How To Towel-Dry Your Hair The Right Way

Because learning the proper way ensures you don’t damage your tresses during the process.

Reviewed by Madison Dufour, Barber & Cosmetologist Madison Dufour Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA Experience: 5 years

Excessive use of blow dryers can damage your hair. If you are looking for safer options to dry your hair without any damage, try to towel dry your hair.

Blow drying is an easily accessible way to dry your hair, especially when you are in a hurry, but in the long run, it may cause damage to your hair. Hence, switching to towel drying has its benefits, at least when you have free time or don’t have plans to go out.

If you are looking for ways to prevent hair damage, hair drying with a towel is the safest option. Also, note that towel drying can also damage your hair if done in the wrong way. So, you need to know the right techniques. Read on to know the tricks of towel drying and its benefits.

What Is Towel Drying?

Woman drying her hair with a towel
Image: Shutterstock

Towel-drying involves using a towel or any other absorbent material to dry your hair after washing it. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Do not be that quick to judge it by definition. The result depends largely on the kind of towel you use and how you do it.

The trend of switching to a towel from a blow dryer is becoming popular now. The question is, is this just another trend, or is the switch worth all the hype?

Is Towel Drying Your Hair Good Or Bad?

It is claimed that towel-drying wet hair leads to breakage. However, this statement can be misleading. Towel-drying wet hair in the wrong way can indeed lead to breakage. But, if done correctly, it may be one of the best options there is to dry your hair.

When your hair is wet, it is highly fragile. This means that you have to be careful with the way you handle wet hair and the kind of towel you use on it. So, to answer the question, yes, towel-drying is good for the hair, provided you get all the steps right. Learning how to towel-dry your hair and getting every point right is only a small one-time price to pay for a plethora of benefits for your hair care.

What Are The Benefits Of Towel Drying Hair?

  • Reduce Damage Caused By Heat: Applying heat is never healthy for the hair. Many people choose blow-drying because of how fast it dries hair. Simply air-drying and then grooming your hair is a time-consuming process, especially for thick, long hair. However, if you choose to towel-dry your hair after a shower, the time needed to air-dry it is cut down, giving you a healthy alternative to blow-drying.
Woman blowdrying damaged hair
Image: Shutterstock
  • Inexpensive: You can save money by switching to towel-drying instead of blow-drying. You can cut down on electricity bills, and you will also not need to constantly purchase heat protectants as you will not be using hot air to dry your hair.
  • Lesser Product Build-up: By choosing to towel-dry hair, you can toss away your heat protection products. Additionally, if you towel-dry your hair the right way, a lot of frizz can be avoided, which will not require you to use frizz-control products or get frequent hair treatments either. Lesser products used means lesser product-build-up on the hair.
  • Lesser Damage Caused By Friction: If you use a towel to dry damp hair the right way, you will not be causing any friction to the strands.

If you have already been using a towel to dry your hair but still face hair breakage, it may be because the way you are towel-drying it is wrong. Learn how to towel-dry the right way in the next section.

How To Towel Dry Hair Without Damaging it

Woman squeezes out excess water in hair with towel
Image: Shutterstock

There is only one thing you need to dry your hair without damaging it – a microfiber towel. A microfiber towel is moisture absorbent. It absorbs excess water from your tresses without causing any hair damage due to its soft texture. If you do not have a microfiber towel, we suggest you invest in one or use a soft T-shirt and use that as a hair towel. Now that you have the one tool required to towel-dry your hair, here’s how to do it properly.

  • Squeeze Out Excess Water: After you are done showering (hopefully with a good shampoo and conditioner), squeeze out the dripping water with your hands gently. Begin at the scalp and slowly move towards the ends of your hair. This will give the towel a head start without having to deal with excess water.
protip_icon Quick Tip
Apply a leave-in conditioner and a curl defining product or serum right away if you have coarse, thick or curly hair that is prone to frizz quickly.
  • Blot With A Soft Towel: Start pressing your hair with a soft microfiber towel or T-shirt. If you have longer or thicker hair, you can pick up sections, wrap the towel around it, and squeeze gently. Do not tug on or rub your hair or twist it too tightly. Try to use a dry part of the towel for each section to maximize the benefits.
  • Repeat: If you are not satisfied with the dryness, repeat this process. Remember that your hair will not be bone dry no matter how many times you do this. You will have to let the air do some of the work at the end.
  • Wrap Your Hair (Optional): This is a completely optional step, usually preferred by long-haired folks. You can wrap your hair and create a make-shift turban with a towel. Keep it wrapped for around 10-20 minutes and let the towel do all the work. This is a convenient step for people who are running out of time and want to move on to their makeup or other work around the house while their hair dries. Make sure that the towel isn’t twisted too tightly.
  • Remove The Towel: Finally, you can take the towel off slowly without pulling on the hair. Remember that wet hair is fragile. You can comb it after drying. However, if you are in a hurry, you can either run your fingers through it or use a wide-toothed comb to detangle.
protip_icon Quick Tip

If you have fine hair or hair with loose curls, apply a serum or leave-in conditioner at this stage, when the hair is 70-80% dry.
  • Use a comb and never a brush on wet hair. A brush will tear the hair, while a comb will only detangle without causing unnecessary damage.

While following the above-mentioned steps to the T, make sure you do not miss out on what you should and should not be doing discussed in the next section.

Dos And Don’ts of Towel-Drying

Woman follows the right way to dry her hair with a towel
Image: Shutterstock
  • Do Not Wring The Hair: In the first step, when you are removing the excess water by squeezing the hair between your palms, do not wring it. This may cause breakage.
  • Do Not Rub Or Tug: When drying your hair with a towel, make sure you do not use the towel to rub on your scalp. Also, when wrapping your hair with the towel and gently pressing it, do not tug on it. Do not forget that your hair is highly fragile when wet.
  • Do Not Wrap Too Tightly: When choosing to wrap your hair for a few minutes, do not wrap it too tightly such that the hair is stretched or twisted. This may also lead to breakage.
  • Do Use A Soft Towel: Keep away from the cheap, rough towels as they will damage your hair. Instead, pick the softest one with the least friction, preferably a microfiber towel, which has high absorption rates.
Mother drying girl's hair with a soft towel
Image: Shutterstock
  • Do Use A Conditioner: Be it an after-shampoo conditioner or a leave-in conditioner, use at least one after every wash or even both to make up for any damage caused during drying or styling.

A YouTuber shares her routine of towel drying her hair. She uses a microfiber towel that is gentle and does not damage the hair. She says, “I always give my hair roots support by holding the hair at the top here and just run the strand through [the towel] (i)”

If you have been towel-drying your hair but still suffer from breakage, one of the above-mentioned reasons could be why. Make sure you keep an eye out for these things that you may be getting wrong.

Infographic: Simple Tips For Towel-Drying Your Hair Correctly

While blow drying your hair may be a convenient option, doing it frequently may lead to hair damage. Switching to towel-drying your hair is more beneficial as it reduces heat damage. However, doing it the wrong way can do your hair more harm than good. Check out the infographic below for simple tips for towel-drying your hair correctly.

simple tips for towel drying your hair correctly (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Constant usage of blow dryers can cause damage to your precious tresses. So, drying your hair with a towel wrap can be a good option if you are looking for safer and sustainable alternatives. While it is widely believed that towel drying can cause more breakage, you can towel dry your hair without any damage with the right technique and towel. Other benefits include a reduction in heat damage and less product buildup. Do not rub, tug, or wring your hair and use a soft towel and conditioner to keep your hair hydrated and shiny.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does towel-drying make hair frizzy?

The right way of towel-drying does not make your hair frizzy. But aggressively drying your hair with a towel will make hair frizzy and tangled.

Is a cotton towel good for your hair?

The coarse texture of a cotton towel is not good for your hair. It may cause hair damage.

Can I sleep with a towel on my head?

Yes, you can sleep with a towel on your head.

Should you towel-dry your hair before using a conditioner?

It is best to towel-dry your hair before conditioning as a conditioner should not be applied to dripping-wet hair.

Key Takeaways

  • Hair drying with a towel is a better and safer alternative to blow drying, but towel drying can also damage the hair if done wrong.
  • Wet hair is fragile, so after gently squeezing out excess water, you need to pat dry the hair without rubbing, tugging, or pulling to avoid hair damage or breakage.
  • If you do not have a microfiber towel, you can use a soft T-shirt as a hair towel.
Towel Dry Hair

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Learn how to make a DIY hair towel wrap with this easy video tutorial! Quickly dry your hair without the hassle of a regular towel.

Personal Experience: Source

Madison Dufour

Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist

Madison Dufour is a licensed and practicing barber and cosmetologist with 10 years of experience, as well as an entrepreneur running several hair businesses, including MadisonD Barbering and The Exquisite Find Hair Blog. After working behind the chair for several years, she felt the calling to start the non-profit Barber in a Bag that teaches basic hair cutting skills full bio

Latest Articles