Main content
Everything you need to know about modern hair steaming, including which techniques and products you can use for hydrated, healthy-looking hair.

Try the Trend: How Hair Steaming Can Give You Soft, Manageable Hair

Everything you need to know about modern hair steaming, including which techniques and products you can use for hydrated, healthy-looking hair.
Try the Trend: How Hair Steaming Can Give You Soft, Manageable Hair

If your TikTok For You feed is a constant stream of haircare tips and styling inspo, chances are you’ve recently stumbled upon a hair steaming video. While it’s not a new practice by any means, many people are reinventing the method in rather unusual ways—namely, by using a household steamer on their strands. But before digging out your own steamy gadget from your laundry room, we’re here to tell you it may not be the best idea. Ahead, learn how to steam your hair the right way using a dedicated steamer for your hair. You’ll also discover some of our favorite haircare products to accompany your steam sesh, so keep scrolling.

What Is Hair Steaming?

Hair steaming involves using a device that emits a gentle flow of steam onto your hair to help enhance the look and feel of your strands. Hooded bonnets, handheld apparatuses, and hair steamer caps are the most common forms of hair steamers, but you can also get similar effects with a steamy shower or a DIY hair wrap (more on that below).

It’s worth noting that you may see influencers using household steamers on their strands (and then claiming to get dazzling results), but we advise against this. For one, the harsh heat of traditional steamers can burn your skin. For another, their high temperatures are designed to get stubborn wrinkles out of your clothing—not be directed toward your precious, delicate hair.

Good hair day by @_beautybyq.

Benefits of Hair Steaming

Theoretically, moist heat can help open up the hair’s cuticle so that it can better absorb moisture and nourishment. This allows any conditioning treatments or oils applied afterward to penetrate more deeply into the hair shaft for softer, more manageable hair. While there’s no conclusive proof (yet!) on the benefits of hair steaming, it’s a pampering practice that’s been around for quite some time in salons and the natural hair community, so it may be worth a try.

How often should you steam your hair?

How often you steam your hair varies based on your hair type, damage level, and the type of steamer you’re using. Over-steaming can lead to minor damage, while under-steaming may not provide you with the full benefits you’re looking for. There’s no hard-and-fast rule here, so we suggest steaming your hair once a month and then working your way up or down from there. Pay attention to how your mane looks and feels before adjusting your routine accordingly.

How long should you steam your hair?

How long you steam your hair also depends on your hair type and steaming method. In general, you can steam your strands anywhere from 15-30 minutes. If you’re using a hair steamer cap or handheld tool, read the instruction label to ensure you aren’t letting the steam envelop your hair for too long. Similar to using hot tools, overexposure to steam can potentially dry out your hair and lead to thermal damage.

How To Steam Your Hair At Home

Indulge in some self-care with our easy guide on how to steam your hair in the comfort of your bathroom. First, decide which hair steaming method you’ll use, pick out your favorite haircare product, and follow these steps.

Step 1: Wash your hair

If you’re one of the many people wondering, “Should hair be washed before steaming?” you’re not alone—it’s one of the most frequently asked questions about this technique. Typically, you should wash your hair before steaming it to help aid in the deep conditioning process. Lather up with your go-to shampoo (bonus points if it’s a shampoo for dry hair, like Pureology’s Hydrate Shampoo) before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Wring out excess moisture

After washing your hair, gently blot moisture with an old T-shirt or a microfiber towel so that your locks are damp but not saturated. If you have soaking wet hair, it can be easier for hair treatments to slide right off your strands before they have the chance to properly coat your hair.

Step 3: Apply your haircare products

As mentioned, hair steaming is often used in conjunction with deep conditioning treatments to help revitalize dry, damaged hair. We suggest applying a hair mask from the mid-shaft to the ends of your hair prior to your steam session.

If you have damaged hair, consider picking up L'Oréal Professionnel’s Absolut Repair Hair Mask when you steam. This buttery yet lightweight mask helps instantly restore very sensitized hair while enhancing smoothness. Another great option for those with weakened, color-treated hair is Biolage Professional’s Color Last Deep Treatment Pack Hair Mask. The multi-use formula helps prevent damaged, tangled ends and protects against dull, faded color.

Step 4: Let it steam

Now that your mask is applied, it’s time to steam. Allow your chosen method of steam to envelop your hair for the recommended amount of time, then stop the steam and rinse your hair. If you want to DIY the steamy treatment, simply pop on a shower cap and wrap a hot hand towel over your head (just be sure the towel isn’t so hot that it burns your scalp). Let the warmth surround your hair until the towel goes slightly cold. Then, remove and rinse.

Next Up: Hooded Hair Dryers Are the Ultimate Heat and Hydration Combo

Header photo credit: @_beautybyq

Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device