I bet you can’t wait to wrap yourself in a soft, cozy, luxurious bath towel as soon as you step out of the hot shower! But how often have you thought about how to dry hair after shower with that same towel? Or whether that bath towel is good for your hair, in the first place?
Looking back, I have usually been too eager to rub the towel across the length of my hair to get the excess water out. All this, just so I could blast the heat from my blow dryer to style my shower-wet hair.
If you can relate to this, let me tell you: we have been doing damage to our hair! BIG TIME!
In this post, I will talk about the different ways I learned about drying my wet hair and what kinds of towels are best and safest on hair. Surprisingly, I also learned that by switching to a sustainable hair towel, it is possible to stop frizzy hair, reduce static, and even hair breakage- all the while protecting the planet! Yes, there are options like this available!
Now, let us begin with understanding what happens to hair when it is wet.
Wet Hair Is Fragile
Every strand of hair is made up of proteins called keratin and covered by cuticles that act almost like a flexible shield. When hair gets wet, it forms hydrogen bonds that are weaker, as opposed to when it is dry (protein-protein bonds). This is the reason hair is considered to be weak and most fragile when it is wet.
Hair that is wet tends to stretch but unlike a rubber band, it does not snap back into its original shape. Instead, when wet hair is combed, it stretches and causes cuticles to snap and break in the process. Even as hair dries, the hair fiber relaxes but the cuticles remain raised and damaged. This leaves hair feeling rough to touch, dry, and lifeless.
See my article on why wooden combs for hair are safe even when hair is wet.
In addition to cuticle damage, wet hair becomes porous and can easily absorb up to 45 percent of its own weight in water. Not to mention water itself can have damaging effects on the hair!
Avoid Bath Towels For Wet Hair
Traditional bath towels are heavy, bulky and quite harsh on the hair. The rough texture from a cotton or a terry cloth bath towel can actually damage the protective fibers of the hair shaft. When these fibers are broken or torn, hair is unable to retain its moisture.
The constant tug and pull due to the weight of the towel can cause hair to lose its elasticity (ability to stretch), making hair weak and more prone to split ends.
Excessive rubbing and squeezing hair with these towels to remove water creates friction between hair shafts that then causes further hair breakage and static.
Leaving hair wrapped up in these types of heavy towels can cause hair to dry out and be frizzy. This is because hair becomes frizzy when it is dry and lacks moisture.
Ways To Dry Hair After Shower
Knowing how to properly dry your hair is as important as properly washing it.
See my article on how to properly wash hair.
Use Hair Towels
Instead of wrapping your head in a thick, bulky towel that is heavy enough to give you neck strain and eventually bad posture, try using a soft hair towel as you step out of the shower. They are light-weight, made from super absorbent materials, and work on pretty much all types of hair (curly, wavy, straight, thin, etc).
They are much smaller than a regular bath towel and you can easily wrap them around your hair and twist. The best designs are the ones that have a button or an elastic clasp at the nape of your neck to secure the twist.
Hair towels are simple, affordable and come in all fun colors and patterns to brighten up your day! An added bonus to using them is that they protect the hair from heat damage by reducing the amount of exposure to hot hair-styling tools. In other words, they cut down the time you need to blow dry your hair!
There are two main types of material for hair towels on the market due to their moisture-absorbing qualities: 100% cotton and microfiber. Let us look at each.
1. 100% Cotton Material
Cotton is a natural fiber that not only feels good to touch but is lightweight, breathable, and absolutely moisture-wicking. It is said that cotton has the ability to absorb up to 27 times its own weight in water. Also, the diameter of a cotton thread is actually thinner than the strand of hair, creating a larger surface area to dry hair.
Organic cotton is free of chemicals, pollutants, and harsh dyes. It is hypoallergenic, so it does not trigger any allergies or irritations. It is also a long lasting fabric as it tends to get stronger when wet, allowing it to resist wear and tear in moist conditions.
Hair towels that are one-hundred percent cotton set a very high standard for absorbing moisture from wet hair relatively quickly. They cause less friction to hair than a traditional bulky bath towel and this results in hair that has reduced frizz, split-ends, and hair breakage.
2. Microfiber Material
If cotton is still too thick for you, try out the innovative microfiber material instead! Hair towels of this material are much thinner but have the ability to absorb a whole lot of excess water from freshly washed hair. They are gentle on all types of hair, including curly (i.e redefine natural curls), completely eliminate frizz & static, and dry hair much faster than cotton.
What is Microfiber?
Microfiber is a synthetic material made mainly from polyester and nylon; however, most manufacturers may include other fibers in the finished product. They have a “split fibers” design, which allows the fabric to wick water and dry hair faster, without stripping hair of its natural moisture.
What makes this material so magical is that the fibers are 100 times finer than human hair! They are also densely packed, cutting down the time needed to dry hair. Wrapping your wet, soaking hair in microfiber will result in almost completely dry hair in just 20 minutes! There is no need to rub the hair to remove excess water when using a microfiber towel.
Here is what I would recommend if you would like to get your hands on a good quality microfiber hair towel that is very affordable:
Microfiber Hair Towel Wrap by Hair Mayraki
Made from ultra-plush, highly absorbent microfiber material that won’t cause any friction or frizz and is ideal for drying hair faster and easier. It is extremely gentle on the locks and comes with an easy wrap design that twists and loops to secure in place.
Hair Mayraki is a company that focuses on solving hair concerns with organic ingredients that are also environmentally sustainable. Check out their other hair care products too, especially their hair growth and anti-hair loss shampoo kit. Use the link below to get 20% off your purchase!
Use A Cotton T-Shirt
Aside from the above hair towels, you could even use your favorite, old cotton t-shirt to wrap your hair in after you are done washing your hair. Surprised? Well, don’t be! Wouldn’t you agree that lounging around the house in your favorite cotton t-shirt is the most comfortable thing ever?
Yes? No? All of you? Well, me too!
T-shirt fabric is gentle and soft on the hair, just as it is on the skin. It reduces frizz, static, and split-ends, and also minimizes hair breakage.
A cotton T-shirt as a hair drying tool may not be the best to absorb all the water but it definitely helps to maintain the health of hair. It could also be a struggle to keep the twisted, t-shirt wrapped hair in one place as there is no way to anchor the twist at the nape of your neck.
Here is what I would recommend if you like this type of hair wrap to dry hair but you don’t have a cotton t-shirt that is always readily available.
Ultra-Fine Microfiber Hair Towel & Hairbrush Set by The Perfect Haircare
This is a revolutionary, ultra-fine microfiber hair towel that is designed especially with the health of your hair in mind. It is fast-drying and reduces frizz from hair.
It boasts to cut down drying time by 70%! You will fall in love with the smooth feel of the fabric!
This also comes with a detangling hairbrush that is safe to use for all hair types. I personally did not like the brush as much as the hair towel.
Use code FIRST10 to get 10% off your first order! They offer free shipping for US residents- it’s a double win!
Sustainable Choices Exist
Although these towels are great for hair, they may not be the best for the planet. Both cotton and microfiber materials are said to create a lot of environmental pollution. Yes, even cotton!
The cotton industry is notorious for using massive amounts of water, pesticides, fertilizers, and even chemicals in their production process. Microfiber isn’t eco-friendly either in that it is made up of tiny pieces of plastic that wash off and flow down the drain into our water systems.
The more sustainable choices we make, the better it is for us and our future generations. Here is what you can look for to verify the hair towel you choose is eco-friendly:
- GOTS-certified: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) ensures that 70% of fibers in a textile are organic and that the manufacturers meet certain water and energy consumption requirements during production.
- GRS-certified: Global Recycling Standard (GRS) not only verifies recycled content but it also ensures the social, environmental, and chemical best practices are met during production.
Here is what I would recommend.
Sustainable Quick Dry Hair Towel Wrap by Concious Coconut
This towel is sustainably created with recycled water bottles to give you healthier & shinier hair. It is super-absorbent, lightweight, soft to touch and comes in its own sustainable travel bag.
It is gentle on all hair and cuts down drying time in half. You also wouldn’t have to worry about frizz and hair loss when you use this feel-good towel.
What I love about Conscious Coconut is that they are Fair-Trade Certified and are dedicated to empower the lives of people with disabilities. Every single hair towel from this amazing company is packaged by mental & developmentally disabled adults who are provided with high-quality jobs skills training.
If you are still not wow-ed by them, allow me to tell you that every purchase you make on their website, feeds TWO free (or reduced-priced) meals to malnutritioned children through the Feeding America program! Feeding America is the largest domestic hunger relief organization in the US.
As you can see from this post, a simple little thing like choosing the right towel to dry hair after shower can have a significant impact on the health of your hair as well as the health of our planet.
I hope that I have helped you understand the importance of investing in the right kind of hair towel. To help you further, here are some quick after-shower care tips.
Always remember to:
- Detangle knots before showering; hair can get more tangled when wet, especially during shampoo-ing
- Do a final rinse with cooler water to close the cuticles; this locks in moisture in the strands
- Remove excess water from hair by squeezing with both hands before wrapping it in a towel
- Blot hair with a hair towel gently instead of rubbing; start from the roots first
- Use a wide tooth comb or fingers to gently detangle wet hair; work in sections, starting from ends first
- Not use direct heat on wet hair. Wait for hair to be 70-80% dry first
- Not to wash hair daily; Stretching out wash days actually improves hair health
- Apply a heat protectant to hair before using hot hair-styling tools
- Choose flat irons that are ceramic because they distribute heat uniformly
That is all, ladies! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns with how to dry hair after shower. I am always happy to help in the best way I can.
Which type of hair towel did you like best?
Have you used any one of these? If so, what kind do you prefer?