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Curly Nikki

How to Wash Your Natural Hair: Hot or Cold?

By January 27th, 202114 Comments
How to Wash Your Natural Hair: Hot or Cold?
Susonnah Gonzalez writes;

Water temperature is probably not the first thing you think about when it comes to hair care. If you’re anything like me, you probably hop in the shower and blast that hot water because it feels so good! But after doing some research on the effect of hot and cold water on the hair, you might want to think twice about which way you turn the dial. Here are some tips on how to wash your hair with both hot and cold water.


Hot Water

PRO: Rinses Away Dirt and Oil

Hot water and steam naturally open the pores, which is great for exfoliating and removing the oil from your skin. If you have a very oily scalp, washing with hot water can be beneficial. Warm water allows the dirt and hair product that has accumulated on your scalp to escape the pores and be rinsed away. It’s especially important to cleanse your hair of all hair products for your next styling. Overall, warm water might be more beneficial for washing your hair.

CON: May Result in Overly Porous Hair

Aforementioned, hot water opens up the pores and the cuticle of your hair shaft. That being said, rinsing your hair with hot water too often can leave the hair overly porous, causing it to be dry and brittle. Unfortunately, hot water seems to be a double-edged sword. Just as hot water helps to rinse away oil and dirt, it also strips your hair of its natural oils. The sebaceous glands in your skin produce natural oils called “sebum” that are essential for your hair’s health. Sebum gives the hair shine and strength, both of which are vital for beautiful hair.

CON: Causes Frizz

Heat causes frizzy hair, and hot water is no exception. No matter what your hair type, the hair needs moisture to stay frizz free. Because hot water can strip the hair of natural oils, moisture escapes the hair shaft and results in frizz. If your hair is especially prone to frizz, you might want to turn off the hot water.

Cold Water

PRO: Seals the Moisture in Your Hair

Just the opposite of hot water, cold water closes the pores and prevents dirt from entering and accumulating on the scalp. Not only does it close the pores, it also closes the hair cuticle, sealing in moisture from the conditioner that you applied to your hair. Whereas hot water can remove the moisture from your hair, cold water retains the moisture and the natural sebum that’s so beneficial. Don’t forget, more moisture means less frizz. Cold water retains your hair’s moisture, leaving your hair less prone to frizz.

PRO: Increases Shine

Sometimes stylists like to finish blow drying with a blast of cold air because it leaves the hair shiny. The same concept can be applied to a cold water rinse. Cold water is known to smooth the hair by closing the scales of your hair cuticle, which in turn prevents frizz and adds luster to your locks.

CON: Flattens Hair

Because cold water leaves the hair smooth, it can also flatten your hair if you have a naturally thin texture. If your hair lacks in volume, or if you live in a particularly arid environment, rinsing your hair with cold water might result in flat hair and curls with no bounce.

So What’s A Girl to Do?

Alright, so what’s the final verdict on how to wash your hair? Hot water is better for rinsing hair of dirt and grease, but it dries the strands. Cold water, on the other hand, adds shine, seals in moisture, and prevents frizz. The solution? CurlyNikki advises that you use both:

  1. Cleanse, condition, and detangle your hair with WARM water, not hot. You don’t want to burn your skin and your scalp.
  2. When you’re ready to rinse out the conditioner, turn the dial to COOL and run it over your hair for a final rinse.

If you’re the type of person who just can’t stand using cold water in the shower, but feel that cold water is best for your hair, try using a shower cap during your warm daily showers. When it’s time to wash your hair, sit on the tub and rinse your hair beneath the faucet of cold water. Your hair can still reap the benefits without you having to shiver in the shower.

Did you notice a difference? If you’ve tried rinsing with cold water, we’d love to hear about your results!


  • Squishy Tomato says:

    I used to rinse my hair with warm water, thinking it would help get my hair moisturized and less frizzy.

    Boy was I wrong.

    I did a cold water rinse under the tub’s faucet and most of the frizz is gone. My hair is shinier and much more defined. Never going back. Also, I found it’s much easier and faster to get the hair saturated with water under the faucet, as opposed to under the shower head.

  • Helga Pataki says:

    WOW! I have been washing my hair wrong. No wonder my hair hasn't grown in 6 years. And I used to be upset with my hair dresser when she would use cold water.

  • Anonymous says:

    this basically saved me from going bald! apparently rinsing in hot water makes your hair turn white faster too!?!

  • Anonymous says:

    I was wondering why my hair stays so frizzy and my scalp gets dirty fast! I have also realized my hair is not growing as fast. I will use this method 4eva! Thanks so much!

  • Candace4life says:

    I like using warm to hot water when washing my hair, and I've used the cool rinse and warm rinse. I basically don't see a difference in the hair when doing either rinses.

    FYI to any ladies near these locations for hair shows that are coming.I saw this on strawberricurls while browsing the site and figured you ladies might be interested.

    "Natural Hair Meet Up"
    May 28,2011 at 1pm
    Painted Bride Art Center
    230 Vine St. Old City, Philadephia
    Hosted by L of and LaNeshe of

    Southern Beauty Chick Presents "Natural Diva's Day Out"
    June 18,2011 on a Sat. at 2:00pm
    Golden Corral Banquet Room
    122 Robert Smalls Parkway
    Beaufort, SC 29906


    "Milwaukee Natural Hair Care Expo"
    Will talk about natural hair,holistic health and wearable arts
    For more info vist
    June 26, 2011 or


    "Fierce Fly Fablous The Ultimate Naturalista Experience"
    July 2,2011 10am-6pm
    New Orleans Marriott
    859 Convention Center Blvd
    New Orleans, LA 70130

    For more info or


    "Tennesse Natural Hair Care Expo"
    July 16,2011 11am to 7pm cpost $10.00
    Vendors needed/performers wanted
    Radisson Memphis Airport
    2411 Winchester Road
    Memphis, TN 38116

  • jess says:

    great post!

  • ST says:

    I like this method. Even before I started my natural journey in January, I would do this for my relaxed hair–shampoo and rinse under warm water, then condition and rinse under cool water. It really does help!

  • sosoulful0125 says:

    I read an article on this topic, I was skeptical at first because I love hot water. But just to prove the article wrong I decided to wash with warmer water and rinse with cool water….well to my surprise my hair did not feel as dry.

  • BreukelensFinest says:

    yup hot then cold is my secret formula! great post

  • AusetAbena says:

    Nikki is right on. I always use warm water to cleanse the hair, because I figure that warm water is better for removing dirt. I have learned that using too hot water results in an itchy scalp for me, perhaps overly drying. When it comes to conditioner, I always rinse with cool water for added shine and to seal the cuticle.

  • Editor says:

    LOVE cool/lukewarm water rinses! They really make such a huge difference in the softness and luster of your hair!

  • Sharri Sweeting says:

    Love this combo. I find that shine serums work best when used after a cold rinse.

  • Jamila Reddy says:

    This is a great post, Nikki! I find myself chillin' in the shower under that hot water stream…I absolutely love it. As close to spa treatment as I get! lol

  • Anonymous says:

    I just recently started this method about a month ago and after my first cold water rinse my hair was sooooo shiny and so curly. I was like O_O!!!! Now i see my hair really shining, curling, and GROWING like crazy!,this method works wonders on my hair type and I will continue forever.

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