February 8th 2021
Hair towels: the essential item you’re probably missing from your haircare regime
January 15th 2021 / 0 comment
Kylie Jenner just proclaimed her love for the humble hair towel but are they actually that much better for your hair than a traditional towel? With promises to speed up drying time and reduce damage, we investigate if you *really* need one
Friends fans will know Monica Gellar has 11 towel categories (including 'everyday use', 'guest' and 'fancy guest') and while we never got to find out what the other eight categories are, we sure hope one of them is ‘hair towels’.
Hair towel converts loved them for their ability to speed up drying time, minimise friction and damage and because they're ideal for incubating a hair mask as we roam about the house. Curly girls in particularly sing their praises for created bouncy, defined curls with less frizz than normal.
Now Kylie Jenner has joined the party launching a polyester Hair Drying Towel, £19, as part of her Kylie Skin range. “I am obsessed with a hair towel. Once I started using hair towels, I've never not used one when I get out of the shower," she says.
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But do we actually need a hair towel? What’s wrong with wrapping a normal bath towel around our mane?
1. Hair towels reduce breakage and friction
If you're using a bath towel, you'll notice that it's heavy, a bit unstable and probably pulls your hairline at the front, especially if you are tucking the end in at your hairline. When hair is wet, that's the time when it's most prone to breakage, so a lighter, softer hair towel that's shaped for the job will protect your hair from this kind of damage.
A hair towel also removes the temptation to rub the water off the ends of your hair, which can tangle and break it even more. “Depending on what material you go for, hair towels are often made of a softer material which in turn is softer on the hair cuticle and helps to reduce friction,” says Adam Reed, UK editorial ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel.
“The most important thing to remember is that any hair care routine is based on your specific hair type. Some people might find it beneficial to have a specific hair towel based on their hair concerns, for instance, to help reduce the amount of heat used if hair is prone to damage or to increase water absorption and reduce frizz. Ultimately, the less heat applied to hear, the healthier hair will be, so if you do have time in your routine to let hair part-dry in a hair towel, hair will need less heat applied and therefore less damage,” says Adam.
2. Hair towels speed up drying time
Using a wrap-around towel can soak up extra moisture and water so that when it comes to blow-drying hair, less heat is needed, minimising damage and time, explains Adam. A hair towel is are a great way to air dry curls too, giving more bounce because the weight of the water isn't pulling the curl down.
“If you are leaving curls to naturally dry in the towel, use a style primer such as L’Oréal Professionnel Bouncy & Tender, £11.70, that helps to give curls definition and reduce frizz," says Adam.
What material should your hair towel be made of?
Many hair towels are made of cotton, just like normal bath towels – The White Company’s Spa Hair Wrap Towel, £18, for example, while the Kylie Skin Hair Drying Towel, £19, is 100 per cent polyester, which doesn't offer a great deal of benefits for your hair given that polyester doesn't absorb water, so your hair is likely to stay quite drippy. But we do like the nifty way it wraps around your head and keeps wet hair off your face – perfect if you're a makeup before hair kind of person.
Microfibre is lauded as the best fabric for hair towels. “A microfibre hair towel is softer on the hair cuticle and helps to reduce friction,” says Adam. Californian hair towel brand Aquis is known for microfibre hair towels, which claim to cut drying time in half because they absorb water quickly. Founder Britta discovered the material on a trip to Japan where workout gear was made of the moisture-wicking fabric and decided to create towels of the same material.
Anyone who has a silk pillowcase will know the anti-frizz, no tangle benefits silk has on the hair and this translates to hair towels too. While silk turbans and pillowcases aren't absorbent there are silk towels made especially for hair drying, created by brand This Is Silk. “Silk hair towels are perfect for those with thick, curly or coarse hair. Using a silk hair towel helps to not only reduce friction but most importantly, silk doesn’t absorb any vital moisture or oils from the hair, keeping hair healthy-looking and nourished, as well as reducing frizz for defined curls and waves.”
The idea of tying your hair in an old T-shirt has transferred into hair towel land too, with jersey fabric a popular hair towel choice used by curl care brand Bouclème. Jersey absorbs excess water but not moisture, leaving hair hydrated and soft.
If you’re sold on the idea of a hair towel, here are the ones we rate
From the makers of the much-loved Like a Virgin nourishing hair mask, £14.75, this palm leaf print hair towel adds a splash of colour to your morning routine while the microfibre gets to work absorbing water and minimising frizz,
Turban by name but not by nature, Aquis' hair towels are great for longer hair which you can bundle up among the absorbent microfibre. Short-haired people might feel a little swamped by the swathes of material, but if you've got lock locks these come in countless pretty colours and are among the best we've tried for damage-free drying.
This cotton hair towel has all the softness you'd expect from The White Company, with the added bonus of a little button at the back which fixes this to your head perfectly. This feels like bringing the spa home to you at a time when we can't sit in a steam room.
If you're looking for a hair towel for popping on top of a hair mask, this is it. The polyester material doesn't absorb water so is ideal for tying on top of your hair while your mask gets to work.
Boucleme Curl Towel, £25
Curl experts Bouclème's ultra light jersey hair towel encourages curl formation absorbing excess water and allowing your curls to form into their best selves.
Unlike traditional silk hair turbans which are great for wearing at night to prevent friction but less useful when it comes to drying hair (wet silk, no thanks), this silk hair towel is made from 100 per cent mulberry silk but has been constructed in a jersey knit that will absorb water, unlike a silk pillowcase, for example.