What’s Worse: Heat or Water?
What’s Worse: Heat or Water?
What’s Worse: Heat or Water?
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Aquis Hair Turban and a blow dryer

You’ve definitely heard of heat damage and the havoc blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons may wreak on your beautiful tresses. But have you heard of water damaged hair? What exactly does water do to hair? What happens when you apply heat to wet hair? (Hint: Blow dryers were never meant to dry your hair.) First, let’s get the skinny on heat damage then you can decide which one is your biggest enemy—heat or water.

woman blow drying long hair

How Does Heat Hurt?

Here’s a quick breakdown on how heat damage works. Healthy hair has a flat cuticle (outer) layer, with cuticle scales held closed by lipids. Heat can deplete those lipids and create cracks in the cuticle layer to produce tangles, frizz, rough texture, and lack of shine. 

Cracked cuticles equal exposed cortexes (the inner part of the strand). The cortex is responsible for your hair’s elasticity and strength. Repeated heat assault on cortex bonds significantly decreases tensile strength in hair, which can cause breakage.

We all know heat should be used moderately and responsibly with temperatures that are right for your texture and heat-protecting products that will ensure your hair’s health. What many people don’t know is that heat has no place on wet hair. Here’s why:

woman with wet blond hair

So…What About Water Damage?

Bomb-dropping time—Your hair is naturally hydrophobic. That’s exactly what it sounds like. Water is bad for your hair. Unless your cuticles are perfectly flat and closed, water will seep into your strands and leave the cortex waterlogged and swollen. This swelling pushes cuticles even further apart.

Bottom line, wet hair is weak hair. Drying with a harsh terrycloth towel further damages wet hair. Applying heat to wet hair can also compound damage. However, damp or dry hair is much better suited for heat styling since it is strong enough to withstand the extra stress. This is exactly why blow dryers were originally designed to style hair, not dry it.

woman wearing an Aquis hair towel

Is Air Drying OK?

Air drying may seem like a healthier alternative but think again! Leaving your hair wet leads to water fatigue. It’s just like how your body becomes fatigued from stress, illness, or lack of sleep. Water can leave hair overwhelmed, depleted, dull, and lifeless. This is precisely why it is important to remove water from hair fast.  

Although the path of damage differs slightly, the symptoms of water damage are similar to heat damage since the same structures of the hair (cuticle and cortex) are affected, resulting in frizzy, brittle, unmanageable hair that is constantly breaking off and splitting. Stay tuned for tips on how to prevent both types of damage for more good hair days.


So what's the verdict?

Hey, we're not saying blow dryers are bad, nor is water bad—it's heat damage and water fatigue that have negative effects on your hair. That means the verdict is, use everything as it's intended. Your Aquis is a powerful beauty tool to bring your hair to a damp state - fast. Then, use your favorite blow dryer for styling. Used together and in the correct order, these two are a great pair for healthier hair, and less heat damage.