The Role of Water in Haircare - Why Is Staying Hydrated Important?

Discover the significant role of water in haircare. Understand why staying hydrated is vital for healthy, lustrous hair, and learn practical tips to boost hair health through hydration.
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Written By: Karla Tafra

The role of water in the human body is extremely versatile. It’s the most abundant material we’re made of, enabling thousands of processes, from regulating our body temperature and promoting healthy digestion to flushing out toxins and allowing our skin to stretch. Every part of our bodies, from head to toe, depends on water. Here are some of the most important benefits of drinking water for hair health.

The Meaning of Proper Hydration

Proper hydration is defined by adequate levels for your individual needs that allow for the optimal function of all your cells, tissues, and muscles. It greatly differs from person to person, as there are many factors at play that can contribute to your personal needs. From your age and gender to your activity level and sweat rate, there’s plenty that can affect whether you fall under the “eight cups a day” rule or if you need more.

As a matter of fact, the coveted “golden rule” has been disproven, and the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend about 15.5 cups of fluid a day for men and 11.5 cups of fluid a day for women.

When you’re properly hydrated, your energy levels are solid, your digestion runs smoothly, you’re able to focus on the task at hand, and your urine color should be a pale yellow, almost transparent. It’s easier to notice when you’re dehydrated than when you’re properly hydrated, as the moment you start feeling thirsty, it’s already too late.

How to Keep Your Hair Healthy

Your hair, just like any other part of your body, requires proper hydration levels in order to stay healthy and strong. As a matter of fact, every single strand of your hair is made up of almost 25% water, which is why dehydration can be so detrimental to your hair's strength, even inhibiting its growth. Your hydration levels can directly impact your scalp, causing everything from dandruff and skin dryness to fungi overgrowth such as seborrheic dermatitis.

In order to keep your hair healthy, there are a few important tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid frequent hair washing, as it can dry out your hair and strip it of its natural oils

  • Ensure the water you’re using isn’t too hot, as it can dry out your scalp

  • Avoid using harsh chemicals and heavy shampoos

  • Ensure you’re staying properly hydrated and eating a versatile diet, rich in vitamins and minerals

  • Eat or supplement with omega-3 fatty acids to keep your hair shiny and strong

  • Don’t overuse hair dryers and other hot tools, as they can damage your hair

  • Wear a hat in the summer and extremely hot conditions, as it can protect your scalp

  • Avoid bleaching your hair or at least ensure you’re using the right products afterward so you prevent any further damage or breakage

  • Always make sure you’re eating plenty of protein, even when on a weight loss journey, to protect your dose of keratin, the most important protein for hair strength

  • Invest in a good water filter to minimize exposure to water pollutants and toxins

  • Invest in a silky pillowcase to prevent hair dryness

What Damages Your Hair

Unfortunately, you can drink all the water in the world and eat the most nutritious foods, but if you’re not taking care of your hair by protecting it from sun exposure and harsh chemicals, there’s only so much that can help maintain its health from the inside. Here are some of the most common damaging habits, tools, and agents, that can inflict serious damage to your hair:

  • Frequent and long-term exposure to the sun and dry climate without wearing protection

  • Harsh shampoos and chemicals tend to dry out your hair strands and cause damage

  • Use of heavy styling products that offer long-lasting hold and contain silica

  • Coloring and bleaching your hair

  • Roughly drying your hair with a towel can cause breakage and damage while your hair is still wet and fragile

  • Using cotton pillowcases as they tend to absorb the natural essential oils from your hair and cause dehydration

  • Environmental toxins, especially pollutants in the air and water

  • Overuse of hot tools such as hair dryers, straighteners, and curlers

  • Overuse of hair ties and very tight hairstyles can weaken your hair in the area where they're too tight

  • Excessive and harsh brushing, especially while the hair is wet (while it’s the most fragile)

  • Micronutrient and electrolyte deficiencies can weaken your hair and leave it prone to breakage

  • Dehydration dries out the hair and weakens the strands from the roots

Hydration and Hair Health

The link between proper hydration and hair health is an important one, and here are some of the most crucial roles that water plays in hair care.

Water Stimulates Hair Growth

Proper hydration ensures that the scalp stays moisturized and stimulates the growth of new strands. Both, from within and from the outside, it’s important to keep the area clean and moisturized, avoiding dryness, the development of dandruff, and other skin irritations that are caused by a lack of water.

Water Strengthens Your Hair

Proper hydration helps prevent split ends and a brittle hair texture, reducing the risk of damage and breakage. Water strengthens the hair from the root to the tip, as it’s the key ingredient that supports vitamin absorption, which greatly contributes to your hair's growth. It’s also crucial for regulating the circulatory system, making it more efficient in providing important nutrients to all of your follicles, thus aiding hair growth. Additionally, water tends to activate all the nerve endings and neural sensors in the hair roots, which increases the natural vitality of your hair.

Water Flushes Pollutants and Toxins From Your Hair

Hydration works both ways, cleaning your hair from any dirt, debris, and sediment, but also from the inside, stimulating a healthier detox through your detoxing organs, the liver, kidneys, and your skin. That’s why it’s also beneficial to use a water filter to ensure you’re using the cleanest water while washing your hair.

Final Thoughts

Proper hydration is essential for your overall health, no matter what part of your body is in question. Every cell in the human organism is made predominantly out of water, and without it, it cannot perform even its most basic functions. Prioritize adequate water intake on a daily basis and reap all the benefits.


Karla Tafra, a Croatian content creator, yoga teacher, nutritionist, writer, and brand consultant, has been residing in the US for 7+ years. She has collaborated with various brands such as Nike, Gymshark, Adidas, Lululemon, Gaiam,, Sakara Life, and W Hotels worldwide. Additionally, she served as the official off-season yoga teacher for the Seahawks and conducted health and wellness seminars in Facebook, Google, and Pinterest. Despite having a master's degree in law, her true passion lies in working with health and wellness brands that strive to enhance people's lives. She lives with her toddler in Bellevue, WA.