The real reason you shouldn’t go into the cold with damp hair has nothing to do with getting sick


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Photo: Stocksy/Marc Tran

I may be diligent with my 10-step skin-care routine, but when it comes to my hair, I’m supremely lazy. Read: You’ll never see me touch a blow dryer—I’m all about letting my hair dry in the wind on my commute into the office.

As the temperatures drop and a chill enters the air, however, this isn’t such a good idea. In fact, you know how your parents always told you never to go outside in the cold with wet hair because you’d get sick? Well, you might not actually get sick—but it turns out that damp strands plus cold temps could lead to serious hair damage.

“When it’s cold outside, it’s very important not to leave the house with wet hair as it has a greater risk of damage,” says Anwar Zahar, principal technician for Aveda’s research and development claims and testing division. There’s science behind it—basically, your strands are much more vulnerable when they’re wet. “Water molecules in the hair can expand—or even solidify if it’s below freezing—which causes the hair shaft to swell, making it prone to breakage,” Zahar explains.

To ensure your hair’s kept strong and healthy, it’s best to go the extra mile and make sure you don’t leave the house until it’s completely dry. “Blow drying is the quickest option to alleviate this risk, but it’s also important to keep your hair protected from heat damage, since there’s a whole season of blow drying and heat styling ahead,” explains Zahar, who recommends Aveda’s Speed of Light Blow Dry Accelerator ($32) to help the process out by cutting dry time in half (and protecting your hair from the heat). After all, when your hair freezes solid, it doesn’t feel like a good thing—and that’s because it’s most certainly not.

Perhaps you could finally splurge on that Dyson Supersonic hair dryer to help. On the other end of the spectrum, here’s why your hair might be really dry

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