Should You Use a T-Shirt or a Microfiber Towel for Hair?

microfiber towel for hair


Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, wash day can be a difficult task. What’s even more time consuming is waiting for your hair to air dry. However, this isn’t always the best solution, especially if you have places to be. In times like this, what do you reach for? A t-shirt and a microfiber towel for hair? 

Here we compare the effectiveness of drying your hair with a microfiber towel versus a cotton t-shirt. Which one comes out on top? Keep reading to find out.

Why You Should Treat Wet Hair with Care

Before we get into which hair drying method is best, let’s talk about why wet hair needs extra care.

First, wet hair is weak and more prone to damage than dry hair. How exactly? Hair strands are made up of proteins called keratin. When wet, the hair strand changes its structure and forms hydrogen bonds. 

As a result, the hair gets mushy and stretches. When the hair stretches, it causes the cuticle to open up — making it susceptible to damage. 

At the least, stretched hair will dry and result in frizz. However, other times, your hair will break. Why does wet hair break so easily? Mishandling and drying with a rough towel. 

This is why it’s crucial to be gentle with wet hair. Properly handling wet hair starts with using the right method to dry it.

Using Bath Towels on Wet Hair

You’ve probably heard hair gurus advise against using regular bath towels to dry your hair. Why? Typical terry cloth bath towels can actually damage your hair. 

Unlike natural cotton towels, terry cloth towels are woven using two warp beams — these two loops give terry cloth it’s rough texture. Its abrasive fibers are large and easily catch on to hair strands. 

When you run a regular towel on your wet hair, strands entangle with the fibers of the towel. Not to mention, it creates high levels of friction and results in damage to the hair cuticle.

As stated earlier, wet hair is super delicate and is prone to breakage. So if you use a regular towel to dry your hair, you’re more than likely gonna snap a few hair strands. 

While regular bath towels are absorbent, they soak up too much water — yes, that is possible. To explain, they strip too much moisture from your hair, leaving you with extra dry strands. 

Regular use of a terry cloth towel to dry hair will leave you with frizzy and rough hair. This spells a recipe for more tangles and even more damage. Not only will this make styling your hair difficult, but it stunts length retention. 

Using a Microfiber Towel for Hair

Microfiber towels for hair have tinier and smoother fibers, as opposed to bath towels. This is because these towels are made with a blend of tiny polyamide and polyester fibers. Additionally, microfiber towels are 100 times finer than human hair and hold 200,000 individual threads.

Despite their ultra-fine fibers, they are more absorbent than standard bath towels. Their extra absorbency is due in part to their denser fabric and larger surface area. Since microfiber towels absorb water with ease, this requires less tugging and pulling at your hair. 

The most significant selling point for microfiber towels is that they don’t damage hair. The smaller fibers don’t snag or tangle hair strands, resulting in less friction and less breakage. 

Beware of Faux Microfiber Fabric

While microfiber towels for hair can seem like a godsend, not all of them are what they claim to be. There are tons of faux microfiber towels floating around on the market. These are usually rough textured towels advertised as microfiber. 

Faux microfiber towels have larger fibers and are more abrasive than real ones. Just like regular bath towels, they pull and snag hair strands. 

Microfiber fabric should be soft and ultra-smooth, anything less is an imposter. Luckily, the Turbie Towel is made with a 100% authentic microfiber material.

Using a Cotton T-Shirt on Wet Hair

Hair experts warn against sleeping on cotton pillowcases, so using a cotton t-shirt to dry your hair is out of the question, right? Wrong! Although it seems a little contradictory to use a cotton t-shirt on wet hair is totally safe, here’s why:

The cotton used for bed sheets and pillowcases is way more coarse than cotton used for clothing. Similar to microfiber towels for hair, cotton t-shirts are soft and don’t catch on to hair or cause breakage. Also, the fibers in cotton t-shirts are woven closer together, so they absorb water without overdrying strands.

Considering the benefits of drying your hair with a cotton t-shirt, we’d say that this hair hack is worth trying! But before you go reaching in your dresser, we suggest that you choose a shirt that feels super smooth. To add, make sure it doesn’t contain embellishments that could rip hair strands.

How to Properly Dry Hair with a T-Shirt

Now that you're all caught up on the benefits of using cotton to dry your hair, we thought we’d give you a few pointers on how to properly dry your hair using a cotton t-shirt:

  • First, take a clean t-shirt and gently squeeze excess water out of hair. Try not to wring or vigorously rub your hair. 
  • Next, place your head in the opening of the t-shirt and press your hair to soak up water.
  • Twist and wrap the t-shirt around your head, tucking the opening at the front of your hairline.
  • For fine hair, keep hair wrapped for 10 to 15 minutes. For thick curly or coily hair, leave covered for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Undo your t-shirt wrap and reveal frizz-free and manageable hair! 


Microfiber Towel for Hair

Final Verdict on Microfiber Hair Towel Versus T-Shirt

In terms of performance, we’d say that drying your hair with a microfiber hair towel or a cotton t-shirt yields many benefits. Both protect your hair against damage, as opposed to regular bath towels. Both hair drying techniques help maintain the fullness and health of your hair too.

Want to make the switch to a microfiber towel for hair? Shop our array of microfiber Turbie Twists and Turbie Towels!