect. Air drying of the hair should be done only once your hair has been pat dried with a microfiber towel.
Yes, you read that right – use a microfiber towel and no other type. If you haven’t been using a microfiber towel all this time, then it is time you start!
Microfiber towels are the best towels for drying hair because they will not only help dry your hair quicker, but it will also protect your hair from hair damage and frizz.
This is because it prevents any friction between the hair strands while you are wiping your hair.
Remember not to squeeze your hair or wring the towel around your hair. Just pat dry it to get rid of the excess water (so as to avoid hygral fatigue) and thereafter leave it to air dry.
Step 5: Use a hair moisturizer
While your hair is still damp, apply or spritz a little hair serum, cream or leave-in conditioner (suitable for your hair type and texture).
This will help your hair to remain sufficiently moisturized until your next hair wash. But this step is totally optional, especially if you have straight, oily hair.
Step 6: Let your hair air dry without touching it
Lastly, leave your hair to air dry on its own. Yes, this means that you should not try to touch it or comb it or style it.
Just make sure to let your hair loose (without even a clip) and let it dry up completely in its own time.
Is it better to let your hair air dry?
Well, I would like to put it out there that when we talk about air drying washed hair; it refers to hair that is damp and not soaking wet.
The reason why air drying is a better option as compared to blow drying is because blow drying of hair involves heat and any heat used on the hair can cause your hair some level of hair damage and it can also result in your hair becoming frizzy once it dries.
If you air dry your hair, the moisture can be retained in your hair as compared to blow drying your hair with heat that will considerably suck out the water content from hair strands and make it feel dry.
While air drying has its fair share of cons like hygral fatigue (explanation below) caused due to incorrect drying.
Also, it will also take your hair a longer time to dry, whilst blow drying can speed up the process.
For those who sleep with wet hair, it can lead to bacterial formation on the scalp. But this being said, nevertheless, these problems needn’t necessarily be “problems”, right?
Let’s say you air dry your hair correctly, then it will save your hair from hygral fatigue.
You can wash your hair hours prior to your event, so it will give your hair sufficient time to dry up and then, you can wash your hair much before you go to sleep, so you do not have to sleep with wet hair.
Seems simple right? Well, I would still consider it much safer than using heat on your hair from a blow dryer!
Air Drying of Hair Causes Hygral Fatigue: Fact or Myth?
If hair is air dried the wrong way, your hair will succumb to a condition called hygral fatigue and that is a fact!
For those of you who are hearing about this condition for the very first time, let me let you in on what it is.
Hygral fatigue is a condition where the hair gets swollen and damaged due to excess water or moisture.
When there is excess moisture, the hair strands swell up and when it begins to dry, the swelling reduces. If this process of swelling and deswelling occurs too often, the hair succumbs to hygral fatigue.
When you over-moisturize your hair or leave it wet for too many hours, the cuticles on the hair strands suck in the moisture and the hair strand swells.
While people with porous hair types are more prone to this use, others too can experience it.
Apart from excessive moisture and hair porosity, the health of your hair too will play a part in your hair having this problem.
If your hair is experiencing hygral fatigue you will find your hair looking super frizzy, standing limp, getting knotted easily and you will find your hair more prone to breakage because it becomes very brittle.
So washing your hair the right way, not over-moisturizing, taking better care of your hair, and reducing hair treatments is the best way to keep it healthy.
Also getting frequent hair trims and making sure your hair isn’t soaked in water for long hours, can help reduce and eventually solve this problem.
This is also why you should pat dry the excess water once your hair has been washed and before you leave it to air dry.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about air drying hair:
1. Is blow drying hair on a cool setting safe for the hair?
Well, yes, blow drying your hair with a cool setting blow dryer is better than using heat. But without heat, the cool air will take quite long for your hair to dry.
Although, if you wish to style your hair while blow drying it, the cool air will help you hold your hairstyle in place more easily.
Cool air blow drying will also help seal the cuticle on the hair shaft, trapping in moisture.
2. Why shouldn’t non-microfiber towels be used to dry hair?
Cotton towels are heavier and made of coarse and thick materials that can create friction when rubbed against the hair.
This can open your hair cuticles and make the hair look frizzy when it’s dried. It can also make the hair more prone to damage and hair breakage.
The final takeaway on how to air dry hair
Air drying your hair is much healthier as it doesn’t involve the use of heat or excessive rough handling from towels.
So I’d suggest you air dry your hair as far as possible and use a blow dryer with heat only when required.
In fact, if you have damaged hair you might want to cut down your hair dryer or straightener usage to two to three times in a month, if you want to maintain your hair health.
But if you do wish to use it more often, try blow drying your tresses with the cool setting on your hair dryer, so it will at least save your hair from heat damage.
Leah LOVES hair. So much so, she dedicated an entire website to it! One of the founders of Hair Everyday and Chief Editor, Leah enjoys reviewing all the hair products and showcasing the best. She believes her most underrated articles are her hair care tips!