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View Full Version : Best heatless drying method: air-dry, towel-dry, damp-bun?



meteor
December 20th, 2013, 06:25 PM
I know there is some debate about whether blow-drying on cool is better than air-drying, but I wonder:
What is the best method for drying hair without heat or wind in order to achieve smoothed down cuticle and shiny hair with minimal frizz:
- air-dry straight from the shower, no touching until completely dry?
- towel-dry in a microfibre towel / turbie twist / t-shirt until almost dry and then air dry?
- wet-bun or damp-bun?

Let's assume that all these methods have equal convenience and time constraints.

Weewah
December 20th, 2013, 06:38 PM
In my opinion, I think using the microfiber towel would give better results than straight air drying. I've never done a wet/damp bun so I can't say about that

kaydana
December 20th, 2013, 07:06 PM
You missed option four: trampolining. That definitely gives me the best results, but it requires a fair bit of detangling afterwards and is weather dependent. It is also, by quite a significant margin, the most enjoyable method of drying hair.

Firefox7275
December 20th, 2013, 08:19 PM
I am naturally wavy and get the smoothest straightest hair by first co-washing then smoothing a slippy leave in on wet hair. Squeezing excess water, then towel turban (no terry cloth), comb when wet into a ponytail or twist into a beak clip and air dry. No brushing to smooth whilst drying that makes pouf/ fluff/ frizz. Adjust the style once or twice with bare minimum manipulation (eg take down and twist the hair the reverse direction ideally not even finger combing much) so that all parts get exposed to the air as much as possible. Ideally leave overnight to ensure fully dry.

Every time I brush or comb when damp it poufs and goes dull, every time I apply the leave in after towelling it poufs. My hair is porous and colour treated so if you are low porosity your hair might behave very differently.

Anje
December 20th, 2013, 08:25 PM
I usually turban till my hair won't drip, detangle and let air dry. Turbaning alone seems slower to me, and my scalp hates having a damp bun against it, even though many claim damp buns are fantastic for their hair.

joflakes
December 21st, 2013, 04:24 AM
I wrap mine in a pashmina, then either dry in braids or just loose. Works well for me but I do like the feel of my hair post braiding!

Lyv
December 21st, 2013, 04:28 AM
I leave mine in a towel for a little while and then air dry. If I damp bun it won't dry until at least the next morning sometimes longer.

XcaliburGirl
December 21st, 2013, 05:35 AM
I usually wet bun, then let my hair down in the evening (still damp) to dry the rest of the way. I don't mind having a damp bun all day.

NuclearApple
December 21st, 2013, 05:43 AM
I squeeze the water with a towel,shake my hair and comb it a little,then let it dry,microfiber towel is the best solution to absorb all the water and speed up the process in my opinion :)

meteor
December 21st, 2013, 12:12 PM
Thank you very much for all your replies, guys! :)

So I'm guessing it's not like there's some optimal/healthiest method of heatless drying. All that's recommended is just minimal touching/manipulation while wet and not keeping hair and especially scalp wet for too long.

lapushka
December 21st, 2013, 01:29 PM
Straight out of the shower dripping wet is very inconvenient if you ask me. I mean, who does that? At least something is needed to wick the water away some. I prefer a microfiber turbie for 15 to 20 minutes. Most of the wetness is gone by then, and what remains is nice damp hair that is quicker to airdry.

meteor
December 21st, 2013, 01:39 PM
Straight out of the shower dripping wet is very inconvenient if you ask me. I mean, who does that?
I tend to do that. And you are right: it's quite inconvenient. But I thought it might be better for hair. I just squeeze out the water with my hands and let air dry.

I think I heard a long time ago that in hot climates large silk scarves are traditionally used to dry hair post wash instead of a towel, but I don't remember how it's done technically. Does anybody know more about this?

lapushka
December 21st, 2013, 02:07 PM
I tend to do that. And you are right: it's quite inconvenient. But I thought it might be better for hair. I just squeeze out the water with my hands and let air dry.

Don't you think somehow the abundance of water remaining in the hair makes it prone to more damage? Rather than when you take that abundance of (dripping wet) water (and weight) out?

YamaMaya
December 21st, 2013, 06:09 PM
I towel turban it until it's not dripping wet anymore, then I leave it down until it's 90% dry, then braid or bun. I've not had problems with this method as I don't rub with the towel.

meteor
December 21st, 2013, 06:09 PM
Don't you think somehow the abundance of water remaining in the hair makes it prone to more damage? Rather than when you take that abundance of (dripping wet) water (and weight) out?

Interesting. I never thought of that, lapushka. I thought what's bad is the TIME that the hair is left wet, so if I air-dry hair while sitting close to heater it only takes an hour or so. Isn't it better than applying some non-smooth cloth to hair?

I have 2 more questions:

- I see some people recommend chamois for drying hair very quickly. It's the same product as what's used for cars. Has anybody tried it? Or do you guys have any opinions on that?

- Why are either t-shirts OR microfiber towels recommended as if they have the same effect? The recommended t-shirts are made of 100% cotton, and microfiber is synthetic. Shouldn't they have a very different effect on the cuticle?

Anje
December 21st, 2013, 06:25 PM
Straight out of the shower dripping wet is very inconvenient if you ask me. I mean, who does that? At least something is needed to wick the water away some. I prefer a microfiber turbie for 15 to 20 minutes. Most of the wetness is gone by then, and what remains is nice damp hair that is quicker to airdry.
I think curlies tend to report that they get the best curl formation if they literally drip-dry instead of letting a towel soak up the excess. Almost makes me glad my hair isn't curly, as this sounds horribly inconvenient.

TheWhiteRabbit
December 21st, 2013, 07:06 PM
My hair is so thin and fine that it dries very quickly if I use a microfibre towel to get most of the water out of it. A damp bun or braid just means my hair won't dry for several hours. I have never tried a turbie and I have no desire to have it just dripping water everywhere when I get out of the shower :shrug:

swearnsue
December 21st, 2013, 07:15 PM
The silk scarf sounds like a good idea, add sitting on a beach in Hawaii with Josh Groban singing love songs with puppies and kittens under a large umbrella.

That's what I want for Christmas!

durgidog
December 21st, 2013, 07:17 PM
I always use a microfiber turbie (yes, microfiber is the same as synthetic chamois made for cars - the genuine chamois are leather). When I want to speed drying I remove the turbie and put on a second dry one for another 10-15 minutes. I don't use two very often because it straightens my wave quite a bit, you might try it.

Emichiee
December 21st, 2013, 08:06 PM
It doesn't make a difference for me.

But I prefer air drying because leaving the hair and scalp wet for longer can have downsides too. The hair is more prone to damage when damp/ wet and washing alone causes some weathering anyway.

Keeping a towel on for too long also creates a really nice climate for scalp yeast (dandruff), which can result into increased shedding among other hair problems.

melesine
December 21st, 2013, 08:10 PM
Wet bun works well as far as minimal frizz but on my hair it takes a lot more time to dry than wearing it down. blot excess water and then air dry down without touching works almost as well as far as frizz. Wrapped in a microfiber towel results in more frizz for me.

LauraLongLocks
December 21st, 2013, 11:25 PM
What I'm currently doing is gently squeezing the extra water from my hair, then I put on my first turbie twist. It gets pretty soaked in just the few minutes it takes me to towel off my body, so then I take that one off and put on my second turbie twist while I get dressed and put on my face moisturizer. After I take the second turbie twist off, I spray my hair with a leave-in conditioner and detangle it. Once it is detangled, I add jojoba to my length and ends, followed by silk drops on the bottom 3" of my hair. I am LOVING silk drops. I just discovered them, and they make my ends feel just like fresh-cut silky ends. I'm sold. Anyway, I digress. At this point, I use Madora's fanning technique, combined with my hair dryer on cool. It's mostly dry in just a few minutes. I then sit fairly still for the next 15-30 minutes while I wait for it to finish drying.

Here's Madora's drying technique, copied and pasted:

1) Using my palms, squeeze excess water out of my hair and gently detangle with wide tooth comb.
2) Take towel and place it vertically so it covers my head, and wrap length of towel around hanging hair (all my hair is in front of me)
3) Take palms and press them along length of towelled hair.

4) Remove towel, part hair in center part so there are 2 sections. Clip one section aside out of the way (it just hangs - not attached to my head).

5) Take other section of hair, detangle gently again.

6) Then I begin to "fan" the strands...my theory being that hair dries faster when the air circulates through it constantly.

To "fan the strands" take a SMALL portion of hair in your hand, bring your hand up to your eyebrow THEN EXTEND YOUR HAND OUT IN FRONT OF YOU, then release the hair and let it drift to the floor.

Take the next piece of hair and repeat. Keep repeating the motions until all the hair is "fanned".

Special note: After "fanning" each section I usually comb it out after it has fallen down...I do it SLOWLY but you can omit this step if you want.

After one side has been completely "fanned", braid it gently (if desired) or clip it to keep it separate from the other side. Repeat the procedure with the other side of the hair until it too has been completely "fanned".

Style as desired. I do not use any products, sprays/gels/mousse or oils on my hair when fanning..or afterwards.

In wintertime:

I have a small portable electric heater in my bathroom that has 3 adjustable temps. I turn on the lowest temp and then stand about 3 feet away from the heater and perform my "fanning" technique. Works very well though the hair might seem a little "frisky" afterwards (because of the heat). I usually just run my hands down my hair and that helps tame the friskiness.

Bottom line: the success of the air drying depends on: how much water you can get rid of after final rinse, and how much time you spend on the "fanning" process.

Years ago, before I developed this method, I went thru the whole "towel on the head...hair in a towel down my back...wet and heavy...yuck" syndrome. I hated it...waiting around forever for my very thick hair to dry....so I experimented and found the solution that worked for me.

Fanning the strands is easy to do and as long as you're willing to take your time, it really shrinks the air drying time to a manageable degree.

By the way, my hair is slightly wavy and thick (back then). I wouldn't recommend "fanning" the strands to those with really curly hair, as they need to be extra careful when dealing with those curls.

Hope this helps! I've been air drying my hair like this for more than 40 years.

Andeee
December 22nd, 2013, 02:04 AM
The above method sounds way too complicated for me! At the moment, this is what I do: Hair has been detangled with conditioner and wide tooth comb in the shower. When I get out I squeeze excess water out and then gently squeeze more water out with a towel. I prefer not to put it up in a turban anymore because it seems there is more untangling to do that way. I am now trying not to comb it again at this stage (because it's wet and prone to damage if I do so). I even try and get my hair to part the way I like it while still in the shower so that I can just let it air dry completely with no fussing. My hair is thick-ish and has lots of waves and spirals, so this is the best way to encourage them.

lapushka
December 27th, 2013, 04:36 AM
Interesting. I never thought of that, lapushka. I thought what's bad is the TIME that the hair is left wet, so if I air-dry hair while sitting close to heater it only takes an hour or so. Isn't it better than applying some non-smooth cloth to hair?

I have *no* idea, honestly. I'm just wondering...


- Why are either t-shirts OR microfiber towels recommended as if they have the same effect? The recommended t-shirts are made of 100% cotton, and microfiber is synthetic. Shouldn't they have a very different effect on the cuticle?

I never understood why a terry cloth turbie towel wasn't ok to use, either, but it has to do with lint and frizz (for curlies and wavies). I'm barely a wavy and terry cloth or microfiber? It doesn't make that big of a difference to me. I do use microfiber, though, since that seems to soak up more water.


I think curlies tend to report that they get the best curl formation if they literally drip-dry instead of letting a towel soak up the excess. Almost makes me glad my hair isn't curly, as this sounds horribly inconvenient.

Yes. Forgot about that! As a wavy, I don't go for that method, as it seems to make no difference in my wave pattern, not that much that I would make it more inconvenient for me than it already is.

HintOfMint
December 27th, 2013, 04:00 PM
I'm a fan of towel drying to get rid of the sopping moisture, putting some oil on the ends, airdrying for about half an hour and then damp bunning. It smooths out my waves and gives me body like nothing else.

trolleypup
December 27th, 2013, 04:38 PM
You missed option four: trampolining. That definitely gives me the best results, but it requires a fair bit of detangling afterwards and is weather dependent. It is also, by quite a significant margin, the most enjoyable method of drying hair.
I'll add option 5: sitting on the smooth rock edge of a remote hot spring...warm sun and dry breeze made my hair dry super fast. Only moderate detangling...and possibly even more pleasant than trampolining!

Straight out of the shower dripping wet is very inconvenient if you ask me. I mean, who does that? At least something is needed to wick the water away some. I prefer a microfiber turbie for 15 to 20 minutes. Most of the wetness is gone by then, and what remains is nice damp hair that is quicker to airdry.
Pretty much this... do a gentle hand squeeze of the length, turban with a giant microfiber (no lint) for 15-20 minutes, air dry the rest of the way.

Granger Mane
December 27th, 2013, 06:18 PM
I blot with a T-shirt. Either air-dry or blow-dry on the cool setting, then bun or clip up.

Applegirl84
December 27th, 2013, 06:44 PM
I squeeze gently with a microfibre towel, detangle with a wide comb, squeeze length with one paper towel then leave to air dry. Once dry (for me that's 1.5-2hrs) I usually put it in a loose cinnamon bun for at least an hour, sometimes most of the day. When I take it down and comb it, there is no frizz just smooth shiny waves. And that's even if I don't use conditioner or oil!

glittergloss
December 28th, 2013, 05:53 AM
towel and air dry

MandyBeth
December 28th, 2013, 06:47 AM
Me - I don't call my blow dryer to be heat. I can hold it still, one inch from the inside of my wrist for at least 30 seconds. Stopped only because it was boring, not from heat. My hair actually is healthier than air drying.

Minion in training - t shirt to soak up drips, air dry to 50-60%, braid or bun.

Adorably evil minion - Turbie towel first, another turbie for 4 more rounds, air dry to 99%, put up. Otherwise, her hair will not dry.

Soltimus
December 28th, 2013, 09:57 AM
I used to just use a normal towel and was sort of happy with that (except for the weight of the damn thing on my head). For Christmas my mother bought me two turbie twisty things? I think that's what they're called anyway :D They're awesome! My hair feels less of a mess than with towels, it dries quicker and it's just not as heavy. Will definitely recommend microfibre towels or turbies.

dulce
December 28th, 2013, 10:35 AM
Did anyone mention a floor fan? Madora mentioned this and my thickish almost classic hair is dry in 15-20 minutes while I watch tv or peruse the internet on my computer,as my hands are free.Works so much better than anything I have used before.

meteor
December 28th, 2013, 10:52 AM
Yes, Dulce. After looking at the information available, I also suspect that floor fans or simple fans (low temperature blow drying at a good distance) are probably the way to go...
It looks like hair staying wet due to slow drying creates problems in CMC (cell membrane complex), as water compromises the "glue" in the CMC.

Link to Research: "Hair Shaft Damage from Heat and Drying Time of Hair Dryer" in the Annals of Dermatology
http://synapse.koreamed.org/DOIx.php?id=10.5021/ad.2011.23.4.455

"The CMC was damaged only in the naturally dried group. This result was quite unexpected, because increased temperatures generally led to more hair damage. It took over 2 h to dry the hair tress completely under ambient conditions. The hair shaft swells when in contact with water, as does the delta-layer of the CMC. The delta-layer is the sole route through which water diffuses into hair, and so we speculate that the CMC could be damaged when it is in contact with water for prolonged periods. Longer contact with water might be more harmful to the CMC compared to temperature of hair drying."

lapushka
December 28th, 2013, 03:32 PM
Link to Research: "Hair Shaft Damage from Heat and Drying Time of Hair Dryer" in the Annals of Dermatology
http://synapse.koreamed.org/DOIx.php?id=10.5021/ad.2011.23.4.455

"The CMC was damaged only in the naturally dried group. This result was quite unexpected, because increased temperatures generally led to more hair damage. It took over 2 h to dry the hair tress completely under ambient conditions. The hair shaft swells when in contact with water, as does the delta-layer of the CMC. The delta-layer is the sole route through which water diffuses into hair, and so we speculate that the CMC could be damaged when it is in contact with water for prolonged periods. Longer contact with water might be more harmful to the CMC compared to temperature of hair drying."

That's interesting! Thanks for posting! :)