Could Blow-Drying Be Burning My Hair?

QUESTION: I just recently started blow-drying my hair, and the air from the dryer seems very hot. It has even melted the bristles on my brush! Could this hot air be damaging my hair?

ANSWER: Absolutely. Blow-dryers can generate air hot enough to burn skin, melt brush bristles (as you've seen), and easily sap natural moisture from hair, leaving it dry, brittle and damaged. Your best bet for beating dryer damage? Allow your hair to dry naturally as often as you can. Of course, air-drying is not always practical, especially on workday mornings or before special events. In these cases, follow these steps to keeping hair as dryer-proof as possible:

  • Switch to conditioner for damaged hair. These formulas moisturize more intensely than regular conditioners -- and hydrated hair is healthier and more resilient under the heat of a dryer.
  • Remove excess water. The wetter your hair when you begin, the longer you'll have to dry it. After a shower, use a towel to blot locks, removing as much water as you can.
  • Add leave-in conditioner. A leave-in sprayed on blotted hair before drying will keep strands hydrated all day, and form a protective barrier on hair that can withstand dryer heat.
  • Cool off. Switch your dryer from "Hot" to "Warm." Chances are, it won't affect your style.
  • Trim religiously. Even if you take the above preventative steps, you will incur at least a little damage if you blow dry every day. Regular trims every four to six weeks will remove damaged ends.

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