Why Is Blow-Drying Your Hair More Important in Asia Than in Western Culture?
Devoting the proper time and attention to your hair can be a challenge. Between finding the right shampoo to using styling products that work for your hair type and texture, it gets overwhelming.
Start with the basics—blow-drying. You may have heard that in some Asian cultures, you absolutely must blow-dry your hair, which isn’t the case in Western culture. But why is blow-drying your hair more important in Asia than in Western cultures? Is it just for looks? Or is there a deeper reason behind it?
What Makes Asian Hair Different?
It turns out that Asian hair really is different from hair types in Western areas. Many Asian people, from Japan, for example, have straight, course hair that resists certain styling attempts. If you have this hair type, you’ll know that curled hair doesn’t stay curled for long.
Asian hair is strong, and it has more natural bounce than Western hair. In Japanese, this is called ハリヤ(hariyakoshi), and it’s part of what makes Asian hair types unique. It also means that Asian hair care works differently than Western hair regimens.
Without proper care, these types of Asian hair can become frizzy and easily tangled, which doesn’t bode well for styling or hair care. Most Asian people wash their hair a lot more than most Westerners, too, and without the natural oils in your hair, it gets dry.
Is Blow-Drying a Beauty Standard?
While Asian hair has different qualities than Western hair, there’s also a different standard of beauty in some Asian cultures. In Western culture, not everyone blow-dries their hair. In fact, most people won’t notice if you don’t, and they don’t care.
In Asian cultures, blow-drying your hair is a big deal. Because of the dryness and hair type, not blow-drying your hair can mean more frizz and static, especially if you brush it after it dries. It tangles more easily, and it’s harder to keep the hair looking smooth and shiny.
Blow-drying your hair does play into some Asian beauty standards, but that’s not its only purpose. Blow-drying is intended to keep your hair feeling good, too. You just have to know how to do it right.
How to Blow-Dry Hair Correctly
It’s not hard to maintain good blow-drying habits for your hair. Let’s take it step by step:
Towel Dry First
Before you blow-dry, make sure you pat your hair dry. Pat between both your hands—don’t rub. If you rub your hair, you risk tangling it before you even touch the blow-dryer, and you want your hair in the best condition it can be through the drying process. If your scalp absorbs more moisture, you can rub it with the tips of your fingers, but don’t do it for the rest of your hair.
Before you dry the top of your hair, start with the hard to reach spots. That means picking up your hair and blow-drying underneath, where your hair falls around your neck.
Make sure you don’t leave the dryer in one place, though. You can damage your hair that way. Instead, move the dryer from side to side to dry more evenly and minimize burning to your hair.
Once your hair is mostly dry, you can start on the outer layers. Tug your hair (but not too hard) so it’s pulled straight and point the hair dryer toward the ends of your hair.
Dry from the Roots Down
Lastly, dry your hair starting at the roots, and move down the length of your hair. Just before you’re done drying, you should switch your dryer to cold air. That will give your hair a healthy shine and keep your cuticles open.
After you blow-dry your hair, make sure you comb or brush it, too, so it keeps the style after blow-drying.
It’s not only about making your hair look better—you want it to feel better and be less prone to breakage. If you don’t already use this method to blow-dry your hair, try it, and let us know how it works for you!
Sarah Wood - April 21, 2020
“Asaichi How to dry your hair to prevent static electricity. You can keep the set all day long!” LIFE.net. https://hamsonic.net/hairstyle/. Accessed 17 April 2020.
“Basics of how to wash and dry hair.” NHK. https://www.nhk.or.jp/lifestyle/article/detail/00024.html. Accessed 17 April 2020.
Haircoach@nutrafol.com. “Hair Texture: What’s Your Hair Type?” Nutrafol. https://nutrafol.com/blog/hair-texture-hair-types/. Accessed 17 April 2020.
Yeong, Vivian. “World-renowned hairstylist shares tips for caring and styling Asian hair, plus latest hair trends!” Daily Vanity. https://dailyvanity.sg/beauty-tips/asian-hair-tips. Accessed 17 April 2020.