Is Blow Drying Bad for Your Hair?

Blow dryers are made not only to dry your wet hair but also to help you style your strands in a way that complements your hair type. Whether your natural hair is sleek and straight or full and curly, hair dryers can cut down on drying time or transform your texture.

Yet you might wonder how well your heat tool is doing the job if your hair doesn’t feel hydrated and smooth once you’re done.

So, is blow drying hair bad? While blow drying can cause damage and breakage, small changes in your haircare routine, such as heat protectant spray, can help you maintain healthy strands. Below, we’ll discuss why blow drying can be damaging and provide you with some tools and alternatives to help you preserve your hair health.

Does Blow Drying Your Hair Damage It?

Whether you blow-dry your hair on special occasions or after every wash, you might be wondering what kind of damage it causes when you let that hot air loose on each hair strand. If used without precaution, blow dryers can cause hair shaft damage, leaving holes in the outer protective layer of your hair shafts.

Damaged hair can be recognized by the following indicators:

  • Roughness
  • Cuticle breakage
  • Loss of hair color
  • Dryness

How to Identify Blow-Drying Missteps 

A person blow drying another person's hair in a room.

Maybe you’re afraid of heat damaged hair yet want to preserve pin-straight bangs. Perhaps you already notice some signs of hair breakage but want soft and bouncy curls for an upcoming event. How can you blow-dry your hair without sacrificing health and shine?

Not to fear—troubleshooting your blow-drying routine can help preserve healthy hair.

Ask yourself the following questions to better understand how to prevent heat damage on hair. If you answer no to any of them, consider our suggestions to give your hair the love it deserves each time you use the blow dryer.

Are You Using a High-Quality Hair Dryer?

Although high-quality hair dryers usually come with a heftier price tag, it’s less likely to damage your hair and brings a few special attributes along with them. For one, it’s often able to distribute heat more evenly, which helps to dry your hair faster. The quicker your wet hair dries, the less time you need the heat on it.

A top-of-the-line blow dryer may also seal in moisture. Consider looking for a ceramic model. These use infrared heat to pass through the hair shaft, drying from the inside out and preserving the hair’s shine.

Are You Sectioning Your Hair?

If you’re using a blow dryer without a specific action plan, chances are it’s going to take longer—and you’ll use more heat on your hair in the process. This can lead to brittle hair and frizz.

To avoid this, you can separate your hair into small sections that are easier to dry so you can steer clear of excess heat and further damage.

Are You Detangling Your Hair Before Blow-Drying?

Pulling on your hair with a brush while blow-drying can break off the ends of your tresses. It can also stretch the hair shaft and lead to fracture.

Instead, detangle your hair before blow-drying by using a wide-tooth comb or hair pick. Start at the bottom and work your way up so that you’re addressing the lowest tangles first.

Are You Using a Brush Designed for Your Hair Type?

Every hair type is unique, and that’s why it’s important to use a brush designed to work with your specific texture and hair density. Many people blow-dry their hair with a brush that isn’t for their hair, which can harm the hair follicles.

Do some research on your hair type or ask your hairstylist what type of brush they recommend for you.

Are You Using Heat Protectants?

Using products specially made to protect hair from heat damage is not a new concept.

However, knowing which products work best for your hair type and how much to use is a different story. A heat protectant or leave-in conditioner can do wonders for preventing further heat damage whether your goal is to speed up the drying process or transform your hair texture. Consider trying our Restore Perfecting Spray, Restore Instant Protection, and PhD Heat Styling Spray to protect your hair from heat.

Are You Blow-Drying on Low?

We get it—sometimes, you’re in a rush. However, the “low” setting on your blow-dryer applies less heat. If you use high heat, there is a greater risk of damage.

Dry and Style Your Hair With Confidence

A hand holding a gray bottle with a white cap against a white tile background.

Blow-drying your hair doesn’t have to be a harmful affair. Knowing a few simple tricks of the trade can make all the difference between damaging your hair and drying it while preserving its healthy constitution.

Living Proof’s scientifically-backed solutions are designed to nourish your specific hair type whether you’re going natural or using heat to achieve a new ‘do. Our Smooth Blowout Concentrate is designed to protect thick hair while actually cutting down the time you spend blow-drying. Check out our wide selection of hair products online, all created to help you achieve the style you want based on your unique hair type.


National Library of Medicine. Hair Shaft Damage from Heat and Timing of Hair Dryer.