When is it okay to go out with wet hair? Find out what these CurlTalk users said!


Letting the hair air dry is one of the healthiest options for women with naturally curly and wavy hair. For many, the slightest amount of heat from a blow dryer or a curling iron can disrupt the curl pattern or cause frizz. However, letting the hair air dry might entail leaving the house with a head of wet hair, which is considered improper by some. So when is it okay to go out with wet hair? CurlTalk users provide the answers, as well as various opinions on the matter.

Where Are You Headed?

Many CurlTalk users agreed that it depends on where you’re going. The bottom line is that wet hair is viewed by many as unprofessional because several people equate wet hair with unfinished hair. Going into work with wet hair might give off the impression that you are not ready for work, or that you did not have time in the morning to dry your hair. Employers, therefore, might assume that you put little effort into getting ready for work. However, most agreed that it is perfectly acceptable to go out with wet hair if you are going to class (if you’re a student) or if you are simply running errands. Most likely, everyone around you will be too busy to notice or care.

Traveling out of the country? Don’t forget that hair etiquette differs culturally. Going out with wet hair is most likely unacceptable in very conservative countries. If you’re unsure of what to do, a good tip is to observe the native women or to simply ask the locals!

It Depends on your Profession

What is your job like? If you are debating whether or not to go into work with wet/damp hair, a good question to ask yourself is “What will I be doing today?” If your job involves interacting with clients or attending meetings, then it’s essential to look your best. As one CurlTalk member, kristie911, put it, "I wouldn't want to see my dentist or doctor or CPA come walking in with wet hair.”

If the bulk of your day is spent tucked away in a cubicle or in an office, you could probably get away with the wet hair look. It all depends on how much interaction you get as a professional. One CurlTalk user suggested that it also depends on the field of work you are in.

Logy wrote: “Even though I work in a corporation setting, my specialty is more on the creative end. People might give me a little more leeway: ‘Well, she's a designer—sometimes they're a little quirky.’ I might not be judged as much as someone in other professions.”

The Generation Gap

As apparent from the CurlTalk discussions, the difference in opinion might be related to age. Older and more traditional generations probably view it as highly unacceptable to walk out the door with wet hair. Keep in mind that, conventionally, women were supposed to be presentable at all times (even when going to the grocery store). Of course, the definition of presentable has changed over time, and to many women it meant having their hair done, nails polished, and pearls worn around the neck. CurlTalk member multicultcurly highlighted a very interesting point:

“I think most people in their 50s and above didn't wear their hair naturally. They always styled it with rollers and curling irons, which would demand dry hair for a finished look.”

So before going out with wet hair, first ask yourself: where am I going? What am I doing? And who am I going to see today?

Susonnah Gonzalez

Hi! I'm Susonnah Gonzalez. I write, work and live in Austin, TX. I began my wavy hair journey in college, which is when I really began to explore the needs of wavy hair and the products that work best with it. Every day is different with my hair but every day I learn something new!

Living in Austin, going tow ork with wet hair doesn't really matter - but when I lived in NYC - it was a HUGE no-no. I have blonde 2B hair which doesn't take long to air dry (an hour when it is short, two when it is long). When I dry it with a diffuser though - it frizzes. Maybe it is a product problem on my part - but I was always under the impression that my hair will be dry by lunch and look MUCH better - plus, I can pull second day hair off pretty well and then will pull it back for third day. I mean, if it is only for a couple hours - I never really understood the issue. Esp. if it is healthier for me, and will look better and more professional (cause frizz is def. a non-professional look). Meh - what can you do?

I haven't owned a blowdryer for ...decades, when I would try, I'd always end up with a knotted, dry mess! I wash my hair 2 or 3 times a week. I have 3a to 3b hair depending on hormones and weather. I'm in my early 40's, but haven't worked outside the home for a few years. I've had lots of artsy type jobs, but have run across some bosses that have a BIG problem with coming into work with wet hair. When working as an interior decorator/commissioned sales person a lady (business owner about my age) was enraged that I disrespected her by coming in with my wet head. Wow. DISRESPECT?? Did I forget to wear my pearls and heels too?? Maybe she just hadn't taken her medication that day. Oh well.

I have very tight kinky curly hair, and in my 30s. I often refresh my hair in the morning with water, gel and some kind of oil as a sealer. No one notices. I am one of very few people in my small town who has naturally curly Black hair, so no one is used to what it looks like anyway much less whether it is wet with water or gel. Whatever way I wear my hair, my friends assume I fixed it that way. That makes it much easier on me! In fact, I have never till this article given that aspect of my hair regimen the slightest thought. Thanks for the article.