Is Washing The Hair With Cold Water Better?

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Frizz or freeze – none of these are pleasant. Washing your hair with too hot or too cold water can be damaging. It can lead to hair fall, frizz, dryness, and dullness. So, what is the right temperature to wash your hair? Which is better – cold or hot water? Scroll down to know what is best for your hair.

Why Water Temperature Matters For Washing The Hair

The water temperature can make or break your hair. Very hot water can strip the hair’s natural moisture, making it dry, dull, and frizzy. Apart from freezing you and giving you a headache, very cold water makes the hair brittle, dry, and dull.

Then, why do some prefer washing the hair with hot water while others vouch for cold water? Well, both have their merits and demerits. Let’s find out more about it in the next section.

What Hot Water Does To Your Hair

The outer layer of the hair is the cuticle – made of dead, overlapping cells that protect the hair shaft (1). When you wash your hair with hot or warm water, the cuticles open up. This helps eliminate the trapped dirt, dust, oil, and sweat from the hair. But there is a downside to it. Washing the hair with hot water causes swelling of the hair shafts or frizzy hair.

What Cold Water Does To Your Hair

Cold water closes the hair cuticles and helps reduce frizz. Unless the cuticles are open, water cannot penetrate the hair and eliminate unwanted oil, dirt, and sweat. As a result, your hair will feel rough and greasy, even after washing. However, water that is too cold might make your hair dull and lifeless.

A cold water rinse is great for your hair due to the following reasons.

Benefits Of Cold Water For Hair Wash

  • Reduces frizz
  • Adds shine
  • Helps eliminate dandruff
  • Improves blood circulation to the scalp
  • Helps retain the natural hair moisture

But is hot water any good for your hair? Yes! Here are the benefits of washing your hair with hot or warm water.

Benefits Of Hot Water For Hair Wash

  • Removes excess oil
  • Eliminates dirt and dust
  • Cleanses the scalp
  • Prevents scalp infection
  • Cleanses product buildup

So, what should you use – hot or cold water? Well, the trick lies in knowing when to use hot and cold water to wash your hair. Scroll down to know how to wash your hair with hot and cold water without damaging it.

Best Way To Wash Your Hair

The best way to wash your hair is to cleanse it with hot or warm water and use cold water for the final rinse.

Cleansing your hair with a good shampoo and warm water helps open the hair shafts and eliminate impurities. It also preps the hair to absorb the conditioning agents and lock in moisture. After washing off the conditioner with warm water, use cold water for the final rinse. This will help close the cuticles and prevent frizz.

Now the question is, can anybody use cold water to wash the hair? Let’s find out!

 Should You Wash Your Hair With Cold Water?

Wash your hair with cold water if you don’t have fever, cough and cold, and sinusitis. Avoid washing your hair with cold water if you stay in a very cold climate. Heat the water to room temperature for the final rinse.

Final Thoughts

Washing your hair with cold water is not better than washing it with hot or warm water. But unlike hot water, cold water does not create frizz. Use hot water for cleansing and cold water for the final rinse. This is the ideal way to use the water temperature to your advantage and keep your hair shiny and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does washing your hair with cold water make it greasy?

Yes, washing your hair with only cold water can make it greasy. The best practice is to use hot water with shampoo and conditioner and cold water for a final rinse.

Can you get sick from washing your hair in cold water?

Yes, you can get sick from washing your hair with freezing water. It can cause a headache, inflamed sinusitis, runny nose, and cough.

Are cold showers good for the hair?

Yes and no – it depends on when you are using cold water to wash your hair. If you use cold water while shampooing and conditioning your hair, it might become greasy and rough. Therefore, use cold water only for the final rinse to prevent frizzy hair.

Which water is best for washing your hair?

Use lukewarm water to cleanse your hair with shampoo and conditioner. Then, use cold water for a final rinse.


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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).