The Truth About Air Drying Natural Hair

Air drying has become a regular step in many natural hair regimens. Most people try to avoid using heat since it can be damaging, however, what if I told you air drying isn’t the healthiest option? 

In this post, we’re going to talk about why air drying can be damaging to your natural hair and other methods you can follow to keep your curls healthy! 



What is Air Drying? 

Air drying is the process of removing moisture from your hair over a long period. Depending on your porosity, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. The style you do also affects how long your hair takes to dry. 

If you have high porosity hair, you may notice that your styles dry faster. Low porosity hair may take a day or more. 

How is Air Drying Damaging? 

Although air drying may seem like the safest option, it can cause more harm than good over time. 

The hair shaft swells when it comes in contact with water and your hair is also weaker when it’s wet. 

Before we get into more details, it’s important to know that your hair is made up of 3 layers:


  • Medulla - The soft, innermost layer of hair. 
  • Cortex - The thickest layer of hair that surrounds the Medulla. It provides strength, texture, and color to your follicles. 
  • Cuticle - A layer of dead cells that overlap to protect the medulla + cortex and help lock in moisture.

The cortex of your hair can swell and break the longer your hair is wet. Since your hair will be holding excessive moisture for hours or even days, this can lead to more pressure and cause damage. 

Another downfall to air drying is when you sleep on wet hair, it can cause bacteria to form on the scalp. If you normally wash your hair at night and then lay on it, there’s a possibility this can happen since your strands aren’t getting enough airflow. 

What Are Better Alternatives? 

Instead of air drying your hair, a great alternative would be using a hooded dryer. The heat from dryers is evenly distributed and gentle on your hair, therefore, you won’t have to worry about damage. 

Hairdryers are fast and effective, therefore, you’ll be able to finish up your styling the same day and it can also minimize unwanted frizz. 

If you don’t have a hooded dryer, you can use a Bonnet Hood Hair Dryer. You would attach this to a blow dryer and it works just as well as the hooded one. 

Another option is using a diffuser. This is great to do for wash and go styles! Using a diffuser reduces the chance of heat damage since it prevents the blow dryer from roughening up the cuticles. 

It has the following benefits: 

  • Faster drying time 
  • Provides more volume 
  • Reduces shrinkage 
  • Less frizz 
  • Won’t disturb your curl pattern 

Make sure you use it on the lowest setting to prevent heat damage! 


It’s easy to follow certain practices in your regimen when you see many people doing it all of the time, however, it’s important to do your research. You never know what could be damaging your hair on your journey.

Blog Contributor: @naturally_madisen Website:

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