Everyone. We have some big hair news: Letting your hair air dry versus blasting it with a blow dryer could actually cause MORE damage to your locks. Say WHATTT?! I know. We know. This revelation in haircare probably goes against everything you’ve ever been instructed to believe in, but it’s worth understanding what this claim — from Elle’s most Googled beauty questions list, mind you — really means.


Approach this news with an open mind (and heart). According to a study published in the Annals of Dermatology (via Elle), the damage can be caused because the hair strand can actually swell due to constant, prolonged water exposure — like if you sleep with your hair in slightly wet, loose braids to achieve a beachy, tousled look. If you constantly let your hair sit in wetness instead of minimizing the time you allow it to be exposed to water by blow drying it, your hair could be weakened over time. The horror! Seriously though, the water could cause your hair to become weak from the *inside out,* which is NOT COOL.


Hair samples that were left to air dry had “significant damage to the cell membrane complex, the cement that holds cuticle layers together,” according to the study, while hair samples blow dried on a low heat setting (not using the high heat setting is key) did not show the same damage.


SO what does this mean? It means you should be conscious of having a sopping wet head of hair more times than not and consider ways you can speed up the drying process that work for you. It’s not always practical (or fun, unfortch) to blow dry your hair, but after knowing this news, you should consider adding at least a partial blow-dry to your routine when you can fit it in.

Does this news surprise you? Are you going to change the way you dry your hair?

(h/t Elle)