5 Innovative & Healthy Alternatives to Blow-Drying Your Hair

If you’re looking for some easy alternatives to blow-drying hair, I hear you!

My hairdryer bit the dust last month, and I couldn’t afford to replace it for weeks.

I did a lot of experimenting with other ways to dry it fast.

Whether you’re in between hairdryers, too or want to give your locks a break from the heat, keep reading for my favorite alternatives to hairdryers!

5 Alternatives to Blow Drying Hair: Everything You Need To Know

If you want to avoid heat entirely, technically, there’s only one real alternative to blow-drying your hair: air-drying it instead.

That said, there are ways to make the process much smoother.

1. Air-Dry Your Hair the “Towel Turban” Way

However, unless you have very short-cropped locks, you can’t just jump out of the shower and let the air do its thing. There’s a RIGHT way to do it.

Before stepping out of the shower, prime your hair. Use a comb (I suggest a wide-tooth comb) to gently detangle your locks.

I actually do this while I’m conditioning because I have thick hair, but you can do it after if you want. Once you’re out of the shower, take a soft t-shirt or microfiber towel to dry your hair [1]. 

lady drying her hair using a microfiber towel

Either will do, but I prefer a microfiber towel because it absorbs more water than a T-shirt. As I said, I have thick hair, so I’m all about anything that will save me time.

Now, gently squeeze and pat your hair. Don’t twist or wring it out. In other words, give it a “love squeeze,” not a “wring the life out of the driver who cut you off in traffic” squeeze.

Then, follow the “Towel Turban” [2] technique. It dries my hair (even my roots) faster. Also, the technique gives body and shape to my hair when it’s dry. Check it out:

2. Use Satin Pillowcases

Heading to bed with wet hair/damp hair isn’t what anyone would ever suggest. It can lead to hair breakage and tangled hair, to name a few disastrous outcomes.

While that’s true, in my opinion, it has a lot to do with the material of the pillowcase, blow drying vs air drying, and how you keep your hair overnight.

Using a satin pillowcase is among the best alternatives to blow-drying hair. As Jessie Cheung, MD, told Healthline, satin’s smooth and slippery surface helps decrease tugging and pulling [3].

lady sleeping on a satin pillow

Let your hair air dry a bit before you hit the sack, though. Don’t go to bed right out of the shower.

If your hair is anything like mine, it’ll not only still be wet in the morning, but it’ll be all sorts of crazy.

You can even combine this method with the towel turban method or really any of the others on this list.

3. Use Paper Towels

I know, I just said to use microfiber towels or t-shirts, but this crazy-sounding method actually works well, too!

Taking a leaf out of one of the most popular professional hairstylists, Adir Abergel’s tip book recommends using paper towels for blotting excess moisture from your wet hair [4].

hand getting paper towels

Right after showering, apply an anti-frizz cream or a serum that offers plenty of volume, which in my opinion, is optional. Grab a few paper towels and braid your hair into it.

Whenever I’m in a hurry and wish to wear natural curly hair, I usually opt for this towel-dried hair technique as an alternative to blow-drying my hair.

This also avoids the dilemma of considering how long you can run a hair dryer, as using it for extended periods can lead to potential hair damage.

Balancing the time and intensity of using a hair dryer is key to maintaining healthy hair.

Check out the video below for how to do it:

4. Condition Your Hair

Yes, the secret is out! I know, right? If only you knew it earlier. Conditioner is one of the alternatives to blow-drying hair!

You already know that conditioners are a must for keeping your hair perfectly moisturized, but their capabilities go way beyond that.

woman holding an argan oil shampoo

Conditioner allows faster drying time! But how?

Without getting too scientific, your conditioner forms a protective coating around each strand, locking in moisture. Also, it contains silicone as one of its ingredients which repels water [5].

As I mentioned, I recommend you brush your hair using a wide-tooth comb while applying the conditioner (and not after).

Since I started that, my hair has looked and feels much healthier because it helps me coat every strand.

5. Sunlight

You prepped your hair, got out of the shower, and used a wide-tooth comb to brush your wet hair.

You dry your hair using a paper towel, a soft t-shirt, or a microfiber towel until it’s about 80% dry.

Good job! But even after all the tedious process, you’re still unhappy because your hair is still damp. And quite honestly, I wouldn’t be pleased either.

In such cases, all you need is good old-fashioned sunlight! Slather on some sunscreen (safety first and all), grab a good book and go lounge in the sun for 20 minutes or so.

lady sitting beside the window with direct sunlight

Not only is it a good heat-free way to dry your hair, but you’ll soak up your daily dose of Vitamin D.

A Few Tips To Help You With Heat-Free Hair Drying

Now that you know the basics of how to dry your hair without a blow dryer, let’s go over a few more tips for success.

1. Cut Your Hair

No, I don’t just mean chop it all off, although that would make airdrying it A LOT easier.

If you’re planning to go heat-free for life (and not just until you can afford a new hairdryer), talk to your stylist about cuts that are easy to maintain without hot styling tools.

lady getting a hair cut

My stylist actually recommended thinning out my hair a bit. Not only does it feel SO much lighter, but it dries noticeably faster.

2. Try a Microfiber Brush

Remember the microfiber towel? In case you weren’t aware, there’s also a microfiber brush!

And just like the towel, it effectively absorbs extra moisture allowing faster drying time as you brush. Isn’t that amazing? Watch the video below!

3. Say No To Over-Washing

Want to know the fastest way to dry your hair without a hair dryer? Please don’t get it wet in the first place! I’m kidding…or am I?

Unless you have greasy hair, you don’t need to wash it daily. For most of us, every other day is more than enough.

However, according to the American Academy of Dermatology,

People with tight curls or textured hair should wash their hair no more than once a week or every other week.” [6]


Do hair dryers cause hair loss?

Absolutely! Not only that, prolonged usage of blow dryers can cause permanent damage to your hair.
Excessive blow-drying can damage the hair cuticles. In such cases, you’ll experience extensive broken, lifeless hair and scalp damage.

How can I dry my hair quickly in winter using alternatives to a blow dryer?

women using a serum on her hair's end

In winter, what I’ve found to be the most effective is using quick-dry towel head wraps.
Not only do these make my hair more manageable and smoother, but they also cut down the drying process by 50%. And that has ever since been a game-changer for me.
I follow it up by applying a mild hair serum for a volume boost and air-dry my smooth hair until it’s about 80% dry. 

How do I prevent hair damage while drying hair?

You can adopt certain measures if you wish to keep the damage while drying your hair to a minimum.
First, use a conditioner to shield your hair from extra moisture. Also, never ever use a round brush on wet hair. Take a wide-tooth comb and use that instead.


The best part about each of these alternatives is that you won’t need a blow dryer for them.

Plus, no hair breakage, messed-up hair texture, weak hair, heat damage, or frizzy hair-all the right ingredients for max air drying experience.

If you still feel tempted to use a blow dryer, ensure you use it correctly.

Hold the blow-dryer at least 15 cm away from your scalp on a medium heat setting while using it. [7]

Still consider using the 5 alternatives to blow drying hair listed above as safe ways to dry your hair without a blow dryer.

woman flipping her air-dried hair


  • 1. Suarez A. Microfiber hair wraps are the only reason my hair is so long and healthy [Internet]. SFGATE. 2020 [cited 2021 Dec 14]. Available from: https://www.sfgate.com/shopping/article/why-you-should-use-a-microfiber-hair-towel-15212687.php
  • 2. Review | Microfiber Hair Turban [Internet]. www.youtube.com. Available from: https://youtu.be/zwjxq9h0v6s
  • 3. 0. 8 Reasons You’ll Want to Start Sleeping With a Satin Pillowcase Tonight [Internet]. Healthline. Healthline Media; 2021 [cited 2021 Oct 11]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/satin-pillowcases-benefits
  • 4. Paper Towel Beach Waves Is the Secret to Sienna Miller’s Effortless Look [Internet]. Mane Addicts. 2020 [cited 2021 Dec 14]. Available from: https://maneaddicts.com/paper-towel-beach-waves-is-the-secret-to-sienna-millers-effortless-look/
  • 5. How To Make Wet Hair Dry Faster Because Ain’t Nobody Got Time For A Long Blow-Out [Internet]. Bustle. [cited 2021 Dec 14]. Available from: https://www.bustle.com/articles/71323-how-to-make-wet-hair-dry-faster-because-aint-nobody-got-time-for-a-long-blow-out#:~:text=%20How%20To%20Make%20Wet%20Hair%20Dry%20Faster
  • 6. African American hair: Tips for everyday care [Internet]. www.aad.org. [cited 2021 Dec 14]. Available from: https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/hair-care/african-american-hair
  • 7. Lee Y, Kim Y-D, Hyun H-J, Pi L, Jin X, Lee W-S. Hair Shaft Damage from Heat and Drying Time of Hair Dryer. Annals of Dermatology. 2011;23:455.

What are your favorite alternatives to blow drying hair? Share with us below!

About Sylvia K

Sylvia is one of the most joyful people you’ll ever meet. She is a high advocate of self-love and encourages women to take care of themselves both mentally and physically. She loves girly talks especially salon talks (a little gossip doesn’t hurt) and spends most of her free time on skincare or hair care. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. Find her on LINKEDIN. Learn more about her HERE.

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