Should You Blowdry Hair with Hot or Cold Air?

It is pretty common knowledge that using heat to style your hair must be done sparingly, or else you risk causing damage. And if you do use heat on your hair, you should aim to always use the right products for protection, so that your hair can remain healthy and undamaged. 

But what about blowdrying your hair? It is a pretty boring chore in the aftermath of washing your hair, we often give it very little thought. While it has its place (and sometimes we all use them by necessity) a hairdryer can be bad for your hair.

Most blow dryers come with two settings, hot and cold. With hot air, the hair gets dried a lot faster, and for most people, that is the go-to setting to use. But cold air, although it takes longer, might be a lot better as it is not applying any heat to the hair. Right? So should you be blowdrying your hair with cold air? Or is it fine to keep using hot air?  Let’s find out! 

As a general rule, blowdrying your hair with cold air is a lot healthier, and the best option for ensuring that your hair stays healthy and undamaged. And as for the time difference, it isn’t actually that much, so cold air should be completely fine for getting it dry in a timely fashion. 

However, heat is better for styling your hair. Applying heat allows your hair to be changed texture-wise, like how straighteners will get it from straight to curly, and curling wands will do the opposite.

This also applies to blowdries, as they can be used to style your hair during the drying process, by giving your hair a smooth finish, or some glam under curls, or some extra volume. Blowdrying with hot air makes it a lot easier to get the desired result. 

Cool air can also contribute to the styling process. After blowdrying and styling your hair with hot air, it is recommended to apply some cold air, as this will cool down the hair, and set it into place so that the style is actually long-lasting. So a combination of both settings is usually the best alternative! 

It is also worth mentioning, that the temperature of your blowdrying should depend on your hair type. In order to keep your hair as undamaged as possible, you should aim for the lowest possible temperature, while also being able to style. And certain hair types require more heat than others. 

So if you have thin, naturally straight hair, for example, you will need a lot less heat than other hair types in order to style. This means that you can use the blowdryer at a lower temperature, even when styling, in order to protect your hair from damage. 

If you have coarse and thick hair, on the other hand, it will take a higher temperature to help you style your hair how you want it, so you won’t be able to avoid the hot air as much. Instead, you should use heat-protective products in order to keep your hair as healthy as possible. 

Do you use a diffuser with hot or cold air?

A diffuser is a special kind of attachment that can be used on a blowdryer. It helps disperse the air so that it doesn’t reduce the natural wave pattern of the hair, and therefore also helps reduce frizziness. It is especially useful for those with curly hair that don’t want to ruin the curls during the blowdrying process. 

But when you use a diffuser, should you use it with hot or with cold air? 

The answer is that you should be using both cold and hot air. Ideally, you should be alternating between them! 

So, to start off, for the first 5 minutes or so of drying your hair, you should use hot air (or else you won’t get very far). This will also help seal the hair cuticle from the start so that the curls stay in their shape. 

After those first 5 minutes, you should then switch to cold air. This will actually help curls dry faster, and it keeps your hair healthier. 

If you want to speed up the drying process, you can then start alternating between temperatures, blasting hot air now and then to add heat, and then allowing the curls to dry with the cold air. 

Right at the end, you should use cold air, to set the hair in place and help your curls cold down. That way you will also be able to tell whether they are completely dry or not. 

Bonus tip: Using some cold water for your hair when you shower can help counteract some of the damage we do when blowdrying.

How do you use a cool shot on a hair dryer?

A cool shot is usually a button on the blowdryer (depending on the model and type of blowdryer) that will have the blowdryer blast some cold air. This is especially useful for the end of your hair-drying, to both cool down your hair after all the heat that has been applied, and to help set the hairstyle that you’ve achieved with the hot air. 

To use the cool shot, the steps are very easy:

  1. Press the cool shot button (in some blowdryers it might be a switch or similar, it depends on the model so check beforehand)
  2. Direct the airflow of cold air towards your hair, and use the blowdryer to go over your entire hair. 

When you do this, the cold air will seal the hair cuticles, so that the style (like curls, for example), stays in place for a longer time. It will also cool down your hair so that the heat doesn’t cause as much damage (and it also cools you down, as the hot air can be quite annoying if it’s hot out!) 

Is a cool hair dryer good for hair? 

The answer to this is yes. A cool hair dryer that blasts colder air, rather than hot air, is good for your hair. In fact, it’s a lot healthier, and it will prevent any damage due to heat. Plus, a cool hair dryer can also help set the shape of your hair into place by sealing the hair cuticles, so that your curls remain bouncy instead of frizzy, and so that whatever style you have applied lasts longer.