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Is Hot Water Bad For The Hair?

Everywhere you go, the stylist asks you to wash your hair with cold water? Why should you? Why not hot water? There’s a reason why.

Hello! My name is Zell. In this article, we’re going to talk about hot water and if washing your hair with hot water damages the hair. At what temperature do you wash your hair with? In the past, I was deeply fond of hot water. Just imagine, after a really long day, you turn on the heater and the hot water from the rainfall shower rained on your head and slowly to your body. It is so relaxing, who wouldn’t love it?

However, as relaxing as it can be, over time it is actually damaging to our scalp and hair. Let us first discuss the role of water. Together with hair shampoo, water helps the shampoo lather and spread across the scalp. Next, it melts and dissolves the oil. And lastly, we will use water to rinse away everything - the shampoo, dirt, dust, and flakes on our hair and scalp. It seems pretty straightforward.

If you were to repeat that process with only cold water, you might not get the best result from the cleaning because hot water is more effective at melting and dissolving oil particles.

So… hot water is actually good huh? Depending on how you view this, it’s both good and bad. If we view it as one session of hair washing, hot water and steam open up the pores and that allows the shampoo to get in to wash it thoroughly, getting rid of excessive dirt from the scalp. Hot water actually helps to exfoliate and unclog the hair follicles. It helps to wash the hair to a really clean extent, and that means it got rid of our natural lipids too. Getting rid of our natural lipids is not a good idea. We have talked about the natural lipids at our previous hair article, let me extract it below -

Lipids are essential components of skin and play an important role in maintaining the strength of the skin’s protective barrier. They also aid the skin’s natural repair process. When sulfates strip the natural lipids off the scalp, the chemicals from products will be able to penetrate the outer layer of the skin, causing irritation and inflammation.

The temperature of the hot water will also cause inflammation on the scalp. And when the scalp is damaged, over time, it might lead to hair loss. Pretty scary!

In addition, hot water makes your hair strands porous, creating tiny holes or openings and allowing moisture to slip away from the hair. And you know what that means? When the hair loses moisture, yes, it becomes dry. And this is the reason why I said it’s both good and bad. In terms of cleaning and keeping the hair clean, hot water is ideal. However, if you repeat this process long-term, the hair will be really dry and the scalp is damaged with the lack of natural lipids. And that is bad.

What you really need is warm water (not hot water), adjust the temperature down when you shower, and also, you need cold water too.

But why cold water? Didn’t you say above that we will not get the best result? Yes, I did mention that but we don’t use the cold water for cleansing. We use it at the end, after all the shampooing and conditioning, use the cold water to rinse the hair.

When we open the pores/cuticles to clean, we have to close it. And that’s the main function of cold water. If you leave the cuticles open, you will only get one thing, frizz. 2 other benefits of a cold rinse are, it improves blood circulation and helps to keep the hair shiny and strong. And that is why you only use cold water at the end.

In conclusion, with all the information listed above, given a choice between cold, hot and warm water, you should wash it with warm water and always, always, always, end with a cold rinse. It’s so important that I had to say it 3 times. Haha. Just remember this, hot water cleans, cold water seals and soothes.

If you need any help on your hair issue, you know where to find us. Just head to our fb page and send us a message. Or if you have booked an appointment with us on our website, you should have my number. Send me a message. Ask me anything, hair loss, hair care routine, hair maintenance. I’m always here to help you! :)


Steve V Hair Studio

Bugis Cube (opposite Bugis Junction)

#04-04 S'pore 188735

Tel no: 6336 1476


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