Does Hot Or Cold Air Dry Hair Faster? (Explained)

If you’ve ever struggled with damaged hair, you might be hesitant to apply heat when using your hair dryer.

Unfortunately, if you only use cold air, you’ll be stuck drying your hair for much longer than necessary.

Here’s What Air Dries Hair Faster:

Hot air dries hair faster than cold air. Hot air warms up the water molecules, making them move faster and evaporate off the hair. If you’re worried about heat damaging your, you can choose a low or medium heat setting while blow-drying.

Is Cold Drying Faster Than Hot?

Cold air can’t dry hair as quickly as hot air can.

Think about hanging a wet beach towel in the sun to dry versus the shade. You can probably guess that the towel in the hot sun will dry much faster. The same principles apply to your hair when it’s wet as well.

No matter the specifics, heat causes molecules to move faster. When using hot air on wet hair, the heat gets the water molecules moving and evaporating. As this happens, your hair feels drier and drier.

There is not as much movement when cold air is used on wet hair. The water molecules are moving more slowly and without the help of evaporation. The slower the water molecules move off your hair, the slower your drying experience will be.

Most hair dryers have multiple heat settings. While the higher the heat, the faster the drying time, it’s important not to get carried away.

Keep your hair dryer on low or medium heat for efficient drying without causing heat damage to your hair.  

Is Hot or Cold Air Better for Your Hair?

Intense heat can damage hair, like your hair dryer on the highest heat setting.

Luckily, your hair dryer should have more than just extreme “hot” and “cold” settings. Using low to medium heat on your hair is ideal for drying your hair efficiently while achieving the style you want. 

Using a little heat will give you more control over the result of your hair. If you decide to dry your hair with cold air only, you won’t be able to shape your hair the way you can with even a low heat setting.

Although cold air can seem like it takes forever to dry your hair, it does have the benefit of helping the outer cuticle of your hair close without risking any heat damage.

However, if you take the necessary precautions, you can have a more practice drying routine without heat damage. Keep your hair dryer on a low or medium heat setting, and use a good quality heat protectant product in your hair before you begin drying. 

Finally, cold air can be beneficial once your hair is mostly dry. Using that low or medium-heat setting will get your hair dry and styled.

Once it’s pretty much finished, you can use a burst of cold air over your finished hair. This can help smooth the cuticle of your hair and provide a little extra sheen for your final style. 

Does Cold Air Drying Keep Your Hair Healthy?

If you dry your hair with cold, you run no risk of heat damaging your hair. As long as you avoid your highest heat setting, you don’t need to stay away from heat completely to maintain smooth and healthy hair. 

Using a low or medium heat setting will give you a much faster hair drying experience and doesn’t need to be damaging to your hair.  

You can apply heat protectant products throughout your hair before you begin drying. This will protect your hair against heat damage, so you can use a medium or low heat setting confidently. 

You can also keep your blow dryer several inches away from your hair or use a diffuser when drying. Keep the hair dryer in motion, preventing the heat from concentrating on one area of your hair. 

Following these tips can make a low heat setting just as safe as cold air for drying your hair. 

Do Different Brush Types Speed Up Hair Drying?

Using a brush is a great way to style your hair as you dry it. Moving your hair to allow the air to dry the hard-to-reach places is also helpful. 

For best results, choose a flexible brush when drying your hair. Hair is at its most vulnerable and elastic when it’s wet. With a flexible, forgiving brush, you are giving your hair the gentlest possible treatment while it’s in its delicate state. 

If you’re using a brush with stiff bristles, you risk snapping your hair if you brush through it quickly. 

If you have a vented brush, that’s even better. A vented brush has a design that allows the air to blow through it easily. This helps speed up the drying process since the brush’s body won’t block any airflow. 

If you’re new to vented brushes, you can check out this Curved Vented Hair Brush by Urtheone. You can also check your local beauty supply store for similar style brushes.

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If you’re looking to give yourself an at-home blowout, you will want to have a round brush ready to use as well. These brushes aren’t designed for the bulk of the drying but rather to shape hair that is already mostly dry.

How Else Can You Speed Up Drying Your Hair?

You can use many tips and tricks to speed up the drying process.

One mistake many people make is trying to dry their hair when it is dripping wet. Instead of turning on your hair dryer as soon as you step out of the shower, reach for your towel.

Gently towel drying hair is an important step before using the blow dryer. The less time you spend using the blow dryer, the less chance you have to damage your hair. 

Step out of the shower can wrap your hair in a towel for a few minutes. The towel will work on absorbing the moisture from your hair, and your hands are free to keep getting ready. 

Remember that your hair is at its most vulnerable when it’s wet. The outer cuticle layer is partially raised in wet hair, making it more delicate than when it’s dry. When towel drying your hair, always handle it gently to avoid damage.

If you have a microfiber towel, this is even more gentle on your hair. No matter the kind of towel, always avoid any rough motion that might encourage frizz. 

Remember to keep everything in motion when you get to the blow drying stage. Keep the hair dryer moving instead of statically blowing on a single part of your hair.

You can use your hand to move your hair around, letting the air flow approach from different angles. 

While moving the hair and the dryer around, always point the air toward the hair growth. Allow the air to flow from the root of your hair toward the tip.

This will help your hair appear smooth and shiny when you’re done drying. 

Finally, consider investing in a high-end blow dryer. Ionic blow dryers are designed to dry your hair quickly while lowering the risk of heat damage.

Ceramic blow dryers are another sought-after option, as they use their infrared technology to dry your hair with minimal damage. 

Final Thoughts

Hot air will get your hair dry more quickly than cold air. Remember not to overdo it– extreme heat will damage your hair and leave it frizzy and dry.

For best blow-drying results, start with your hair as dry as possible from air drying or towel drying.

Then, use a low or medium-heat setting to dry your hair efficiently. You can finish your drying session with cold air to lock in the final shine.


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