There’ve been so many significant developments in technology, education, and access over the years. This makes debating over something like hot tool damage a much different conversation than it would have been in years past. When it comes to blow dryers, in particular, it’s always been a heated topic (see what we did there?). But let’s break it down once and for all: Are blow dryers bad for hair? The experts weigh in on blow-drying hair below.
About the Experts:
Tatiana Ramos is Pureology’s national artist and hair educator.
Are Blow Dryers Bad for Your Hair?
When it comes to determining a blow dryer’s level of “bad” or “good,” it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.
“I think the type of tools and products used to matter more than whether or not you use them,” Pureology’s National Artist Tatiana Ramos tells Mane Addicts, adding that she opts for ceramic and ionic dryers because they cause less damage (Not sure what an ionic dryer is? Check out our guide that answers the question “what is an ionic hair dryer?”) “On one hand, it’s amazing how a hair dryer can transform the look and texture of your hair. On the other hand, you need to know the best techniques and what kinds are best to avoid the damage and frizz that often accompany overuse. If you can find ones with heat control and lower wattage, even better.”
Colorproof Ambassador David Cruz agrees, adding that it’s all about how you use your hot tools. “Proper use of one isn't damaging, but over-drying is bad for your hair,” the pro tells Mane Addicts. Cruz’s picks? The Dyson Airwrap and Harry Josh Pro Tools products.
How to Undo Blow-Dryer Heat Damage
Are you longing for healthy hair? Are you having major regrets about a DIY blowout gone awry?
Attempt to save the day and your strands with a recovery leave-in formula (Cruz suggests Colorproof’s Baobab Recovery Treatment Spray). “It seals the hair’s cuticle, which prevents moisture loss,” the expert says. “It also strengthens, fortifies, and repairs, leaving hair softer, smoother, and more manageable with incredible shine. Moisture is your best friend!”
Ramos thinks like we do. We love a good hair mask for nurturing our locks back to life, and she agrees. Her personal pick? The Pureology Strength Cure Superfoods Treatment Mask. “It’s great for repairing already damaged hair, and it strengthens it to prevent future damage.”
How to Prevent Blow-Dryer Damage
Prep the Strands
Don’t even think of applying heat without using a heat protection spray on the strands. Think of this step the way we think of SPF for our skin. Cruz suggests Colorproof’s Volume Blow Dry Spray, Essential Leave-In, or products that have heat protection in them like Plush Locks Leave-In Smooth.
To Cruz’s point, Ramos stands by a solid leave-in to help reduce hair damage. She uses Pureology’s Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray. “It has 21 benefits, so no matter your hair type, you’ll be primed, protected, and perfected with smooth and shiny strands,” she says.
Choose Your Dryer Brush Mindfully
Not all brushes are equal. “Use a good brush,” Cruz says simply, opting for a boar bristle brush.
“I find metal brushes get too hot,” Cruz says. “At worst, they can cause damage, and at best, they can make the hair too flat.” Ceramic round brushes are another great option since they help generate the perfect temperature for blow drying.
Use Multiple Heat Settings
There’s no need to keep things full speed ahead when heat styling. “Start at a high speed and high temperature, and as your hair begins to dry, gradually reduce the heat,” Cruz advises, adding that you should hold your blow dryer six inches away from your hair. “This will help you avoid over-drying and damage to your hair. To add volume and body, try turning your hair upside down as you finish blow drying. This will give your hair more lift and bounce.”
Don’t Dry Wet Hair Fresh From the Shower
If you’re in a multitasking mood and need to get other things done around the house, good! Ramos says it’s a bad idea to dry hair straight out of the shower, as it can cause heat damage and hair breakage. “Wait until it is mostly dry before you start drying and styling.”