Is blow-drying potentially good for hair?
July 27, 2017 6:17 AM   Subscribe

My hair seemed smoother, silkier, less tangly, after being to the hair salon. He did blow-dry my hair, while I normally let it air-dry. Is it the blow-drying that made the difference? In which case, is blow-drying good for hair if it makes it less tangly and so prevents breakage?

My hair is naturally a bit wavy, if that makes any difference. I'm using the shampoo and conditioner he used on my hair at the salon, but my hair isn't as smooth as after the salon (I'm not sure it's any better than normal). I think he also used a bit of some product in my hair, not sure what though. So is it the blow-drying that made the difference? I thought heat was basically always bad for hair and that I was helping my hair by air-drying it.
posted by tangerine_poppies to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Heat styling is generally not good for your hair. The reason it feels silkier and smoother is because of hair drying technique, brush type, and hair product (probably silicones/other -cones). If you like the look/feel of the results, you can try to replicate them at home with a high quality hair dryer, good brush (probably a good barrel brush), practice/technique, and product, but it doesn't improve the health of your hair.
posted by rachaelfaith at 6:20 AM on July 27 [10 favorites]

Yeah, I agree with rachaelfaith. Also remember that once you get split ends trimmed off, your hair feels a lot smoother - and since the blow drying happened immediately afterwards, you can't really tell which thing (trim vs. styling) was most responsible for the smoother feel.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 6:25 AM on July 27

People who work in salons are professionals, so when they blow dry your hair, you are getting an amazing blowout. People sometimes spend money to just go to a salon and get a blowout, because the results are so much better than when you do it at home.
You can definitely blow dry your hair at home without completely compromising the condition of your hair, though technically your hair shaft is healthier when you don't heat style. Try only washing your hair every other day or so to compensate for the heat damage. When you blow dry at home, just use the blow dryer and your fingers on your hair, no brush, until your hair is mostly dry, only then should you start also using a brush. This helps a lot! You'll never get it to look as good as it does after a haircut, but blow drying can definitely give your hair a more polished look.
posted by cakelite at 6:41 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]

PS- it doesn't have as much to do with the shampoo/conditioner. I have very course, wavy hair, and if I let my hair air dry, it's going to be wavy and course regardless of whether I used an expensive shampoo and conditioner.
posted by cakelite at 6:43 AM on July 27

Oh, and if you feel like your hair texture is causing damage or breakage on the daily, you can counteract that in ways that don't include heat styling. There are non-silicone hair products that may help (detanglers), you could sleep on a silk pillowcase, make sure not to roughly towel-dry (squeeze the towel around your hair and press the water out, don't scrunch and shake it about).

Deep conditioning may help too, once every week or so I aim to do a coconut oil condition, which just involves applying coconut oil to your hair (many people also do their scalp, though this leaves me too oily) and leaving it tucked into a shower cap for a while, then shampoo out. Soft, soft hair for days.
posted by rachaelfaith at 6:44 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]

The answer is both, basically. Salon blow-drying techniques in conjunction with styling products will get all your hairs to lay flat and smooth and improve appearance, but it also can damage your hair. It's kind of like getting a sun tan - yes it makes your skin look even and smooth, but it's also damaging in the long run (although definitely not as bad since your hair is already dead and you likely won't damage the follicle with styling products). Getting an occasional blowdry at the salon will not be enough cause much damage. There are products and techniques to minimize damage if you want to start blow-drying your hair at home.
posted by muddgirl at 6:44 AM on July 27

My hair only looks healthy and tidy when I blow dry and heat style it. I have big, fluffy curly/wavy hair that isn't improved by air drying, or coconut oil, or the curly girl method. I do get extra split ends due to heat damage, but I just have to remember to get it trimmed more often, and I don't wash it more than twice a week.
posted by Stonkle at 7:10 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]

FYI, the Infiniti Pro Rotating Brush hair dryer was a game changer for me—the results are orders of magnitute better than I could manage with the typical dryer in one hand, brush in the other arrangement. (Note: I have straight hair, so YMMV.)
posted by she's not there at 7:28 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]

Silicone-based 'shine' products make hair feel silkier and less tangly. Makes a huge difference to my very wasn't frizzy hair.
posted by theora55 at 9:13 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]

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