10 Things You Should Do or Don’t Do to Protect Wet Hair

Do you worry about your hair and how to protect it the best? It’s a constant struggle of mine. This especially true for me because I suffer from androgenic alopecia and hair loss and need to be on medication. I avoid heat as much as possible, but if I decide to use it I make sure that I use a heat protectant. Additionally, I make sure that I protect my hair when it’s wet.

Wet Hair:

wet hair

Our hair is fragile, and it’s easy to forget that. This is especially true when we spend so much time dying styling it without much worry. However, our hair is especially sensitive after we get out of the shower, and there are a number of things you should never do to wet hair. You might be okay to use your curling wand on blow-dried hair, but using heating products on wet hair is a whole other story. Most of us already know that excessive heat can make our hair more fragile, but few truly understand that it’s when our hair is wet that it is most vulnerable.

The ABC’s of Wet Hair:

Our hair might look like thousands of singular strands arranged all over our heads. Nonetheless, the truth lies at the granular level. Each individual hair shaft is made up of keratin, a protein, and composed of bonds. Such bonds, such as the hydrogen bonds are weaker when they are wet, as opposed to when they are dry. As a result, when your hair is wet, it stretches—and if manipulated too harshly, any weak points on the cuticles can snap. This goes for any hair type. In addition, those with ultra-fine, coarse, or chemically-treated or lightened hair need to be the most careful when manipulating wet strands. Whenever your hair is wet, it is more fragile, especially if you have color-treated or chemically-treated hair. Besides, unlike dry hair, wet hair is more delicate to anything it touches.

Taking the proper precautions when your hair is wet can help protect the health of your hair, which will ultimately lead to stronger, healthier, and more full-looking locks. To make sure your hair isn’t going through any unnecessary breakage, avoid these eight things you should never do when your hair is wet. As a result, in order to protect hair in the vulnerable stage, the following 10 steps should or shouldn’t be done to protect wet hair.

1.  Reduce Friction:

It’s recommended to sectioning wet hair into six parts and then towel dry or blow-drying each section so that you are decreasing the amount of tension and friction that is being applied to your fragile strands.

2.  Wait a minute to apply styling products after washing your hair:

If your hair is soaking wet, wait until it’s a little drier to use anti-frizz serums and/or styling oils like Dove Nourishing Oil Care Anti-Frizz Serum so they can penetrate into the hair shaft. Hair absorbs better when it’s slightly dry.

3. Dry your hair with a towel shammy:

A towel shammy is much more gentle, and all good styles start with how you treat your hair from the beginning.

4. Detangling Wet Hair:

Most of us reach for the detangling brush post-shower. However, it better to tackle knots before you bathe—and letting your hair partially dry afterward before running a comb through it.  Moreover, I always brush my hair before the shower, when it’s dry, to get the knots out. Brushing it out when it’s dry will decrease the likelihood of breakage when working out the tougher tangles created throughout the day or night, depending on when you plan to shower. Your hair can get even more tangled when it is wet, specifically during the shampoo process, causing more breakage and excessive shedding. When combing, whether before your shower or after your hair has partially dried, it is important to work your way from the ends up to your roots—never the other way around.

5. Wait Until Your Hair is 90% Dry:

Don’t brush your hair when it’s wet. If you find yourself with a lot of tangles, it’s best to go with a Wet Brush and leave-in spray. The bristles are much softer on a wet brush than a regular, everyday hairbrush. Try rough drying your hair first (about 90 percent) and then using a round brush to smooth rather than detangle. I for one use a wide comb and a leave-in detangler to protect my hair.  

6. Avoid Styling Wet Hair:

It’s tempting to style your hair before it’s completely dry but avoid it at all costs. Never flat iron or curl with an iron on wet hair. You are just frying your hair and creating damaged, dull hair.  All that heat will pretty much boil the water on your hair—you’re basically cooking your hair—not something you want to do.

7. Don’t Use A Lot of Products in Wet Hair:

Wet hair and loads of your favorite product are like oil and water — they don’t mix. When you blow-dry wet hair, the heat melts the product and weighs down the strands, making your hair too heavy to style. Only use heat protectant product on wet hair if you are using a blow-dry. However, don’t blow dry dripping wet hair. Blow drying dripping wet hair will just take longer. Hair takes its shape from damp to dry, so I usually tell people to either towel dry it really well or tell people to let it air dry a little.

8. Don’t Handle Hair Roughly:

Protecting wet hair is more about how you handle your hair versus what you use to dry it. Some people believe a cotton T-shirt is the best thing to use, and there are lots of fancy towels out there. I don’t think it’s as much what you use as to how you use it. You don’t want to rough up your hair—rather than rubbing, gently squeeze the moisture out.

9. Putting it up in a bun or ponytail when it’s really wet:

Hair’s elasticity changes as it goes from wet to dry—essentially, the hair shrinks as it dries. If you try to put it up with a ponytail holder when it’s wet, it can break at the band. If you’re desperate to put it up before it’s dry, it’s best to use hair pins or a clip.

10. Don’t Go to Bed With Wet Hair:

We all need to get our beauty rest, but if you choose to do so with wet hair, expect to wake up to matting and tangling in the morning. Hair should be dried before you go to bed no matter how tempted you are to get some shut-eye.

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