From The Straits Times    |

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We’re often told about the heat damage caused by using a hairdryer, but does this mean it’s better to let our tresses dry naturally? You might be surprised to find out that air drying comes with its own set of risks too.

Arica Sen, senior retail education manager at PHS Hairscience, explains that wet hair has a high tendency to cause tangles and frizz. Also, the additional weight of water on hair leads to added stress on hair follicles, which causes hair to “stretch”, hence weakening the follicles. Leaving your hair wet for an extended period can attract bacteria and fungus, causing scalp inflammation and clogged follicles.

Leonica Kei, founder and principal trichologist at Leonica K Trichology, advises against sleeping with wet hair. “Wet hair is weak and fragile so tossing and turning in your sleep can damage it,” she explains. “Damp hair may also cause discomfort in countries with cold weather, and this could lead to scalp issues for people who are more sensitive.”

On the other hand, Leonica notes that blow drying causes damage if the heat is set too high or if your hairdryer is too concentrated on one area. “This can cause overheating, a loss of moisture and your hair could become porous and cause permanent damage,” she adds.

According to Arica, the heat from a hairdryer or styling tools can damage your hair and cause split ends and hair breakage. Also, constant pulling during blow drying may cause added trauma to your hair follicles, which may eventually lead to hair loss.

However, she states that there is little evidence whether air drying or blow drying your hair is better as there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods.

The best products for hair maintenance

Singapore’s humid weather could also be the reason why you choose to blow dry your hair. “To achieve a sleek look, a hairdryer is a must, as there’s no other way to create the kind of look you want,” shares Leonica.

To reduce heat damage, she suggests using a hair cream before blow drying to reduce heat damage. Leonica also recommends using a protein spray to protect your hair from the elements, whether you are in the sun or an air-conditioned room.

Regardless of your hair type, Arica says long-term maintenance should involve keeping your hair roots clean and dry to prevent frizz and limp hair. Using the right products helps too.

“Hair is most fragile when it is wet and tends to tangle easily. Apply a product that helps to detangle hair ends immediately after shampooing and follow with a nourishing hair oil to repair and protect hair from thermal damage.”