Between wet and dry hair lies a short-lived culprit that can make or break your good hair day, also known as damp hair. Believe it or not, the way you treat your hair while it’s damp determines how it’ll look like till you wash it again. And if you want it to look good, this article is for you.
We’ll tell you all the information you need to know about damped hair and the secrets to keeping it healthy and fabulous. So, without further ado, let’s jump in!
When Is Your Hair Considered ‘Damp’?
Your hair is considered damp when it’s neither completely wet nor dry. In other words, if it isn’t dripping wet, but you can still feel the moisture among your hair strands, then it’s damp. Whether you use a towel to dry your hair or leave it to dry naturally, it’ll stay partially wet for a while.
Differences Between Damp Hair and Dry Hair
The main downside of waiting for your hair to dry is that, while it’s damp, it’ll be more fragile than usual. But how different is it from dry hair? Here are four differences.
1. More Porous
Porosity might be the most important difference between dry and damp hair, with the latter being much more porous. High porosity means that your hair will absorb all the products you apply to it efficiently.
So while your hair is damp, you can apply a leave-in conditioner, curl activator cream, moisturizing oil, or whatever product you love. Even if you haven’t had a shower, you should dampen your hair slightly before putting any product.
Many people think this works for damp and wet hair, but this isn’t the case. If your hair is still dripping, you should wait a while before applying any product.
2. More Elastic
Hair is naturally stretchy, but damp hair is much more elastic than dry hair. This typically means it’ll stretch more in your hands while brushing or combing, which isn’t ideal. Too much stretching can weaken your hair cuticles and lead to breakage. So you’ll need to pay extra attention and avoid stretching it too far while brushing it after a shower.
3. More Susceptible to Tangling
Leaving your hair damp for a long while makes it more susceptible to tangling, but why?
Well, wet or damp hair naturally has less volume, and the strands are closer together. This fact, plus the high elasticity, can cause stubborn tangles that require conditioning and careful combing.
4. More Prone to Fungal Infections
Damp hair increases the risk of fungal infections. This is because microbes and fungi love moist environments, and they’re present everywhere around us. They might get to your damp hair through the pillow, comb, towel, etc.
The most common side effect of fungal infections is dandruff, which can be irritating if it lasts a long time. They might also cause itching or irritation on your scalp.
It’s worth mentioning that if problems like dandruff persist in your hair, you should consult a doctor as it isn’t normal. They might prescribe you a medical shampoo and conditioner to fix the issue.
How to Take Care of Your Damp Hair
Now that you know how damp hair is more fragile than dry hair, you should know how to take care of it. Here are the steps you should follow to keep your hair healthy and soft.
Use a Wide-Toothed Comb
Using a hard brush on your hair while it’s damp will stretch the strands too far and damage the cuticles. That’s why you should use either a wide-toothed comb or a soft brush, and the former is better.
Wide-toothed combs work wonders to remove tangles, and they don’t cause hair breakage. Also, they help spread any product you apply through your entire scalp, maximizing the benefits.
The right way to comb your damp hair is to start with the ends. Once the ends are untangled, go to the top and comb around the scalp. If you start with the scalp right away, you’ll push tangles down, and they’ll mix with other tangles. So you’ll spend more time brushing your hair and have to tolerate more pain.
Don’t Sleep With Damp Hair
While sleeping, you move a lot, thus rubbing your hair against the pillow and causing high friction. As we’ve mentioned earlier, damp hair is fragile, so these movements will damage it more than usual.
For starters, this friction might irritate your hair strands and give you a frizzy look the next day. More so, it might cause breakages from how much it rubs against the fabric of your pillow. Both scenarios aren’t ideal for your hair, and you can easily avoid them by drying your hair before sleeping.
If your hair is too wet, dap it gently with a microfiber towel to squeeze all the excess moisture out. Never towel dry your hair vigorously because it causes frizz and breakage. Then, leave it to air dry. If you don’t have enough time to wait, use a hair dryer on a low or cold setting.
Use a Satin Pillowcase
Whether you blow dry your hair before sleeping or not, you should replace your pillowcase with a satin one. Satin pillowcases reduce hair friction, bringing breakages and frizzing to a minimum. Not only that, but they also don’t absorb moisture from your hair as much as cotton pillowcases do. Accordingly, they preserve your hair’s shine and healthy look.
Condition Your Hair
If you aren’t satisfied with how your hair looks once it’s completely dry, it might need a few drops of leave-in conditioner.
Hair conditioner reduces frizz, breakage, tangling, and overall damage, especially if applied while hair is damp. And the best part? It won’t take you more than a minute to apply.
After a quick hair wash, dry your hair properly with a microfiber towel. Then, apply conditioner to the ends of your hair, not the roots.
A good alternative to a leave-in conditioner is a hair mask specifically formulated for your hair texture. Hair masks give your hair a lustrous and healthy look, and they’re easy to use. They’re also best applied to hair while it’s damp.
Don’t Tie Your Hair
Tying damp hair is a big no after a shower because it can cause tears in your hair shaft and reduce airflow among your strands, which promotes microbial growth.
Ideally, you should put it in a loose braid, but beware that you’ll wake up with natural curls. If you want to keep your hair straight, wait for it to dry and put it in a loose bun or a ponytail.
Don’t Use Heat Styling Tools
Do you know when you’re curling or straightening your hair with an iron, and you hear sizzling sounds? This is a clear sign that you should’ve waited for your hair to dry before heating it.
Using heat tools on your damp hair will damage your cuticle and dry your hair shaft completely, which might frizz your hair and give it a dry look. Not to mention, it’ll lose its natural shine and look dull.
Ideally, you should ditch heat tools altogether. If you can’t, you should at least wait for your hair to dry before using them and apply a heat protector before styling. This way, you’ll reduce hair damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Dye Damp Hair?
Yes, you can dye your hair while damp. The high porosity will improve the dye penetration and give you the desired color. That said, if it’s completely soaked, it’ll absorb the dye unevenly, so you might have lighter strands than others.
Can You Bleach Damp Hair?
Yes, you can bleach your hair while it’s damp if you want to dye it a lighter shade. However, it’s fair to warn you that bleaching increases hair damage, so avoid it if you can.
Why Does Damp Hair Smell?
Damp hair might smell even if you wash it properly because of fungal and microbial infections. To eliminate the annoying damp hair smell naturally, you can use natural oils like lavender and coconut oil. But if the problem persists, you should consult a doctor.
Can I Use Hair Spray on My Damp Hair?
No, you should never use hair spray on damp or wet hair. Doing so will leave you with a coarse texture and flaky strands. So always wait for your hair to dry before spraying it.
Can I Use a Silk Wrap or Bonnet Instead of a Satin Pillowcase?
Yes, you can. If you’re too lazy to blow-dry your hair before sleeping, a silk bonnet will protect your hair from friction and reduce frizz. However, it isn’t as comfortable as a pillow, especially on hot days. So, if you like to sleep comfortably, stick to the pillowcase.
To Wrap Up
Taking care of your hair while it’s damp will give you endless good hair days and a boost of much-needed self-esteem. During this period, your hair is fragile and calls for a special routine that includes conditioners, wide-toothed combs, and satin pillowcases. But overall, it’s easy enough to do on a daily basis.