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Is There A Safe Blow Dry Temperature?

Posted Jun 28 2010 11:01pm

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Daffodil asks…Based on one of your descriptions of heat damage, I am wondering if cool air will also do any damage by shocking the cuticle dry too quickly, and removing natural moisture. I thought cool air would be completely safe, now I’m not quite sure.

The Left Brain responds:

While it seems logical that cool air would be completely safe for your hair you have to understand that the problem is not just the temperature of the air used to dry your hair. It’s also the fact that you cycling your hair through wet and dry conditions.

When hair is saturated with water the cortex (the inner protein bundles that give hair its strength) swells up. The outer protective layer of your hair, the cuticle, is not as “stretchy” as the cortex so it doesn’t swell as much. Therefore, as the inner part of the hair shaft swells it pushes the layers of cuticles outward and causes them to lift up. Then, as the hair dries, the inner part shrinks again but the cuticle doesn’t contract as much.  That’s how cycling between wet and dry hair damages the cuticle.  More rapid drying (i.e., hotter temperatures) stresses the cuticles even further but even cool blow drying can contribute to damage.

What do YOU think? Do you have any tricks for drying your hair with the least damage? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.

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