To dry or not to dry is not the question...which method is. Part 1: Blow Dry / by Andrea Lemonds

It's not a matter of IF people will dry their hair, but HOW people will dry their hair. Air Dry, Hood Dry/Diffuse Dry or Blow Dry are some of the common methods. Each has its pros and cons, good or bad consequences. One source, The Science of Black Hair by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy, describes one of the methods as a "gentle breeze" and another as a "Category 5 hurricane."  Hopefully the following will help you reach your own drying conclusion.

I have heard this method referred to as "blow-frying" and likened to a "category 5 hurricane." It is Blow Drying. It works by removing water externally from the hair and then moving internally to evaporate moisture. "Blow drying depletes and removes moisture from the hair strands more violently and rapidly than [other forms of drying]. This drastic moisture loss increases the probability of splitting, cracking or peeling of the cuticle," says Audrey Davis-Sivasothy from her book The Science of Black Hair. But do not fear, there is HOPE! Done well, this method does not have to end in dehydrated hair. 

When undertaking wet hair, try to remove excess moisture using a towel first. The next step is to blow dry hair beginning with high heat/high speed drying mostly the back and sides. As the hair becomes dry, moving to a lower heat setting is best and also a lower speed setting as well. An excerpt from Philip Kingsley's book The Hair Bible reminds us of the caution needed when taking these steps: "Blow drying hair from wet to damp does no damage, but drying from damp to dry can be hazardous. Ideally, the hair should be left damp,..., it is vital to stop blow drying at the right time." In many cases, less is more, even with blow drying.

One other option for blow drying is cold drying. This is as it sounds, using the cool setting to dry hair.  Yes, it does take longer, but can cause less damage due to water leaving the hair at a slower rate. Although, the down side is that it does not make the hair look as sleek. This tends to be a more gentle form of blow drying.

 Blow drying is the method that many utilize when they are in a rush or want a certain look. It is useful, but how often is it really needed? I leave that to you.