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Air drying vs blow drying: the ultimate guide to healthier hair

You’d think that allowing your hair to dry naturally would be much better for it – right? But while most of us would make that assumption, it seems everything we thought we knew is wrong. Experts agree that air-drying isn’t necessarily better for the overall health of your hair. In fact, leaving your hair to air-dry could be causing preventable damage. So, is it better to air-dry or blow-dry hair? Here’s the lowdown.

Sure, some hair types are better left to air-dry. But what if we told you that reaching for the right shampoo and conditioner, and learning how to use a blow-dryer like a professional, are skills you need to add to your at-home beauty resume for shiny, healthy-looking hair?

Is air-drying bad for hair?

"Hair fibers swell when they’re wet and, as a result, are much weaker than when they’re dry", says Dove Partner and Celebrity Stylist Lacy Redway. That’s one of the reasons you should brush gently, and why you shouldn’t vigorously towel dry once you’re out of the shower. "However, hair can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in water. That means the more time hair is wet, the longer it’s swollen, and that puts more pressure on the delicate proteins that keep hair intact," explains Dove Partner and Celebrity Stylist Lacy Redway.

Air-drying vs blow-drying

So, while the truth is out about the effects of air-drying, blow-drying isn’t exactly the virtuous alternative. The solution? Firstly, ensure the in-shower products you’re using are boosted with protective ingredients to prevent further damage. Dove Intense Repair Shampoo and Conditioner work together to target surface damage with a restorative blend of protein, lipid, and nutrients.

With your hair clean and more resilient, it’s time to get your hair from wet to dry. "The healthiest option is to dry your scalp and hair to around 80% using a low to medium heat setting on your dryer – that gets the majority of water out – and then you can leave it to air dry from there, or continue to dry and style it as you usually would," says Dove Partner and Celebrity Stylist Lacy Redway.

The best tips for gently blow-drying hair

First, invest in a microfiber towel that will absorb water without contributing to further breakage. Follow with heat protection – Dove Smooth & Shine Heat Protection Spray detangles, nourishes at the level of the hair’s cortex without weighing it down and helps protect hair while adding smoothness and shine. Once you start drying your hair, start on the lowest setting. "The drier your hair becomes, the less fragile it is and so you can slowly increase the temperature on your blow-dryer," says Dove Partner and Celebrity Stylist Lacy Redway. "Once the hair itself starts to warm up, turn up the heat, and then remember to give it a blast on the cool setting to set your style in place".

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