30 July 2012

Why I Stopped Blow-Drying My Hair and Why You Should Too

She told me to never leave my hair wet after taking a shower or I could catch a cold. Why wouldn't I trust her? She was my mother. She knew better. And still does. Because all mothers are made to take care of their little girls and I was the obedient one.

I sure did question some of the practices in the house but only silently, in my head. Anyway, blow-drying my hair has never been on the list of questions until the day I mentioned it in a post on Green Living Ideas.

It was a cold and drizzling October day and nothing seemed more outrageous than suggesting that one should keep their hair healthy in the winter by letting it dry by itself. And I didn't. On the contrary, I boldly stated the following belief:
With the summer months over, it is out of the question to let your hair dry naturally or sleep with wet hair. That is why you can dry it on the cool setting. This method will take you longer but it will keep the moisture in your hair and prevent it from breaking.

The summer months make an exception to the rule. In the extreme heat it is quite safe to let your hair dry naturally without getting stuffed nose or even meningitis. But only if you're old enough. Children get sick way easier. Or so she said. 

Photo: Paulo Alegria

The comments shunned my statement as odd. I kept my grounds, of course, but the thought never went out of my head:

There are people out there who've never even owned a hair-drier? 

Or who sleep with wet hair? 


At first I thought these readers were crazy hippies. I checked their profiles, I wanted to know if they live a weird life or something. Anything to prove them wrong. Nothing. Normal, good-looking people with long hair who don't blow-dry because they don't want to damage their hair with the heat.

That made sense in a way. After all, in that very article I talked about the way dry air can damage your hair and even suggested washing it with cool water. Then could they be right?

9 months later, having safely delivered the offspring of my adventurous nature, I haven't blow-dried my hair a single time. I survived through winter, spring and summer without a single cold, despite the fact that I no longer use a hair-dryer. My hair is considerably thicker than before, it doesn't collect static during the winter months and I have less of those broken shorter hairs that come as a bonus of blow-drying.

And no wonder, the heat from the blow dryer removes too much moisture from the hair, causing it to become dry and brittle. In addition, it can also damage the outermost layers of hair strands whose function is to protect the hair from damage. But the heat can make them weak resulting in dull hair that is prone to be damaged when combing or brushing.

So, thank you GLI readers who aired your opinion and made me change my mind. I feel I've made a step ahead. But anyway, don't dare hope I will sleep with wet hair ever. 

Fun fact: Did you know that before the invention of the hairdryer, it was actually common for men and women to dry their hair using a vacuum cleaner?

Now tell me, do you blow-dry or air-dry? Why?