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The Effects of Blowdrying on Natural Hair

• Aug 22, 2011

By Jc of The Natural Haven

Does blow drying on cool damage your hair?

On a journey to find the answer above I came across a lovely little scientific study (J Soc Cosmet Chem, pp 27–36, 1981) which showed that even with low temperature blow drying hair never gets back to its original moisture level until it is soaked in water then air dried or placed at a much higher humidity.

In other words, heat drying your hair actually does dry your hair out.  To explain this, I will start off with a reminder of the basic structure of hair.

This is what happens when hair is wet through washing. Water travels into the cortex.

When hair is wet, there are two options to dry it: air drying and heat drying.


About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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35 Comments on "The Effects of Blowdrying on Natural Hair"

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I don’t blow dry very often. I only blow dry on a low setting. But when I do my hair is as dry as the desert of Sahara. Thank you JC for this article. Loove your blog!


Your welcome Cassidy, thank you for the compliments 🙂


Great Article! Very well explained. I haven’t quite got the hang of blow drying yet. I tried with a diffuse but it always seems to go horribly wrong…


I think blowdrying in moderation is fine, and make sure to use heat protection and the right settings. Look at youtubers Longhairdontcare and Brittanynic16 they use both heat and their hair is doing fine. I plan on following Longhairdontcare regime on my hair.


Me too!!

Angela (@Gigee_B)
I’ve been completely natural for about 3 years and I think I’m one of few naturals that blow dry (and flat iron) somewhat regularly (once a week). I always do a deep conditioning before blow drying and I sometimes may use a leave in (Knot Today). I also use a dime size of Chi Silk Infusion before blow drying and before flat ironing. When I blow dry, I use a cool/medium setting and I never put my flat iron on the highest setting. My hair is a couple inches past shoulder length and has been doing fine with this regimen…I… Read more »

Informative post!
I almost never blow dry. I’ll do it if I’ve wet set my hair overnight and it’s still not completely dry in the morning, but even then I don’t use high heat and i’ve done it less than ten times in the past year. I’m still transitioning, so i’m terrified of damaging my new growth before i chop, which will realllly be discouraging to me fully enjoying being natural!


I can totally relate!!! Thank you so much for the info!!!!

I blowdry my hair every once in a while,and when I do I tend to use regular heat at the roots and gradually press the cool button as I go down the hair. Someone on here mentioned Longhairdontcare and I thought I’d mention that there are two natural hair ladies with that name,but the one I think the others are also referring to is Longhairdontcare2011. I use tips by her as well and, yes her hair is doing fine. I think its about moderation and also making sure to use a heat protectant and add oils,etc in before the hair… Read more »

I used to blow dry at the beginning of my natural hair journey, but now I always air dry. The dryer that I currently have does not have a cool setting. I’ve been contemplating getting a blow dryer with a cool setting, and this article helped me in my decision. Thanks much!

Kayleigh Eichholz

Someone I work with visits your blog frequently and recommended it to me to read too. The writing style is excellent and the content is interesting. Thanks for the insight you provide the readers!

First, I love this blog. I recently became fully natural, transitioned for 15 months. I blow dry my hair on a low setting when I do a wash, I’m not the biggest fan of my shrinkage. I recently learned about grapeseed oil as a heat protestant ~ and honestly my hair feels incredibly soft when blow drying my hair — I towel dry my hair really really really good lol — put it in 6 sections and apply a small amount of grapeseed oil to each section then blow dry on low — I apply Shea moisture after I do… Read more »
Jaeda Barbie

thanks for this article. it is very informative:)

vacatures leeuwarden

I am not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for great info I was looking for this information for my mission.


Hi I’ve been natural for 2 1/2 years I’ve gotten my hair straightened professionally once I tried it myself last week and was successful, however when I wet it some parts of my hair wil not curl back up. Is there anyway to fix it? I’m so upset about this. ALSO I’m thinkng about having a barber shape my fro will the clippers affect my curl pattern or other styles? Thank you in advance!!!


I’ve been blow drying my hair since forever and never experience a problem but I think it’s all about having the moisture and using really effective heat protectors. Do whatever you can to protect your hair 🙂


Thanks for the informative article! The picture diagrams really help. I always blew out my hair just after a wash and conditioner but never put anything on before because the hair would never fully dry up (like a sponge, it is!). The ends were always a worry point for me. Now I’m probably going to put some leave-in on and wait a bit before blowing it out on a low setting. You live and you learn!

Tasha Scott-Taylor

I’m so glad to have found this article.. I just started blowing my hair 13 mos. Natural I have no problems but low setting is the key also grape seed or some other great heat protection. Thanks for info


This article is quite informative. Think i’l go the grape seed.


Well If you live in the Dayton Area Check

Thank you for the article. I have been natural for 7 years. I also have two kids 8 & 4 who doesn’t have relaxers at all. My 4 boy has very tightly curled hair that holds so much moister I only two strand twist his hair every other week and he is good. My 8 yr old however is my lil fashionista. She always wants her hair in different styles. My problem is both our hair is super dry. We both have eczema. And our scalps tend to flake and become very itchy and gets scabs in it. I wash… Read more »

Have you tried using essential oils at all? I used to have a problem with itchy scalp, but since I started adding tea tree and /or lavender essential oil, itches and flakes have been nonexistent 🙂

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[…] The Effects of Blowdrying on Natural Hair, […]


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I have been blowing drying my hair to get stretch to it because I don’t feel like putting a lot of time into my hair. But I have noticed that my hair is super char. I know now that I have to alternate between both drying and drying.

Leethia Mitchell

I just have to say that if you are blow drying to put an under curl in your hair with a round brush then you should blow dry facing down the hair shaft so that you are not going against the cuticle. And your hair should be 90 % dry before you blow dry to style doesn’t matter what type of hair you have. -Cosmetology student 🙂 P.S. I have an example down below


I love this hair cut. What is the style called? Where are you located?


I didn’t know that hair had cuticles. That’s really interesting that hair is a cortex surrounded by cuticles. I heard that differences in hair texture and curliness were due to structural differences; those differences must be present in the hair anatomy you mentioned.


[…] the truth: Blowdrying natural hair exposes the delicate hair strands to possible damage. This especially problematic when done frequently on a high-heat setting. Arguably, a weekly […]

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