Study Shows That Blow Drying Is Healthier Than Air Drying: Should We Be Concerned?

Study shows that blow drying better than air drying

Well ladies, are you a blow dryer type of girl or do you just depend on natural air to do your drying for you? As I said a few weeks ago, I have been delving a little into the science that is haircare and I have been discovering some alarming things that you might have come across as well. Whether you use a blow dryer or air dry, you might want to sit up and pay attention to this!

Do you remember when you began your healthy hair journey and you were told that one of the sins of healthy haircare is use of heat? You were cautioned about the dangers of using heat and so, not wanting to stunt your progress, you swore off your hair dryers, flat irons, curling wands and just about anything that would make you a transgressor (you probably even pawned them off in a yard sale).

Of course, as you became wiser to the dos and don’ts depending on what your hair responded to as well as information on the discussion boards, you amended the “absolutely no heat” stipulations to “maintaining a healthy relationship with heat”.

This amendment caused you to relax a bit and resolve to take chances with indirect heat from your hooded and hand-held dryers, while limiting the use of direct heat to once or twice per month or even yearly.

Now at the risk of rocking the apple cart, we must share a study that purports that blow drying your hair is actually safer than air drying. I can almost see some of the eyes bulging at that and I for one know exactly how you feel.

When I first came across this study I said to myself ‘I wonder which dryer manufacturer paid for this study to boost sales,’ then my more level headed nature took over.


To be honest, it is not as though this is way out of the ball park. It is not that far fetched at all when you consider that the hair must expand to hold water and lengthy drying times can cause hair to be in a fragile state since wet hair is quite vulnerable. We have written about hygral fatigue on BHI before, which is hair weakening due to constant exposure to water.

On the flip side, heat causes the cuticle layer to raise, allowing shingles of protein to shell off and cause gaps in the shaft if you are not careful. This caused me to look beyond the title and sift through the scientific explanations and findings.

The Study

The study was done in Korea by Yoonhee Lee, M.D., Youn-Duk Kim, M.D. and Won-Soo Lee, M.D. and is recorded in the Annals of Dermatology. They looked at the effects of washing and drying hair at least once for thirty days consecutively.

They tested five samples of virgin hair; one received absolutely no treatment, another was shampooed then air dried at 68°F, while the remaining three samples were all shampooed then blow dried for varying periods of time at varied temperatures and distances. It looked something like this:

Originally posted 2014-01-27 15:00:44.

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About Marsha Buchanan


As a Jamaican girl raised in a devout church family headed by my mother, I have always had my natural hair, no chemical processing. After years of mistreating it , often ignorant of that fact, I began my healthy hair journey in January 2013 in fact, I have seen to it that my entire household falls in line where this is concerned. When I am not poring over some hair blog or forum I spend my time teaching English to rowdy high school students (ok maybe I have some little sweethearts in the mix), mothering the most adorable two year old on this globe, or rushing to meet the deadline for a writing project on Elance. In my spare time I enjoy a stroll along the beach with my doting husband.

About Marsha Buchanan


As a Jamaican girl raised in a devout church family headed by my mother, I have always had my natural hair, no chemical processing. After years of mistreating it , often ignorant of that fact, I began my healthy hair journey in January 2013 in fact, I have seen to it that my entire household falls in line where this is concerned. When I am not poring over some hair blog or forum I spend my time teaching English to rowdy high school students (ok maybe I have some little sweethearts in the mix), mothering the most adorable two year old on this globe, or rushing to meet the deadline for a writing project on Elance. In my spare time I enjoy a stroll along the beach with my doting husband.

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Comments

  1. Matt Angelique Zimmer
    Matt Angelique Zimmer

    That’s bullcrap all that heat on hair is not healthier than air drying.. They are only saying that so you can damage your hair and buy their products that will only do more damage!! Smh

  2. Ameenya German
    Ameenya German

    I don’t care what this article says, my hair response well to air drying.. Not going to stop because this rubbish says other wise.. 🙂

    1. BlackHairInformation.com

      Actually the article’s conclusion was that there were too many holes in the study and honestly they didn’t really look at black afro hair so we can’t really take their findings at face value. lol

    2. Ameenya German
      Ameenya German

      Hi Nwajei the difference between air drying and blow drying is that you’re not using direct heat on your hair to dry it which has been known to cause heat damage to the hair. When you air dry you just let your hair dry naturally on its own adding no heat just letting Mother Nature dry it…. And hello Asanda.. I do nothing special to my hair when air drying it. I just co-wash my hair, apply my leave-ins, braid my hair and my hair dry on it’s own.. I have not used heat on my hair in over almost two years since my big chop and my hair is flourishing and very healthly. 🙂

  3. Chanelle Wilkerson
    Chanelle Wilkerson

    I blow dry mine and that’s the way it’s staying. Ain’t nobody got time for all that work that my hair requires after air drying.

  4. Yvette Martin
    Yvette Martin

    I can’t work with my hair after air drying! I HAVE TO blow dry if I want to “style” it! If I air dry the ONLY thing I can do with it, is, moisturize it, and, put a FABRIC headband on! THAT’S IT! Even then, it doesn’t look right, so, it’s either blow dry it, or throw a wig on it!

  5. Natasha Allen
    Natasha Allen

    To be honest, I can actually agree with this to some degree. Before I started my hair journey, I had

  6. Natasha Allen
    Natasha Allen

    I used the blow dryer and had no tangles. I stopped using it, and had soo many tangles after starting my hair journey (note that this was done while improving practices on my hair). Last night was my wash day, and I succumbed to the hair dryer, and my hair is tangle free and it feels like silk! This is just my personal experience of course

  7. Sunny Vibes
    Sunny Vibes

    Air dry is the healthiest option on her. Gives hair chance to grow than applying heat consistently

  8. Tia Smith
    Tia Smith

    This article is hogwash for those with afro textured hair. First of all…. we do not wash every day so excessive water is not our enemy. However, excessive dryness is. Second, if the article was read…It talks about drying hair for just a few minutes. Really… what black woman can blow dry their hair in 6 minutes??? The risk for heat damage is toooo high due to the length of time it takes to dry. If heat is used… it should be indirect via a hood dryer with blow drying done infrequently. #thatisall

    1. BlackHairInformation.com

      True, nobody dries their hair in 6 mins, more like 30! I think the fact that us with afro textured hair also use oils with ceramides regularly also makes a huge difference because those oils protect the cuticle layer from damage.

  9. LaKeasha Thompson-Harris
    LaKeasha Thompson-Harris

    Its better to air dry your hair to me less heat damage because most of us use a flatiron at some point less heat is best but for those of you that find it hard to manage your hair after air drying after you moisturize your hair put it up in plats(braids) like4/5 put a scarfe on and go to bed by morning hair is dry unbraid and style it will be soft no tangles and makes flatironing a lot quicker and your hair will be smother and straighter

  10. Phyllis Cunningham
    Phyllis Cunningham

    Everybody says it is best to stay away from heat while transitioning, but I always been blow drying my hair, (on a low setting) because my hair responds well to being & looks better blow dried than being air dried. And my hair is just fine.

  11. Jane Owens-Perry
    Jane Owens-Perry

    Bull – AIR DRYING BLACK HAIR IS THE BEST. WE AIN’T SPENDING NO MORE MONEY ON PHONY BLOW DRYING! SISTA’S SPEAK ON! ONCE EVERY 6 MONTHS I MIGHT BLOW DRY – BUT I INDEED WILL STICK TO AIR DRYING.

  12. Bri Y. Harris
    Bri Y. Harris

    I have a ceramic blow dryer which my hair does better v/s air drying the ends makes it better and less breakage if I flat iron my hair.

  13. Fanchon Hill
    Fanchon Hill

    I blow dry on a low setting after I part my hair into four sections. I don’t use hot settings. Air drying make hair tangled

  14. Ebony -Shorty Stacks- Benford
    Ebony -Shorty Stacks- Benford

    FIRST “you” tell us that too much heat is bad for your hair and to air dry because its better … NOW “you” say, “Hey, wait a minute, scratch that, it’s wrong, go ahead and blow dry” … STOP PLAYING !!!! I (like MILLIONS of other black women) take hair care VERY serious and tend to rely on the tips i read about so please, STOP PLAYING !!!!!

    1. BlackHairInformation.com

      Why not read the post Ebony -Shorty Stacks- Benford you will see in our conclusions the advise essentially remains the same. We didn’t conduct the study, just reported it.

  15. Latonya D Rhodes
    Latonya D Rhodes

    I’ll stick with air drying…my hair comes out less brittle and stiff feeling…no matter what product I use to aid in drying and I have thin, tightly coiled hair…

  16. Hollyann Ohziyah France
    Hollyann Ohziyah France

    So how was hair dried before the blow dryer was invented?? Hogwash!!!….you people would stop at nothing to damage the black womans beauty smfh…black women love your natural hair and treat it well!

    1. Marsha Buchanan Post author

      It’s the same question we asked! Our ancestors didn’t have the luxury of hair dryers.

  17. Marsha Buchanan Post author

    Like several of you, I too will continue to air dry. I’ve come thus far and found no fault with it.

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