It has been hypothesized that since air drying takes much longer for the hair to dry completely, some internal components of the Cell Membrane Complex (CMC) are exposed to water; therefore, causing damage. For those of you who do not know, the CMC layer is made up of proteins, lipids and fatty acids. Essentially, it's the glue that binds the cuticles together.
Air drying wet hair, for long periods of time, can cause the CMC layer to become dislodged which can then lead to rough damaged hair, splitting and breakage. It's the over exposure to water that creates the damage in the CMC. It is said that removing water from the hair quickly prevents the CMC layer from becoming damaged, as very long drying times can cause undetected damage.
Although blow drying at hot temperatures would be the next best thing, to remove water from the hair quickly, the heat can cause more damage. Overall, it is best to minimize drying time and minimize the temperature i.e. blow drying on cool air setting. Using a hair dryer 6 inches away from the hair, with continuous motion, could cause less damage than air drying.
I've been blow drying my hair on the cool setting for years (5 years to be exact)! It's one of my "go-to" methods for drying my hair. I usually t-shirt dry for 15-20 mins then I proceed to blow dry on cool while smoothing my hair out with my hands. It gives me consistent results i.e. smooth soft moisturized hair and it's fast! When I'm done, I feel as though all of my cuticles lay flat and my hair dries much more uniform. I love it!!
- Air dry using ceramides (i.e. grape seed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil etc.) to reinforce the cell membrane complex (CMC).
- Do not air dry while the hair is sopping wet. First t-shirt dry your hair for 10-15 minutes allowing the t-shirt to absorb most of the water.
- Blow dry your hair on Cool to remove most of the water and to protect the CMC layer of your strands.