Wet hair probably won’t give you a cold, but it just might lead to hair damage. Let’s look at the mechanics.
Generally speaking, hair is strong stuff – each strand can hold up to 100 grams of weight. But there is a definite exception to this rule: wet hair.
Wet hair is far weaker than dry hair, being more susceptible to breakage and damage from just about anything – heat and pulling on the hair strands are more likely to damage wet hair than dry.
Why wet hair is weaker
Hair is made up largely of a number of proteins called keratins. These are safely ensconced in cuticles, a protective covering a bit like flexible armor.
When hair is wet, proteins form weaker bonds (hydrogen bonds), than when the hair is dry (protein-protein bonds). This makes the hair easier to damage.
That’s because when damp hair is combed, it stretches. Unfortunately, when hair is stretched, it doesn’t snap back into shape like a rubber band can.
Instead, the stretching deforms the cuticle, causing cuticle edges to lift up and crack. Even after the fiber relaxes back, its cuticle armor can stay lifted, making your hair feel rough and damaged.
This means that wet hair needs extra care to keep it in good shape.
How to take care of wet hair
To make sure that your hair stays strong and supple, it’s important to keep some things in mind:
- Instead of rubbing hair dry with a towel, blot carefully instead, working from the roots down
- Do not use too much heat on your hair. While dry hair can withstand temperatures up to 350°F (180°C), wet hair needs a gentler touch
- Use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to gently detangle wet hair. To avoid knots, work in sections: first detangle the ends of your hair, then the middle to the ends, and finally roots-to-tips.
Along with these basic guidelines, avoid straightening hair at all when it is wet – modern straighteners get up to temperatures of nearly 400 Fahrenheit (over 200oC) and more.
This can actually boil water inside your hair, and cause permanent blisters to form inside your hair. Hair is very vulnerable to break off at these sites.
Use the right shampoo to keep your hair strong
Aside from the styling tips, there is something you can do to keep your hair strong and less prone to breakage.
Like choosing the right shampoo and caring for your scalp.
Your scalp is the foundation from which your hair grows and with a healthy scalp, you’ll grow stronger, healthy hair.
So, make sure to tackle irritation fast with a proven scalp care shampoo.
All our shampoos care for your scalp and tackle dandruff – a condition that’s been shown to damage the scalp and consequently the hair.
There’s also our strengthening variant – Full & Thick Shampoo - that strengthens hair from damage with every wash.
So, choose the right shampoo and the right styling routine and you can avoid problems with damage when your hair gets wet.
More hair care tips and advice