How to Blow Dry the Healthy Way

Whether you blow dry your hair daily or just for special occasions, your goal is to look your best. But all your efforts will be in vain if you end up harming your hair. Here's a run-down of ways this popular practice can mess up your tresses—plus steps you can take to minimize the damage.

The Dangers of Drying

Blow drying uses intense heat, which can make hair very dry and brittle and also cause split ends. It can also dry out your hair's natural oils and cause your scalp to become itchy and flaky, due to an excess in dead skin. All of this can end up inhibiting hair growth. Afraid to use your blow dryer ever again? Don't be. Going about it the right way can cut down on the undesirable effects.

Techniques to Lessen the Damage

Before you pick up your dryer, keep these tips in mind:

  • If your ends are damaged, get a haircut. As long as your hair is trimmed, blow drying once in a while won't do too much damage.
  • Select a heavy-duty moisturizing shampoo and conditioning treatment specific to your hair's needs.
  • Use a heat protectant and/or straightening balm to add moisture and protection to your hair. It will reduce drying time and, in turn, lessen heat damage.
  • Make sure your hair is 80 percent dry before beginning to blow dry. Using a dryer on hair that's too wet or too dry can cause serious damage.
  • Hold the blow dryer 6 inches from your head to prevent scalp burn.

These steps will help to make the heat work for you:

  1. Good things come to those who wait. For best results, allow plenty of time to blow dry. Rushing the process can cause frizzing.

  2. Don't buy a professional-style blow dryer. Salons need it for daily, rigorous use, but for home use, it can be an overkill.

  3. Choose the proper brush. Use a boar's bristle style brush to straighten hair and a round brush to enhance or create volume, texture, and bend.

  4. Divide hair the right way. Separate hair into several sections that are 2 to 4 inches thick.

  5. Blow dry from back to front.  However, if you have a hair section that dries the quickest, start with that first.

  6. Elevate the blow dryer above your head. Heat that is directed downward to the hair shaft from the roots to the ends is the most effective way to blow dry.

  7. Finish blow drying a hair section with cold air. This will help lock in hair straightness and close the newly created texture.

Remember, moderation is key. The more you blow dry, the more harm you'll do to your hair. So keep it to a minimum. When you do decide to do it, moisturizing agents combined with the right techniques will create the best protection for your hair.