Why does the hairdryer have a cold setting?

Does it cool off the scalp if you burn your scalp? Does it keep your hairdryer from catching fire?

Those are some valid guesses. What it really does is lock the shape of your hair in place. The hairdryer is a tool. Not only does it dry your hair, but it actually manipulates the shape of your hair using heat. The cold setting locks it in place by sealing the cuticle or outer layer of the hair strand.

A good analogy for what the blow dryer does is forging swords out of steel. First the steel must be heated up so that the blacksmith will be able to manipulate its shape. Whether forging a claymore, a broadsword, or even an axe; this is a crucial step. After creating the shape the sword must be dipped in water to ensure that the shape is retained. Dipping the sword in water cools down the steel. If this step were skipped the heated steel would remain pliable and could lose its shape!

If you don’t use the cold setting, your hair will still have enough residual heat that it may lose the shape you created while using your hairdryer. If you want your hair to brush back, stand tall in the front, or even get that pesky cowlick to lay down, start by getting the hair dry. It’s ok if your hair is a bit poofy. I’ll explain how to fix that later.

Although it’s not necessary you can use a flat attachment on your hairdryer, known as a concentrator. This attachment will help provide a more direct air flow while you are drying your hair. Next invest in a vent brush. This type of brush has a rectangular, flat shape, and is ideal for various hairstyles. If your goal is a pompadour follow the brush with your hairdryer in a backwards motion. You will want to use high heat and the highest power setting on your dryer. I like to call this “melting” the hair, remember the blacksmith? This is when your hair is vulnerable to the heat and starts to listen to the commands being given. Once your hair starts cooperating, this is when you would switch to high heat and low power. I find this really adds shine to the hair.

Let’s say you want more volume you know, the bump in the front? The ideal tool for this would be a round brush. Since this brush is round you can wrap the hair around it to create extra volume.

I sometimes use my hands, but that’s only if I’m running late! After drying your hair into the desired shape apply a pea-sized amount of hair product. You can always apply more product if necessary. Start applying product in the back, then the sides, and lastly in the front. Let’s be honest, most of us get all of the product in the bangs first.

You might be wondering if blow drying your hair regularly will damage your hair. The simple answer, for short hair, is no! Short hair has only been “alive” for a very limited amount of time. Whereas, long hair has been “alive” for a much longer timeframe. Women with long hair are typically worried about damage caused to their hair through flat ironing, curling, perms, or color. When your hair is short, and is trimmed at least once a month, most of your hair will be healthy. This is because most of it is new growth.

As a professional it’s my goal to educate my clients in achieving the same style that I am able to give them in the shop. You should feel comfortable asking your barber or stylist questions. Any professional hairdresser or barber should be able to help with your concerns. They are experts, no different than a mechanic or a blacksmith.

-Nicholas Leonard (Instagram: @thynikkle59)

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