If the title of this post didn't confuse you, it should. I'm no math wiz, but I think it would be easy to say that at least 90% of the people who read this blog post, will leave scratching their head. Why? Because the question posed, Is Air Drying Your Hair Actually Worse Than Blow Drying?, has a shocking answer.
I was doing a little hair research earlier this week, and I came across a study done in Korea in which hair scientists (they exist!) tested the structure and condition of hair after repeated shampoo and drying at different temperatures. I won't go into the hot logistics (we are just normal hair people, not scientists)- but just know that five different test groups were made, one of which involved no heat application to hair at all. The scientists, in all their hair obsessed glory, wanted to see how heat affected the ultra-structure, morphology, moisture content, and color of hair. In English, they just want to know how awful hair drying is on a scale of 1 to hair suicide.
The results were somewhat shocking. While the obvious was pointed out, increased temperature does in fact create surface damage, an alternative discovery stopped the scientists from finalizing a conclusion there. Part of the study involved closely identifying how heat affected the Cell Membrane Complex (CMC). The CMC is the "glue" that binds together your hair cuticle, keeping it healthy. In clear English, it's super important. (See below for an image of the CMC).
Here's the kicker. After studying the (CMC), the scientists found that hair was damaged ONLY by the naturally dried hair group. Wait, WHAT?
Yep, not kidding. According to the scientists, they believe that the excess water causes the CMC to "buckle". On the contrary, blow drying removes this water more quickly, and therefore keeps hair from "buckling."
The proof is in this picture attained from the original study. The red arrows points to an example of the damage.
So, what was the final conclusion scientists made after this discovery. Here it is: Even though using a hair dryer does cause more surface damage than naturally drying hair, using a hair dryer at a distance of 15 cm causes LESS overall damage than air drying.
Consider your hair world rocked.
Read the original study here: Original Study
Read an alternative resource here: The Beauty Brains
As always, protect your hair while blow drying and heat styling. Before heat styling, apply a protectant with multiple benefits like AG Hair Firewall to maintain hair’s overall health, texture and elasticity.