I’m very low maintenance with my hair, so there are very few products that make a significant difference in my routine. I was initially a bit skeptical about how much impact a towel could have, but surprisingly, I’ve seen massive improvements from using Aquis hair towels!
I’ve always felt that I should be better about drying my hair – I usually shower at night, wrap my hair in my bath towel for a few minutes, then let it air dry while telling myself that it’s OK because I’m reducing hair damage (it’s really because my arm gets tired from holding the hair dryer). Right before I go to sleep (my hair is usually still wet at this stage), I pineapple my hair with a coil hair tie. The issues are:
- The wet towel is heavy and has given me a crick in my neck on more than one occasion (the actual worst)
- While the towel is on, I can’t make any sudden movements or the towel will flop onto whatever I’m doing, often breaking off some hair with it
- Once my neck has had enough I take the towel off, but usually this isn’t long enough so my hair drips onto my back. This gets very cold in winter
- My hair is usually still quite wet when I go to sleep, so I often get a cold head, or I wake up with kinky hair
I’ve been using the Original Lisse Towel for the initial blot of my wet hair, and the Lisse Luxe Turban which wraps around your head and secures at the back with a loop and button. I’m disappointed I didn’t try them earlier! Switching to Aquis towels has solved all of these problems I listed, as well as some I didn’t know I had.
How Aquis Towels Work
Aquis towels are made of ultra absorbent, super fine polyester/nylon Aquitex fibres that are split to 1/100th the width of a single human hair. They’re woven in a way that wicks water away much faster through improved capillary action, and distributes it over the towel very efficiently. This means two things: the Aquis towel absorbs far faster than a regular towel, and can absorb a lot more water in total as well, for its weight. It also does it with less effort – the efficient wicking means you need to move the towel around less to soak up the same amount of water.
The graph below shows time (seconds) vs total water absorption (as a percentage of the towel’s weight) for a normal cotton towel vs some of Aquis’s microfibre materials. The slope at the beginning shows how quickly the materials absorb (Aquis is much faster than cotton, as seen from the steep slopes), while the height of the final plateau shows how much water they end up absorbing (3-4 times its own weight for the Aquis towels, vs 2 times for the normal towel).
So how much difference does a really absorbent towel make? Turns out it’s quite a lot! I’ve found myself getting really annoyed when I’ve forgotten to take the towel into the bathroom (which has led to a lot of towel-retrieving nudie runs).
Here’s what’s so great about these towels:
Less Hair Damage
Because Aquis towels dry your hair much faster, your hair isn’t be in its vulnerable wet state for as long. When your hair is wet, the cortex (inner spongy layer of your hair) can soak up 30% of its own weight in water and swell up. The cortex contains lots of keratin and is usually the part of your hair that gives it its strength, but adding water reduces keratin’s structural integrity by up to 1/3 (the technical version: water breaks the hydrogen bond reinforcements in its structure). This makes your hair much more prone to stretching past its breaking point. If you want to see this in action, get two similar strands of hair, soak one in water for a few minutes, then see how easy it is to snap each hair in half!
Wet hair also contributes to chipping of the protective outer hair cuticle. The scales of the cuticle usually lie flat and overlap like shingles, forming protective armour on the surface of each hair. When the hair swells, the cuticle scales stand up.
Any rough treatment at this point (rubbing with a towel, brushing, combing, even vigorous shampooing) will cause the cuticles to snag on each other and break off. Over time, your hair accumulates this damage which makes it duller and leads to split ends and breakage. The effectiveness of Aquis towels means you don’t have to rub your hair aggressively to dry it and risk chipping off the cuticle. Instead, gentle squeezing will be enough to dry your hair. I actually found that firm squeezing with an Aquis towel for a minute left my hair noticeably drier than when I rubbed vigorously with a normal cotton towel!
The design of the Aquis fibres also contributes to the reduced damage. Instead of the loops found in cotton towels and regular microfibre, Aquis material uses flatter fibres which glide over hair easily and don’t snag. You can see the lessened damage in the hair shaft closeups below (dried with Aquis on the left, dried with cotton on the right).
Faster drying also reduces blow drying and the accompanying heat damage afterwards if you’re into that. The drier your hair is before you start blasting it, the less likely you are to get “bubble hair”, when water inside the hair boils explosively with heat, causing massive damage as it busts its way out of your hair.
From Gamez-Garcia, J Cosmet Sci 2001, 62, 109-120
I haven’t noticed this myself, but a lot of reviews of Aquis also mention that dyed hair fades slower when using an Aquis towel, which isn’t surprising since it’s much gentler on hair. I have noticed less flyaways since using the towel though, especially at the ends of my hair.
The highly absorbent Aquis material dries hair much faster than regular cotton towels, and with very little effort – it cuts my active towel-drying time by half, then sitting with the turban on for half an hour does the rest. My ridiculously thick hair is just slightly damp a few hours later, which is unheard of!
The towels are also unbelievably light – again, due to their effectiveness, you don’t need as much material to soak up the same amount of water. The turban and towel are both very comfortable to wear, and even if you just have the towel, you can secure it by tucking the end into the back. I love being able to get right back to doing things after a shower, without having to worry about carting a heavy towel around.
Because Aquis towels are so thin and wick so effectively, I’ve also found that they dry very quickly and don’t build up any nasty damp smells, even when I’m terrible and forget to hang them up to dry.
The only very minor inconvenience with these towels is that they need a little extra TLC when laundering: you need to wash them before use, and they don’t play well with powder detergents or fabric softener. I found that they did fine in the regular wash in a delicates bag… which isn’t that much extra work, really (it’s not like you have to handwash them!) but something to keep in mind.
Would you recommend Aquis towels?
Quite obviously, yes! If your hair is long, takes a while to dry, or suffers from damage, I think an Aquis towel could make a big difference to your routine!
If your hair is short or dries in no time, then you’ve won the hair lotto and I doubt this will help you much.
The Original Hair Towel (around $21 USD) is my top pick. They also have a version for long hair available with an extra 5 inches for around $25, although I found that the normal version was large enough for my mid-back-length hair. Adding the turban really ups the convenience factor, but it’s the towel that does the heavy lifting (the turban + towel set is $50).
Where can you buy Aquis towels?
You can buy them through the Aquis website, with a money-back guarantee for US customers if you don’t like it after a 3 week trial (they also ship internationally but without the guarantee). They also have a store locator and online stockist list here, which includes FeelUnique, Bloomingdale’s, Sephora, and Bed Bath and Beyond. There’s also Amazon.
VNE Robinson, A study of damaged hair (open access), J Soc Cosmet Chem 1976, 27(4), 155-161.
SE Kelly and VNE Robinson, The effect of grooming on the hair cuticle (open access), J Soc Cosmet Chem 1982, 33(4), 203-215.
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21 thoughts on “How do Aquis Towels work? Science and review”
This would never be a product that would be useful for me–I find my regular towel dries my hair too fast already, and leaves some cowlicks that I must wet down around my bangs and part. I only leave it on for the time it takes to brush my teeth and apply minimal makeup. I do gently blot my hair with my towel prior to wrapping it on my head, so maybe that’s why.
Oh wow, you’re lucky! My hair takes for-freaking-ever to dry 🙁
My hair is thick, takes forever to dry, and is super bleach-damaged, so this seems like it could be a potentially life-changing product for me! I’ll have to see if I can find one in Sephora. Thanks so much for such a thorough and detailed post.
Yes, I think it would suit you then!
I bought one of these years ago, which quickly turned into two hair towels! I’ve used one for EVERY hair washing since then and can vouch for ALL the benefits you’ve listed! Mine are still holding up wonderfully so they are worth every penny so long as you remember to care for them properly.
It’s been ages since I actually read the care sheet but I think they warned about fabric softeners? I have a HE machine, use liquid detergent, and always let my Aquis towels air dry (which takes practically no time at all) rather than send them through the dryer. They’ve loved me back in return!
I wish I could replace all our bath towels with these (and I just might, a couple at a time) because they work SO MUCH BETTER. Seriously. Pat yourself down with one after a shower some time. Poof. You’re dry. Sciencey wizardry, basically.
Oh yes, forgot to mention fabric softeners in my post! Thanks for reminding me, I’ll stick it in. They also have body towels too now 🙂
I have one of these towels and I love it! Seriously, it is well worth the money. When I take it off my hair is damp and air dries the rest of the way so quickly. I will never go back to using a regular towel!
Me neither! Air drying is so much faster now – my hair is practically dry when I go to bed, vs sometimes waking up with damp hair in the past!
I have a similar thing, not this brand but it’s amazing! Once you start using it you never go back.
Tegan xx – Permanent Procrastination
I totally agree!
Ive used an Aquis towel for years – probably nearly 20! I wouldn’t be without one. I wouldn’t bother with the turban though, I’ve perfected turbanning the towel on my head over the years 🙂 and a towel is much more versatile.
I love the towel too! The turban is a nice extra, but I wouldn’t say it’s essential 🙂
Wow, interesting! I had no idea these existed. Could make a good Christmas present for the little sister and her crazy frizzy hair haha. It would sure be a nice way to get her to stop using my old t-shirts lol. :p
By the way, I read your other post and saw that your boyfriend gave you an undercut!! That must have been a fun day haha! 😀 Has it grown out by now, or did you decide to keep it?
Haha yes, I think this is a more hi-tech version of the cotton t-shirt method! I still have the undercut, I’m really enjoying it as it gets hotter in Sydney – my neck is much less sweaty. He actually gave me a trim just last night 🙂
Wow that’s so romantic! :'( #goals
True story: I once tried cutting my own hair for an entire year. Why no one told me anything is beyond me. Here’s picture to show you what I mean haha….
Your bf did a good job though! :p
I have one of the old version of the Lisse Luxe towel and I love it! I too, got it because I hate the weight of my regular bath towel on my head 😛
I’m not sure the date on this post (I came to it from links from several of your other posts, lol), but for those in the US, Ulta carries the brand also. I bought a different less expensive brand and while it works better than a towel, I’m going to try Acquis. The length of mine isn’t big enough to put into a turban and I can’t stand the flopping off. But it definitely is better than a cotton or polyester towel!
So I use a soft cotton t shirt to wrap my hair up in. When it gets wet I take it off and use another t shirt. Is it true that cotton T-shirt’s are a good way to dey hair and cause less damage?
I expect they’re similar to a plain towel, but wrapped more tightly.
I was eyeing these up in Mecca Cosmetica last week!
I have other versions which I have used for years. I have fine hair but lots of it so it is super thick. It also grows really quickly. It’s naturally curly too.
The towels save me literally hours of drying time.
Thinking about getting my undercut back for summer. Not sure how I will cope with a fringe this summer either. Any tips?!
I’m a huge fan of using cornstarch as dry shampoo for my fringe! And a huge fan of my undercut still 🙂