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Is Your Hair Dryer Damaging Your Hair?

hair dryer

The way you use your hair dryer could actually be damaging your hair. Here is how and why.


According to the National Institutes of Health, improper usage of your hair dryer can cause roughness, dryness, and even hair color loss. They found that blow drying your hair 5 centimeters away from the hair dryer exposes your hair to a temperature of 95 degrees Celsius and leads to hair color loss. It also damages your hair shaft and other hair structures. They say the best way to blow dry your hair is to hold the hairdryer 15 centimeters away from your hair, which only exposes your hair to a temperature of 45 degrees Celsius, and to use continuous motion – these help lessen the damaging effects of hair blow drying. By the way, see this story from Beardoholic discussing 11 best ways to blow dry your hair.

The kind of hair dryer you use also affects the quality of your hair and how much damage your hair sustains. Most hair dryers generate static electricity, but ionic hair dryers neutralize static electricity by generating ions that can make your hair frizzy and also damage the molecular and cellular structures of your hair and oils coating your hair. That's because ions are like free radicals that react with your hair and destroy their molecular makeup. UC Santa Barbara says that this makes your hair a bit more brittle, but the effects are usually negligible.

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They advise you to be safe and stay away from ionic hair dryers, which are also bad for your lungs because their ions cause smog.

There's no universal safest hair dryer because the best hair dryer for you depends largely on your hair type. According to the Cinta Aveda Institute, you should choose hair dryers made of ceramic or tourmaline because it protects your hair from losing moisture. It's also better at smoothing your hair and fighting frizz.

They warn you not to use a high-wattage hair dryer (more than 3000 watts) if your hair is thin because it will cause more hair damage. They recommend an 1800-watt hair dryer for thin hair. But if your hair is thick or frizzy, like if you have an Afro, then they say to use a hair dryer that's 3000 watts or more.

If you always use a hair dryer, hopefully you're now more aware of how it can damage your hair. Follow these tips to minimize hair damage when blow drying your hair.