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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Dominque Rochelle

You guys do realize you can blow dry your hair on a cool setting right? There’s more than just heat.

Ayedin Jucaye

Honestly id rather blow dry then air dry.

Sheena Harris

What’s wrong with just blowing drying on cool instead of warm settings?

mojomo86
mojomo86

hmmm. i dont know bout this one, but then again it depends on the individual. My hair hates heat so I will definitely not begin using heat again unless I’m under my hooded dryer doing treatments..but too each its own i guess.

Damita Jo

Thus is not true! If I were to blow dry my curly hair, it would become a frizzy mess!

Brittany Mcgill

you dont have to use the heat..my blow dryer has three setting low, medium and hi..blow drying my haair and my daughters hair on the low setting has helped her retain a lot of the moisture in her hair after i wash it

Nicole Nelson
Nicole Nelson

Hi , I’m new to this natural hair and im confused on some things. I have really thick coarse hair and i don’t know how to do hair , so is air drying or blow drying good for my hair and how can u style it afterwards.

Tamara Springle Wellington

-_- what? I call nonsense on this research

Anna Gerald

yea….i dont think so, for me at least

Taylor Arianna

Air drying makes my hair feel dry and crunchy anyway

Jenny JackJack

oh please…..

Jamie Carter-Bailey

I agree somewhat I don’t allow my hair to fully air dry but I do use the blow dryer to finish the process, my hair is easier to manage that way

Adrienne Jones

nonsense ‘cuz blow drying has higher heat and air drying has no heat, so which is healthier? Let me recall it, I remmy when science came out once to prove that is better to air drying since it is bad to blowdrying or use heat with curl roller that damage giving hair spits. Air drying doesnt do anything like that…smh

Josephine Zingani

They did that study on white peoples hair FOH

Pamela Smith

Drs. Lee, Kim and Lee are from Korea. How many african american’s were visited by these doctors and had their hair tested? How many blow dryers are made in Korea? What are the sales figures for hair dryers? How many hair vloggers and youtubers have you seen that do wash and go’s complain about their hair falling out because they do wash and go’s exclusively? I do believe that we had this same kind of laboratory testing hysteria when we stopped relaxing our hair. Blow dryers now, curling irons next….studies need to show that we black women ain’t falling for this crap!! Just my opinion….

MEshell Green

What is this more brainwashing.

Tiseke Chilima

I don’t know about healthier but my hair suffers less breakage and is stronger when I use heat rather than air dry as long as it’s not bone dry. I never used to use heat before and my hair was thin and slow to grow. I think hair reacts differently so it’s more about your hair’s preferencee than what is generally considered “healthier” by a study or whatever. just saying…

Renee Akperov

Not because your hair is easier to manage after blow drying that doesn’t make it healthier. I’ve recently stopped blow drying my hair and just let it air dry after a wash and moisturizer. Yes it’s curly, but my hair feels softer and healthier that way.

Nessa Rene'e

I’ve blow dried my whole life except for the last 8 months and I have to say that I’ve seen more breakage with air drying. I will be going back to blow drying but only when my hair is 80% dry. Flat ironing my hair every other day also made my hair brake and look like straw. I think the best for my hair is blow drying once a week and flat ironing no more than twice a month.

Maya Dennies

I call bs. I didn’t use heat for one whole year and that’s when I had the most growth.

Cristen Moore

I don’t agree

Jeannine Ditterick

I call BS

Davida Braxton

Nonsense…it breaks off the hair!!!! Right on point Pamela Smith.

Wendy Jean-Louis

Whst was the process they used in air drying? Did they untangled the hair first? Was there any product added to the hair before air drying? Did they just leave it wild to air dry or put it in something? When I had a perm I sir dried at times but I used to put it in curlers to let it air dry. Same with natural hair u put in in a protective style to dry without any knots or whatever to damage it

Chandradaughterof Janettegranddaughter Ofjames

Not on our hair and contrary to popular belief blow drying their hair isn’t good for their hair either

Valerie Johnson

If I air dried my hair would be continuously damp since I wash my hair every day (surprise, some of us do).

Ngozi Okoli

Eating a egg, that was cooked on the sidewalk in Texas. Taste better than a skillet fried egg from IHOP…. ok. Maybe that is better. Lol

Lisa Guy

Might look better if you didn’t do everyday. Kinda looks a little dry.

Susie Kendrick

Bull crap

Pamela Smith

Of course it’s healthier. Air drying is free. They can’t sustain their buying power or stay in business unless we give them our money.

Rodemirma Viljean

In my pre-relaxer days, I blow dried my hair Every Time I washed it and had long, thick and healthy hair. Air drying would cause my hair to be brittle and break. After recently going back to natural, I found the Exact Opposit. Listen to your hair, that’s all.

Tina Waters

No the makers of Conair and other hair dryers paid for that study. So no I’m not concerned. We all know the damage blowdrying your hair can do.

Lena Killion

It’s different for each person.

Geraldine
Geraldine

You cannot generalize this study to all hair types. Black afro hair was not looked at so you cant tell us that air drying is bad based on just one study.

Alma Ruddock

I agree with you in principle, but I do think that the results are certainly worth a good think about because inner hair structure of hair does not differ that much between the races, its only the cross-sectional shape of the hair shaft as well as the arrangement of cuticles which differ. We are also aware of the phenomenon of hygral fatigue which sounds very much like what the study in the article were also looking at indirectly. Essentially the longer your hair remains wet, the weaker it gets. All in all, it’s not so much the action of blow drying itself that is better for your hair, but rather how quickly your hair dries in general. Many black women tend to have dry hair by nature so it stands to reason that our hair dries faster anyway. Still, as tips go, hurrying up the drying process with a blow dryer(or an overhead dryer) on a cool setting, this is a pretty good one to add to your routine.