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Why Are We Drying Natural Hair With T-shirts?

A few months after my third big chop (I’m scissor happy), my cousin advised me to use a T-shirt to dry my hair in order to minimize frizz.

I was a bit skeptical at first, but I decided to try it anyway.

Let me just say… I was pleasantly surprised!

Who knew that drying natural hair with a T-shirt would be such a game-changer in our hair routine!

Drying Hair With T-shirt Vs Towel

After years of using a towel to dry your hair, accepting change can be tough.

But it is very necessary.

The thing is, drying freshly-washed hair with a soft, cotton T-shirt is actually better than using the traditional cotton towel.

Drying natural hair with a T-shirt has various benefits.

They include:


Retain Moisture

When using a T-shirt, you don’t have to worry about drying out your hair during the drying process. 

This method enables you to dry your hair without losing too much moisture.

A T-shirt is made with softer drying material that doesn’t strip the hair of its natural oils and moisture.

Towels are not ideal for drying your hair.

They have tough grooves that damage the follicles of your hair.

Towels also absorb all the water from your hair leaving it too dry.

Is this bad you may ask?

Yes, it is.

Dry hair is too brittle and can easily break.

This leads us to the next point.


Minimize Breakage

You want to leave a little moisture on your hair after drying off the excess water.

This is why using a t-shirt is a better option.

The best material to use is a cotton t-shirt.

T-shirts are soft and do not have rough surfaces, unlike towels.

These towels are harsh on our hair.

They cause friction which is capable of making your hair break.

Drying your hair with a T-shirt will not add the unwanted friction and stress to hair that rubbing with a fluffy cotton towel will.

When some people dry their hair with cotton towels, their hair breaks more.

Because a T-shirt has a smoother texture, you don’t lose a lot of hair during the drying process.

Ever dried your hair with a towel and then see your hair strands stuck on the towel?

Yeah… that’s what I’m talking about.

If you are not patient enough to do air drying or you just don’t have time, using a T-shirt to dry your hair would be a good option for you.

T-shirts are highly recommended for people with high porosity hair because this type of hair is usually dry and tangles easily.

It, therefore, needs a gentle material that can also help in retaining moisture.


Minimizes Frizz

Using a cotton towel causes too much frizz, as opposed to the T-shirt drying method which allows you to dry your hair with minimum frizz.

Towels leave your hair frizzy.

It is hard to tame frizzy hair.

Using a T-shirt to dry our tresses is a form of low manipulation that encourages curl pattern definition.


Reduces Knots And Tangles

Apart from minimizing frizz, using a T-shirt also helps to reduce tangling and knotting that is experienced when using a cotton towel.

T-shirts are ideal for drying wet hair because they don’t contribute much to the formation of knots and tangles.

drying natural hair with t shirt

A towel will leave knots and tangles all over your hair.

You have to start detangling your hair immediately after the cleansing process even if you had already done it before shampooing or during the conditioning process.

Detangling natural hair is a time-consuming activity and I’m sure we all want to save time as much as we can.


No Lint

Towels leave a lot of lint in your hair.

You have to spend more time after drying removing every single piece.

This happens because you have to rub your hair using a towel to dry it, which is what dislodges the small lint particles.

Removing them is especially tiresome in wet hair because they get damp too.

A T-shirt does not dislodge any loose lint.

You simply finish drying your hair and be on your way to do something else.


Gentle On The Scalp

If you have a sensitive scalp, towels – with their rough grooves – can cause damage to your scalp.

As you are busy rubbing your hair to dry it, the tough grooves scratch your sensitive scalp skin and irritate it leading to scabs that itch.

The T-shirts are gentler.

Even when you rub your hair vigorously with them, they will not irritate.


How To Dry Your Hair Using A T-shirt

You may be tempted to just pick a t-shirt and rub your hair with it until it dries.

This is not the recommended way to do it. 

The best way to dry your hair using it is as follows:

  1. Thoroughly shampoo and condition your hair.
  2. Take a clean cotton t-shirt and wring out all the excess water. Make sure no water is left that will drip off from the sides.
  3. Squeeze the hair while inside the t-shirt, applying some little pressure. Remove the t-shirt and pat the hair dry.
  4. With your forehead facing down, place your hair inside the t-shirt (or a different t-shirt) from the neck opening.
  5. After that, gather the hair together with the t-shirt and twist it until it’s nice and tight. Make sure you tuck the t-shirt in well as it can easily unwrap.
  6. Leave your hair wrapped on the t-shirt for 15 minutes before unwrapping your now dry hair. It will be soft and ready to be moisturized and styled as desired.


Can You Dry Hair With A T-shirt Overnight?

You can choose to leave the wrapped hair like that overnight.

The only downside would be the fact that the t-shirt would be quite wet as it continues soaking up more water from your hair.

This would then transfer to your pillow and get uncomfortable pretty fast.

However, if you still wish to stay with the t-shirt overnight, tack it in well to avoid the chance of it slipping off as you sleep.

The only precaution is to ensure the t-shirt is not too tight on your head.

You need to be comfortable as you sleep.


My Experience Drying Hair With T-shirts

The first time I dried my type 4c hair using a cotton T-shirt, my hair didn’t look as dry as it usually did when I used a towel.

My advice would be: don’t use one of those T-shirts that you love.

If you can get a knit, cotton or spandex shirt, that would be ideal.

I personally use some old plain black T-shirt.

Avoid going for T-shirts with prints, sequins or textures since there is a high likelihood that the sequins, for instance, could end up transferring to your hair strands.



The thing about using T-shirts is that they don’t absorb as well as cotton towels.

They actually end up getting soaked pretty fast.

If you have longer hair, a single T-shirt won’t be enough.

I suggest you use two T-shirts!

I’d also suggest you try using a shower turban or an Evolve frizz-free hair drying tee.



If you are not convinced about using a T-shirt to dry your hair after a wash day routine, then please make sure that you are using a towel that is 100% cotton.

Try to choose one that doesn’t have raised fluffy strands that could potentially get stuck in your hair and cause more frizz.

Some people say the T-shirt drying technique just doesn’t get their hair dry enough.

In this case, you can use a regular towel to pat your hair dry and then let it air dry.

Other people say that their hair tangles too much whether they are using a traditional towel or a T-shirt.

I guess the solution to this would be to gather some patience and let the water drip as you air dry.

I’ve also seen some YouTubers shaking their hair after washing (to avoid the dripping) and then let it air dry.

Some of that shaking seemed quite vigorous.. lol.



The votes are in and the t-shirts win!

They are the most ideal garment to dry your natural hair.

They help retain moisture in your hair which is important.

Very dry hair breaks easily.

T-shirts are easily cleaned and dry faster than towels.

They are also less abrasive as opposed to towels that can damage hair.

Try it out and note your experience down as well.

You will never understand the benefits if you do not have the first-hand experience.


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