How a Humidifier Can Improve the Health of Your Hair
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After moving from the warm, humid climate of the Bahamas to the north of England, I noticed two things.
- The North of England is somewhat colder than the Bahamas (haha!)
- The central heating needed to counteract the cold was drying out my hair. Instead of it becoming silky soft after escaping from the tropical sun, it began breaking off all over the place.
If you live in a very dry climate – or one where indoor heating MAKES it dry – you'll know exactly what I mean.
The dryness doesn't just affect your hair, either – it takes its toll on your skin, too.
If your hair loss is aggravated by a dry and itchy scalp, then this can quickly become a big problem.
I stepped up my hair conditioning treatments but they didn't seem to help. In fact, I couldn't remember it ever looking this bad – frizzy, parched and hay-like, with awful tufts all along my hairline where the breakage was at its worst.
The solution to the problem turned out to be a humidifier!
But doesn't humidity make hair even MORE frizzy?
That's the ironic thing – in the Bahamas, humidity was the bane of my life and gave my hair the sort of 'volume' I didn't want.
But in the Bahamas (and many other tropical places) the humidity is TOO HIGH for your hair… and for your comfort.
The purpose of a humidifier is not to put too MUCH moisture into the air, it's to replace the moisture that's lacking.
Optimal humidity in a room is somewhere between 35 to 45%, but in a heated room it can drop right down to 10%. A humidifier simply brings the level back where it SHOULD be.
I've been using mine for 4 months now and the difference has been amazing. My hair is MUCH softer and the breakage appears to have stopped (although it may take a while to grow out those tufts!). I'm also seeing a lot less static.
Tips When Using a Humidifier for Hair Growth
I have mine in my bedroom and run it overnight, every night. It's inexpensive to run and it makes only a gentle, whirring noise that I actually find soothing (I miss the white noise of the big fans we used to have running all night in the Bahamas).
Using a Humidifier Brings Added Benefits!
I was only really concerned about my hair, but I discovered there are other advantages to using a humidifier.
- It can really help relieve congested sinuses (which can also eliminate snoring!).
- It can alleviate the sore/dry throat with which many of us in dry rooms tend to wake up.
- As mentioned earlier, it does wonders for your skin. No more of that itchy, dry, winter flakiness – and some people with eczema find that it really helps reduce their symptoms.
- Some humidifiers can warm up a room, some can cool it down (more on this below).
There are different types of humidifier and what suits one person may not suit another
Here are some facts to help you choose which type may be best for you.
- The 2 basic types are cold mist and warm mist and those descriptions are pretty self-explanatory. Cold mist humidifiers add moisture to the air WITHOUT heat, warm mist humidifiers heat the water to create the mist.
- Some humidifier models can do both.
- Cold mist humidifiers can cool down your room a little – some people choose to use a cold one in the summer and a warm mist model in the winter. Because the warm mist version actually boils the water to produce steam, it tends to warm up the room.
- Warm mist models can be a little noisier than cold mist because you can usually hear the water boiling. That being said, it's not necessarily annoying… some people even find it soothing.
- Warm mist models are not ideal for asthma sufferers or those with allergies. They can actually worsen symptoms.
- Warm mist models can get hot and are not safe to use around young children.
- All humidifiers – particularly warm mist models – need to be cleaned regularly and thoroughly, to prevent any mold/bacteria buildup.
- Many models (both cold and warm mist) use filters which need replacing. A few models are filter free.
My humidifier of choice is…
The Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier
Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier - Click to Order
These are the benefits that 'sold' me on this particular model…
- It's very quiet – in fact, at the lowest settings, you can barely hear it at all. So if you plan to use it in your bedroom, it won't ruin your sleep.
- It's a cold mist model – I have asthma and people with asthma/allergies find that warm mist humidifiers make them worse.
- It has a big tank (twice the size of the Crane model below), so you don't have to keep refilling it.
- It's easy to clean (dishwasher safe) and easy to refill.
- It's durable (I have a house full of kids so EVERYTHING needs to be durable).
If the Honeywell doesn't quite fit the bill for you, here are a few a popular models that might…
Crane Drop Shape Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Click to Order or Learn More
- Operates quietly (although more noisily than the Honeywell)
- Filter free, so you don't have the additional cost of replacing them (although filters are still recommended for hard water areas)
Honeywell Filter Free Warm Moisture Humidifier
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- As the name implies, no filter to replace.
- Warm mist if that's more to your liking (nice if your room could do with an extra heat source)
Luma Comfort Cool & Warm Mist Humidifier
Click to Order/Learn More
- Operates both as a cold mist/warm mist humidifier - use one in summer, one in winter
- Quiet to use – it won't keep you awake
- Has a built in hygrometer to check humidity levels, meaning your room won't get TOO humid
A Few Extra Tips When Using a Humidifier for Hair Growth
- Think about using a silk or satin pillowcase too. One of my favorite beauty 'secrets', a satin/silk pillow case is very kind to the hair. It reduces friction and pulling, eliminating breakage and leaving the hair soft and static free. (It's also believed to help prevent wrinkles!).
- Use distilled or filtered water in the humidifier, rather than tap water. The minerals in tap water build up inside the humidifier and can end up being dispersed into the air as an annoying - and potentially unhealthy - white dust.
- Buy a hygrometer (humidity monitor) to check the humidity levels in the air. Don't let the level go over 50%. If it does, you risk mold/bacterial growth, an uncomfortable room… and frizzy hair because there's too MUCH moisture floating around! (Note: some humidifiers have a hygrometer built-in).
- If you travel a lot, grab yourself a mini humidifier. The Vicks Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier is great.
Please do let me know if you've tried a humidifier to improve the health of your hair and which type YOU'D recommend.