This Post-Shower Mistake Could Be Damaging Your Hair
If your shower is like mine, it's filled to the brim with a collection of shampoo and conditioner bottles, tubs of restorative hair masks, co-washes, and my personal favorite: exfoliating scalp scrubs. Similar to slathering on a face mask, an at-home hair treatment is an easy way to re-emerge into the world feeling fresh and new again.
Here's the buzzkill: If you don't know how to treat your wet hair properly, you might as well be dumping your favorite deep-conditioner down the drain. The reason is because within 5-8 minutes of hair being wet, the structure of the hair cuticle changes on a molecular level. You know how your fingernails get soft and pliable after being soaked in water for a few minutes at the nail salon? That's because fingernails are made of keratin, just like hair. As the water causes the hair cuticles to swell and stretch, it becomes weaker and more prone to frizz and breakage than if it was dry.
The solution? Minimize the time you spend with wet hair by removing moisture quickly in a gentle way.
Contrary to what you’ve heard, a blow dryer doesn't cause the worst damage to wet hair—it's the standard cotton or terry cloth towel many of us use to absorb excess water, especially as a wrap on top of the head. The fabric of the towel has large fibers and loops that create friction and damage the protective cuticle layer. It also doesn't help that cotton or terry cloth towels are heavier, which pull on those vulnerable strands causing them to stretch and break. Even worse? The fabric isn't meant to effectively absorb water from hair, so it will stay wet longer and risk even further damage while it sits on your head.
It's this type of damage that Britta Cox, founder of microfiber towel brand Aquis, calls "water fatigue." Britta began her career in the active and outdoor industry, which was the inspiration for creating a hair towel with similar water-wicking fabric that's used in sportswear to move sweat away from your body and help you stay dry during activities.
The entire Aquis line was created with the collaborative help of the Japanese company who invented water-wicking fabric itself. The result was the brand's unique AQUITEX fabric that absorbs water on contact and is lightweight and gentle to protect hair from frizz and cuticle damage.
In the Aquis line, you can choose from three different options in a variety of colors. There's the original Lisse Luxe hair towel which can be wrapped as a turban or used for a quick pat dry. The original hair towel also comes in a large size for long hair. Or there's a Lisse Luxe hair turban option that can be secured with a button, rather than wrapping the towel around your head. For thicker hair, Aquis offers the hair towel and turban in a waffle texture option for extra-strength absorption.
I’ve been using the towel for a few weeks, and I can tell a huge difference. My hair is softer and less frizzy, plus it’s a timesaver in my beauty routine. I like to wrap it as a turban on top of my head and do my makeup while my hair dries. While that’s always been my post-shower routine—at least now my hair won’t be at risk of any damage. Seriously, where has Aquis been all my life?
Here Britta shares her technique for using Aquis + three other ways she maintains a healthy hair routine:
Britta’s Aquis Technique for Healthy Hair:
“The towel and the turban are both great options. When I travel with just a carry-on and am packing light or go to the gym, I usually choose the towel over the turban. I put the towel at the edge of my hairline at the nape of my neck while bending forward with my hair falling towards the floor, then I wrap the towel a couple times and stand up taking the two tail ends and tucking each behind my ears. This secures it very well.
Most days, I use both though! I shower with my hair in a topknot until I’m ready to wash it to avoid water fatigue. Once I cleanse and step out of the shower, I press the towel against my head at the crown and make my way down, gently blotting the length between my open hands to remove the excess water. Then I put on the hair turban, leave the bathroom and get on with my morning.”
Britta’s Healthy Hair Must-Haves:
“I rarely use styling products, focusing instead on a simple cleansing routine and maintaining my hair’s strength. It looks better and stays healthier when I keep it moisturized from the inside by doing periodic coconut oil treatments.
ELSI Restorative Oil is for your skin, and includes squalene which nicely smooths my hair. It’s clean and natural— and I discovered a great way to use any excess is on my ends!
And of course, I take vitamins and supplements to be sure that I’m getting all the nutrients my hair needs. I make sure I’m getting enough biotin, vitamin A, C, and D, all of which have been shown to support hair health.”
For more tips to prevent hair damage, check out Susan Yara's technique and must-have products: