Does a Cold Air Blow Dryer Damage Hair? Unveiling the Truth!

While some may wonder, ‘Does a cold air blow dryer damage hair?’ the truth is that cold air when used properly, can help protect and preserve the health of your hair. (1)

As a hair stylist, I have seen that the wrong blow-drying techniques and improper use of heat can wreak havoc on all hair types and cause permanent hair damage. 

There are many safe hair-drying techniques to learn that use a combination of hot and cool air, allowing you to protect your hair follicles and have beautiful, healthy hair.

In this article, I’ll discuss the merits of drying hair with cold air and share hair-safe blow-drying tips. Do read on with me!

Key Takeaways:

  • A cold air blow dryer doesn’t damage hair like a hot air dryer.
  • Cold and hot air can provide a beautiful blowout for perfect hair gloss when used in tandem.
  • You can use various techniques to make blow drying safer and keep your hair healthy.

Does Cold Air From a Blow Dryer Cause Hair Damage?

Cold air from a blow dryer is relatively harmless to your hair. It can be a total lifesaver!

When you switch to the cool setting, the lower temperature helps seal the hair cuticles like the protective scales of our lovely tresses.

This sealing action helps to lock in moisture and prevent frizz from wreaking havoc on your hairstyle. It’s like giving your hair a little spa vacation, where the cuticles can chill out and relax.

So, if you’re thinking of channeling your inner Elsa and embracing the cold, give that cool button a big thumbs up. Your hair will thank you for it.

It’s especially beneficial when you’ve already done the hard work of blow drying your hair and want to set your style in place without overheating those hair strands.


Which is Better, Cold or Hot Air Drying?

I’ve established that cold air isn’t disastrous for your hair. But does that mean you should not use the hot air setting on your blow dryer? Not exactly. Let me explain!

The sizzling heat of blow dryers can be a bit of a double-edged sword.

While it can speed up the drying process (and let’s be honest, we all appreciate saving some precious minutes), excessive heat can lead to hair damage. (2)

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can dry out your strands of hair, making them more prone to breakage and frizz.

But fret not, dear friends! There are ways to keep your hair happy and healthy while blow-drying with hot air. (3)

Hot and cold air can be used in the drying process to maximize hair health.

So, my lovely friends, the verdict is that Cold air from a blow dryer is neither a villain in your hair’s story nor hot air.

They are trusty sidekicks working together to help you achieve that fabulous, frizz-free look you’ve dreamed of.

Go ahead, embrace the coolness and the warmth, and keep rocking those unique hairstyles confidently!

Check out this short video:

Safe Hair Drying Tips

A balanced hair-drying process helps keep your hair soft while encouraging gorgeous shine. It also helps improve hair texture, which would not be the case if you left it all to natural drying.

Here are some tips on safely using a hair dryer on your damp hair.

1. Keep A Safe Distance Between The Hair and The Dryer

Remember to maintain a safe distance between your hair and the blow dryer when on the hot air setting.

Zoe Draelos, a dermatologist at Duke University, suggests, “Hold the dryer at least a foot from your head to minimize hair damage.”

Your hair cuticles will fare better with this safe distance. (4)

2. Towel Dry Before Blow Drying

A soft microfiber towel will help eliminate excess water from your damp curls before you begin to use your dryer. Dry your wet hair gently with your towel to avoid hair breakage.

lady drying her hair using a microfiber towel

The key is to reduce hair contact time with heat for a healthier outcome.

3. Use A Heat Protectant Spray

Always use a heat protectant spray on your wet hair before your styling adventures.

This superhero spray forms a shield around your hair, minimizing the impact of heat and keeping those pesky split ends at bay.

4. Blow Dry A Section of Hair at a Time

Dividing your hair into 3-4 small, manageable sections increases the speed with which you can finish drying, thus reducing the time your hair is exposed to the heat settings.

5. Don’t Ignore the Cooling Button

For all the benefits of hot air, don’t ignore the usefulness of the cool button for a beautiful blowout.

Cold air can help you achieve a sleek finish by relaxing the hair after a hot blowout.

Watch this video below to see the cold air hair drying process in action:

Explore ‘how to use a hair dryer diffuser‘ for enhancing natural waves and curls, and understand safety precautions with ‘can you use a hair dryer after it gets wet.’ For those without the tool, our ‘How to dry curly hair without a diffuser‘ guide may be interesting.


1. Does cooler air damage natural hair?

Cooler air doesn’t damage natural hair if you use it correctly. It can help achieve a gorgeous shine to your hair when complemented with safe hot air use.

2. Can I use a cold hair dryer every day?

blow drying hair

If that’s your preference, drying your hair with cold air every day is no issue. That will help protect your hair from heat damage.


Does a cold air blow dryer damage hair? No, it doesn’t. If you want to avoid damaging hair, then an occasional blast of cold air could help.

Unlike hot air, cold air drying bears little risk for strands of hair. Using it in tandem with hot air drying could achieve a gorgeous shine.

Want to cold air dry your hair daily? No problem. You don’t even need a daily protection plan for that.

Please remember to strike the perfect balance between cold and hot air drying.

lady wondering,


1. Moody E. The Best Hair Dryers For Quick And Easy Styling, Based On Rigorous Testing [Internet]. Forbes. 2023. Available from:

2. Yu Y, Yang W, Wang B, Meyers MA. Structure and mechanical behavior of human hair. Materials Science and Engineering: C [Internet]. 2017;73:152–63. Available from:

3. Elias N. The Healthiest Way To Dry Your Hair [Internet]. Prevention. 2012. Available from:

4. 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.

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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