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The 10 Very Best Hair Towels

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

While investing in the right products and tools for your hair is a no-brainer for many people, one last crucial hair care product is often overlooked: your towel. While using a regular towel to dry hair may seem fine, the standard cotton or terry cloth towel is actually too heavy and rough. This creates far too much friction on wet hair and will ultimately cause more breakage, fragility, and overall damage to the hair, explains hair stylist Virginie Pineda. Hair towels, on the other hand, are designed specifically to be gentle on hair and also cut down on drying time. So I turned to six hairstyling professionals to get their opinions on which hair towels are the best and have compiled a range of their recommendations below for every hair type.

Best overall | Best (less-expensive) | Best for fine hair | Best for textured hair | Best for curly hair | Best for fine, curly hair | Best for thick hair | Best for frizz | Best for extensions | Best for damaged hair

What we’re looking for

Material: According to hair stylist Patricia Morales, you want your hair towel to be made from microfiber, satin, or soft cotton. “Microfiber towels, by design, reduce the amount of friction your hair is subjected to when towel drying,” she explains, and are the best at wicking away moisture. While satin won’t dry as quickly, it can also be a good option for those with curly or wavy hair types who want to maintain their curl patterns. And soft cotton — like one would find in a T-shirt — is best for damaged hair types who need something extremely gentle.

Type of fastener: You’ll also want to pay attention to the type of fastener a hair towel uses to ensure it will stay in place as you wait for your hair to dry.

Best overall hair towel

Microfiber | Button 

Strategist contributor Rio Viera-Newton was the first to turn us on to the magic of the Aquis hair towel. “The turban truly — and I’m not being dramatic — changed my life,” she says, and suggests it to anyone “who struggles with frizz or hates waiting around for their hair to dry.” On her recommendation, I also started using the turban after the brand kindly gifted me a sample and, after using them after every shower for the past several months, found that my hair looked much healthier than it had before. Unlike traditional hair towels, Aquis’ microfiber uses an “Aquiflex fiber,” a water-wicking fabric made from a blend of polyester and nylon that promises to dry hair twice as fast as a standard bath towel. Both Jenna Perry, founder of Jenna Perry Hair Studio, and hair stylist Patricia Morales recommend the Aquis towel for fine or brittle hair types, because the material is quite lightweight and gentle. Beth Weber, hairstylist and founder of Refuge Hair, also suggests it to clients with curly, delicate hair types. “I find that getting great curl definition starts right out of the shower with choosing the correct towel,” she explains. Since curls are most fragile when wet, it is critical to use a gentle fabric and Aquis’ is designed to give curls definition, Weber adds.

Best (less-expensive) hair towel

Microfiber | No fastener 

For a more affordable option, hairstylist Monaé Everett loves these microfiber hair towels from Fromm, which she says “help hair dry faster and reduce frizz.” A ten-pack is almost ten dollars cheaper than our best overall pick, and they come in a variety of colors.

Best hair towel for fine hair

Kitsch Microfiber Hair Towel

Microfiber | Button 

Since fine hair is more fragile, hair stylist Marie Elizabeth of Salon deZEN recommends Kitsch hair towels, which have a soft, microfiber material that will reduce hair breakage. She also loves that the stretch elastic trim can accommodate all hair lengths. “Pro tip: If you have thick hair, snag two wraps and switch out after five minutes for an even quicker drying time.”

Best hair towel for textured hair

Microfiber | No fastener 

We first heard about the DevaCurl Anti-Frizz Microfiber Towel from actress Sasheer Zamata. Morales is also a fan and notes that it quickly dries curls while enhancing their shape without causing frizz. Everett adds that this towel is “larger and thicker” than the average hair towel, so it can more quickly dry curly hair.

Best hair towel for curly hair

Satin-wrapped microfiber | Button 

According to Morales, a towel wrap that uses a combination of satin and microfiber is best for curly hair types. While the microfiber gently wicks away excess water without stripping hair of its natural oils, the satin protects your hair from breakage and split ends. The satin also preserves your curl pattern, minimizes frizz, and can be used for overnight plop sets, she adds.

Best hair towel for fine, curly hair

Photo: Crown Affair

Waffle microfiber | Strap 

Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens has been using hair towels for about ten years and says, “They made an instant difference in the way my very fine, curly hair air-dried — softer, less frizz, more defined curls.” She’s tried a few different options, including Aquis, our top pick, but says when she tried the Crown Affair towel about two years ago, she “never looked back.” She especially likes the towel’s waffle texture, which she says both “looks and feels nicer” than the other hair towels she’s tried. And its “slightly larger, unique shape” is great for containing all your hair, no matter the length. Just slip the ends of your hair through the elastic band in the back and everything stays put, she promises. Kitchens keeps a stack of three on hand in her bathroom.

Best hair towel for thick hair

Microfiber | Strap 

For thick, frizz-prone hair, Weber suggests Volo Beauty’s Hero towel, which she describes, in one word, as “amazing.” This towel is made with “the softest, gentlest” microfiber fabric that is designed to absorb ten times its weight in water, which will halve your drying time and free you from post-shower frizz, she promises. Size-wise, the Volo towel is also one of the largest on this list, which makes it great for those with longer hair lengths, and features a strap at the back to keep it in place.

Best hair towel for frizz

100 percent cotton | Button 

“My hair usually looks awful air-dried,” says Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla — that is, until she was gifted this hair towel from Bathen, which she says has helped her naturally curly, frizz-prone hair dry much more smoothly. Bathen’s two-toned towels are made with 100 percent cotton using ecofriendly dyes, and are handmade in small batches by artisan cooperatives in India. In addition to the striking orange-and-coral colorway shown above, they are also available in blue and green, as well as pink and yellow.

Best hair towel for extensions

Satin-wrapped microfiber | Button 

Weber prefers this hair wrap for anyone with hair extensions because of its extra-long length and satin-wrapped microfiber material that can be worn to bed to maintain hairstyles overnight while reducing damage, frizz, and bedhead.

Best hair towel for damaged hair

100 percent cotton | No fastener 

Since hair is most fragile when it’s wet, handling your damp, damaged hair too roughly “is a recipe for disaster,” Morales explains. “The key to drying damaged hair is to be as gentle as possible,” which is why she loves the BreezyTee T-shirt Towels, which are made from the same 100-percent cotton as your favorite tee and are even softer than microfiber, which reduces friction that can cause breakage and split ends. And for a DIY option, Morales says reaching for a soft cotton tee shirt would be a better choice than a bath towel.

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Our experts

• Marie Elizabeth, hairstylist at Salon deZEN
Monaé Everett, hairstylist
Simone Kitchens, Strategist senior editor
Patricia Morales, hair stylist 
Rio Viera Newton, Strategist contributor
Ambar Pardilla, Strategist writer
Jenna Perry, founder of Jenna Perry Hair Studio
Virginie Pineda, hair stylist
• Beth Weber, hairstylist and founder of Refuge Hair

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The 10 Very Best Hair Towels