hair tools

The 8 Very Best Hair Towels

The best hair towel is from Crown Affair.
Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

In this article

After writing about beauty (and hair care in particular) for several years, I’ve noticed that while investing in the right products and tools for your hair is a no-brainer for many people, one last crucial hair-care item 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. Hair towels, on the other hand, are designed specifically to be gentle on hair and also cut down on drying time. Growing up, my mom always reached for a hair towel to help my hair dry more quickly, and it was only years later (after an unfortunate stint using regular towels in college) that I realized how important they were for also keeping my hair healthy. So I turned to six hairstyling professionals to get their opinions on the best hair towels and have compiled a range of their recommendations below for every hair type (and also included my own thoughts on a few of my personal favorites, too).

What we’re looking for


According to hairstylist 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 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 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 hair towel overall

Photo: Crown Affair

Material: Waffle microfiber | Type of fastener: Strap

Crown Affair is a newer hair-care brand already well-loved for its line of hair-care products, but its tools and accessories, including its hair towel, are just as great. I first heard about it from Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens, who 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 original best overall) 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. And after testing, I second Kitchens’s assessment: While I initially liked the Aquis when I first purchased it, I found that the Crown Affair towel is much more absorbent and more comfortable to wear around the house.

Best (less-expensive) hair towel

Aquis Original Hair Turban

Material: Microfiber | Type of fastener: 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 recommends it to anyone fighting frizz or who hates waiting for their hair to dry. On her recommendation, I also started using the turban and, after using them after every shower for the past several months, found that my hair looked much healthier than it had before. While I prefer the Crown Affair towel, Aquis is almost half the price, making it a good budget-friendly option. Unlike traditional hair towels, Aquis’s 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 hairstylist 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 like Aquis’s to give curls definition right at the start of your routine.

Best hair towel for textured hair

Material: Microfiber | Type of fastener: No fastener

DevaCurl is obviously known for its line of products specifically designed for those with textured or curly hair types, so it comes as no surprise that its hair towel is equally thoughtful. I first heard about the DevaCurl Anti-Frizz Microfiber Towel from actress Sasheer Zamata. The towel is great at quickly drying curls without causing any frizz or split ends. While it is also made of microfiber like the two towels above, the material is thicker than the average hair towel, so it can more quickly dry curly hair.

Best hair towel for curly hair

Material: Satin-wrapped microfiber | Type of fastener: Button

For curly hair types, a towel wrap that uses a combination of satin and microfiber is best because the microfiber will gently wick away excess water without stripping hair of its natural oils while 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, says Morales.

Best hair towel for long hair

Material: Microfiber | Type of fastener: Strap

Those with very thick or long hair know that it can take ages for the hair to dry. In those cases, I suggest Volo Beauty’s microfiber hair towel that is designed to absorb ten times its weight in water, which will really reduce your drying time. 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 short hair


Material: Waffle-knit microfiber | Type of fastener: Button

When I saw that Act + Acre — maker of some of our favorite shampoos and hair masks — had recently released a hair towel, I knew I had to get my hands on it to test for myself. Of all the towels I’ve tried, Act+Acre’s is definitely on the plusher end of the spectrum, with a microfiber that’s far fluffier than both the Crown Affair and Aquis towels. While I personally prefer a less-fluffy texture, I found the supersoft, waffle-knit microfiber to be very efficient at absorbing water — it cut my usual drying time down by about half. Because of its absorbency, I think it would work well for those with thicker hair types who have more hair to dry. The towel is also $15 cheaper than the Volu above (our top pick for thick hair), but the size runs shorter, so I would recommend it for those with short to medium lengths.

Best hair towel for extensions

Material: Satin-wrapped microfiber | Type of fastener: Button

For those with hair extensions, I’d recommend this Muaves hair wrap because of its extra-long length and satin-wrapped microfiber material. It comes recommended by Weber, who says that it can be worn to bed to maintain hairstyles overnight while reducing damage, frizz, and bedhead.

Best hair towel for damaged hair

Material: 100 percent cotton | Type of fastener: No fastener

Because hair is most fragile when it’s wet, handling your damp, damaged hair too roughly is an especially bad idea. Since you want to be as gentle as possible, these BreezyTee T-shirt Towels are a great investment: They are made from the same 100 percent cotton as your favorite tee and are even softer than the microfiber towels found above, which reduces friction that can cause breakage and split ends. And for a DIY option, Morales says reaching for a soft cotton T-shirt would still be a better choice than a bath towel.

Some more hair-care essentials we’ve written about

Our experts

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

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The 8 Very Best Hair Towels