Should You Blow-Dry or Air-Dry Your Hair? A Hairstylist Shares His Best Tips
Living on a tropical island like Singapore undoubtedly means that most of us will have had our fair share of beauty woes no thanks to the humidity here. From skin irritation such as acne or eczema flare-ups to battling frizzy hair, it does take quite a bit of effort to look and feel our best at times.
Thanks to the heat, nothing feels better than a long, cold shower at the end of the day. But here comes the internal battle that some of us may face: Should you just go to bed right after washing your hair and skip blow-drying it? Can you give your mane a quick towel-dry instead? Or should we just let it "air-dry"?
There are several misconceptions about using blow-dryers. Some think it's damaging for the hair because of the heat, while others think it is unnecessary and letting our hair dry naturally is a better option. There are also those who take great pride in using their blow-dryers with every hair wash.
To answer our burning questions once and for all, we reached out to hairstylist Alex Neo, who is also the founder of The Lawn hair salon in Tiong Bahru. Below, he shares some of his best advice and tips to achieve healthier, shinier hair.
What is the biggest misconception about blow-drying the hair?
Alex Neo (AN): People often have the misconception that blow-drying your hair damages it. Over-drying does, but with the correct drying methods, products and tools, blow-drying your hair will do more good than harm. Heat styling tools don’t damage your hair either; they only damage your hair when used incorrectly.
Should we air dry our hair? What are the downsides of air drying?
AN: We should not air dry our hair. For curly/wavy hair, it should at least be 80 per cent dry, and for normal hair, I would recommend drying it fully. Most of the pre-styling hair products would require drying too. When our scalp is wet, especially in Singapore’s weather, it may lead to scalp-related problems. The pH level in water is also higher than our hair when it’s wet, thus it is more prone to breakage and damage.
Is there a specific type of hair dryer that you need in order to achieve the perfect blowout?
AN: I recommend getting a professional hairdryer with at least 2000 watts. Some hair dryers can dry your hair very fast and though you might feel that it’s powerful, it can be damaging to the hair too as it’s giving out too much heat compared to the wind it produces.
What hair products should you use before and after blow-drying the hair?
AN: Different hairstyles and hair textures determine the right hair product to use. For normal daily blow-drying, I recommend the Oribe Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray as it speeds up the drying process and at the same time it gives shine and softness to the hair.
To achieve voluminous yet soft hair, I recommend the Oribe Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse. For people who use heat styling tools, it’s a must to use a heat protector, like the Oribe Balm D’or Heat Styling Shield and KMS ThermaShape 2 in 1 Spray.
For finishing products, the Oribe Impermeable Anti Humidity Spray and Dry Texturizing Spray will be good for our hair especially in Singapore’s humid weather. Ladies can also apply a small amount of Oribe Hair and Body Oil; it gives shine to your hair and hydrates your skin at the same time. For hair that’s puffy and hard to manage, I recommend the KMS Tame Frizz Smoothing Lotion to reduce the frizz and puffiness, as it is not oily; I use it often for pre-cut and styling as well.
What are the benefits of blow-drying the hair and how often should you do it?
AN: Besides the hair and scalp benefits mentioned earlier, one of the key benefits of using a hairdryer is that you can shape your hair to any hairstyle you want. For men, they can achieve a better hold and style when they dry their hair with a hairdryer before putting on the hair product, as it helps to mold their hair to the direction and give it volume. It can also help to create straighter hair with a hairdryer for people who don’t like their natural curls to show.
Please list your best and easiest blow-drying tips that can be done on an everyday basis?
AN: The most important tool when blow-drying hair is the nozzle of the hair dryer as it helps to control the airflow, making it easy to achieve many different hairstyles. For straight hair, I usually blow dry in a downward direction, letting the hair run through my fingers. As for curls, I will twist the hair with my fingers in the direction that I like. Sometimes, I dry it with a diffuser. Depending on the client’s hair condition, I work around multiple products. For example, I will use the KMS Tame Frizz Smoothing Lotion for straight hair and Oribe’s Priming Lotion Leave-in Conditioning Detangler for curly/wavy hair.