Flash Drying

Posted by Adria Marshall on

Unraveling the Enigma: The Loch Ness Monster, Bermuda Triangle, and Flash Drying. While I may not possess extensive knowledge of the legendary mysteries, I have thoroughly investigated the fascinating world of flash drying and can't wait to reveal my findings! In September's blog post, we'll discuss what Flash Drying is, Why it happens and what you can do to prevent it from occurring. Let's roll!

What is Flash Drying?

Picture this: you've meticulously washed and prepared your hair for styling, and it's brimming with moisture. You reach for your trusty styler to lock it in, but as you apply it... behold, instant waterfalls cascade from your tresses! This phenomenon is problematic for several reasons. First of all, it makes a complete mess of your bathroom. Secondly, your hair is left stringy,  rigid, brittle, with wet frizz and without those juicy clumps that you were going for. And lastly, your hair feels instantly dry, completely void of all moisture.

But, what causes it, though?

The phenomenon of flash drying has left many puzzled and theories abound regarding its origins. Some attribute it to the presence of humectants like glycerin in certain hair products, while others point fingers at Aloe Vera. Additionally, there are those who believe that film-forming polymers and the influence of hard water may be the culprits behind this perplexing issue. Let's delve deeper into these potential explanations and shed light on flash drying. I found an interesting theory that made me dig up an earlier blog that I'd written on Humectants. It reminded me that glycerin and some other humectants (like glycols) can work one of two ways depending on the dew point. Basically, they readily absorb water molecules from any source. When the atmosphere contains more water molecules, glycerin absorbs them and transports them to the hair, increasing moisture. However, when used in considerable quantities in low humidity circumstances, or dry conditions when the hair’s moisture content surpasses that in the air, glycerin will flush the water out, causing the hair to become dry. I know, right?

Aloe Vera, Nourishing Yet Deceptive? Aloe Vera is renowned for its abundance of nourishing nutrients that benefit our hair. However, it appears that the simultaneous impact of carbohydrate and protein molecules present in Aloe Vera may have a dual effect. While these molecules offer nourishment, there is a possibility that they can also retain and draw moisture from the hair, leading to an unexpected and sudden loss of moisture.

And, finally, In the case of film-forming polymers like PVP, they impact the surface properties of hair, inhibiting water and other ingredients from penetrating further, hence causing dryness. A similar effect can be caused by hard water. Think build-up.


Ok, but how do we solve the problem?

I'm so glad you asked! Let's tackle each scenario one-by-one.


Glycerin: A Fickle Ingredient with Potential. For those who have experienced the unpredictable nature of glycerin, it's understandable to be cautious. Personally, I choose to avoid products with high amounts of glycerin in the ingredient list. However, don't be too hasty in discarding your Holy Grail product just because it contains glycerin. Its compatibility largely depends on the environmental conditions, such as normal or high dew points. In such cases, the presence of glycerin might work perfectly fine for you. On the other hand, if the dew points are low, a workaround could involve using a leave-in conditioner or another product without glycerin as a base layer to counteract any potential adverse effects. Both our Rice Pudding and Lemon Buttercream are good options.

Aloe Vera: A similar solution can be used if Aloe Vera gives you trouble. Try using a leave-in or another product underneath it sans Aloe to help. Again, consider our aloe-free Rice Pudding Leave-In and Moisturizer and Lemon Buttercream Styling Cream might work for you.

Film-forming polymers : Use a cleanser with an acidic pH (or chelating shampoo) to get rid of calcium and magnesium ions. to remove any residue that the polymer might leave behind.

Hard water: Consider purchasing a water softener or using distilled water to wash your hair (and body).

It's also suggested that maintaining a proper moisture-protein balance is important when preventing Flash Drying. Check out this blog post for more information on the topic.

And some helpful links that I referenced when writing this post:

  • https://quicksilverhair.com/what-ingredients-should-you-avoid-or-not-in-hair-products/
  • https://absolutelyeverythingcurly.com/flash-drying-what-is-it/
  • https://wevaluebeauty.com/flash-drying-your-hair-how-flash-drying-affects-your-hair/

I really hope that this blog helps to demystify Flash Drying a bit! What's your experience with Flash Drying? What culprits and solutions have you found?

Until next time!


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  • So, about flash drying… it seems to happen to me, only with certain products, and when a product flash dries, I will almost always reset with more water, and go in with a very moisturizing mousse or foam as a last product, and sotc always with oils and usually my hair and style will last at least 2-3 days until the next wash before it gets too dry. But allllll of my favorite stylers either have glycerin or aloe Vera as either a first (aloe Vera def) as a first ingredient or not far down the list. But I will try using a cream or leave in without to combat this. It’s hard to find any products that have neither that don’t cost a lot but I will def try your products you mentioned!! I still cannot believe you make everything by hand as ordered! You’re what the American dream is all about!!! Thanks for making such amazing products with such care and consistency!!

    Renee C on

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