For years I just used a bath towel to wrap my wet hair before air drying or blow drying, but then I bought an AQUIS hair turban and became a hair turban convert. I always bought AQUIS turbans whenever they were on sale, and I’ve given them as gifts because I like them so much. I later purchased an Amazon hair turban and realized it wasn’t as good… I became curious about all the different options out there. I asked my followers which other hair towels or turbans I should try (see the complete list of recommendations at the end of this post) and although I only planned to review 5…once again curiosity got the best of me and I ended up reviewing 9 microfiber turbans/towels. I purchased 8 towels/turbans and one towel by The Perfect Haircare was provided by the company with no requirement for review.
(There are some commissionable links below, I really appreciate any time people shop through my links because that helps me do posts like these. The small commission does not impact the price that you pay.)
Microfiber Towel & Turban Claims
Compared to cotton towels, microfiber towels & turbans claim to:
- Absorb more water and cut down on dry time
- Be more durable and last longer over time
- Be lint-free
- Not stay wet as long after use
- Make hair less frizzy
The recommendation is to put your hair in a towel or turban for 10-20 minutes before you air dry or blow dry your hair in order to absorb excess water and reduce how long it takes for your hair to dry.
What if I only air dry my hair? Is a hair towel still useful?
My friend Annalisa on Instagram (@skinperspective) has a really fascinating post on hair health that highlighted how even air drying your hair isn’t great because hair is weakest when wet. She noted that “When left to air-dry, hair has a higher chance to get damaged.” (quote from the caption of the linked post). So because of this, I now wear a hair towel even when I don’t plan to blow dry my hair. She recommends absorbing as much water as possible with a towel and then using a hairdryer on the cold setting but my compromise to that on a busy day when I plan to air dry my hair is to wear the hair towel for as long as possible before leaving for the day. (I chatted with Annalisa about this and regarding the “blow dry on cold” she added that you can also use a heat treatment and blow dry on medium heat, which may be more comfortable in the winter. Also, she noted that she keeps her hair in a towel for about 10 min. By the way, she is a wealth of knowledge and her IG page is an outstanding resource for all things skin and hair!)
So to test whether microfiber towels or turbans actually lived up to their claims, for each of the 9 turbans or towels, the cotton bath towel (I used this one), and the 100% cotton t-shirt, I did the following:
- After getting out of the shower I wrung out my hair with my hands 3 times before putting it up in the towel/turban/t-shirt.
- Wore the towel/turban/t-shirt for 10 minutes (note that this is the minimum recommended time, but I am always running late in the mornings, so 10 minutes was most realistic for me). For the two days that I did not use any towel/turban/t-shirt I just wrung out my hair and then immediately began blow drying it.
- I set my phone timer and started to rough dry my hair (meaning, I didn’t brush it first and I just used my hands).
- At the 2 minute mark I paused the timer and combed out my hair and then restarted the timer and kept doing a rough blow dry with no brush. (I wasn’t trying to give myself a beautiful blowout, I was just trying to get my hair dry as quick as possible… probably wasn’t the best idea for the health of my hair but I had 24 blow dry tests to do so I was trying to be efficient).
- I continued to dry my hair until it felt dry and then I stopped the timer and recorded the total amount of time in MM:SS.
- I repeated the process twice for everything and took an average (I was very surprised to see how reliable this process was as usually my first and second time for each product was within seconds of each other).
I wish I had applied a heat protectant during my first test, but since I didn’t I had to not introduce any changes to this testing procedure or it might introduce a confound. So I never changed up my shampoo or conditioner and I never applied any product before drying my hair. I did still use my K18 every 4th wash and I didn’t use that as part of this experiment.
Does using a microfiber hair towel or turban really cut down on drying time?
YES! When I wore a microfiber towel or turban for 10 min before drying my hair, it took me 36% less time to dry my hair versus not using anything. Often companies claim that it cuts drying time in half and it is possible that it would get to that had I wore the towels for 20 minutes versus 10 minutes. But even so, if I were to blow dry my hair every other day, I would save 8 hours and 45 minutes a year. Less heat means less damage, so I think that is a big savings both in the short and long run.
Is there a benefit to use a microfiber hair towel or turban instead of a regular cotton bath towel or t-shirt?
Yes! Compared to when I wrapped my hair in a cotton t-shirt for 10 minutes, the microfiber towels & turbans took 23% less time to dry my hair. When I compare it to a regular bath towel, the difference was smaller, but it still took 16% less time. Also, because the bath towel is so large and bulky, it felt like it tugged on my roots a bit and I worry it would cause breakage around the roots over time. Overall, I prefer to have a dedicated hair towel or turban versus just using my bath towel or a t-shirt.
Does a higher percentage of polyamide always result in better absorption?
I was originally making a list of potential turbans & towels to try (based on suggestions from a question box in my stories). I noticed that even though almost all of the hair towels or turbans were “microfiber,” the composition of the microfibers varied, as did the feel of the fabric (some were silky, some looked like looped terry cloth, some looked fuzzy and fluffy etc. etc.). Most had 80% polyester with 20% polyamide/nylon. At first I wondered if a higher percentage of polyamide would always be best because I read that the introduction of polyamide to a towel increases absorption. And although having a towel or turban with less than 20% polyamide/nylon resulted in a longer dry time on average, there was one turban that only had 15% polyamide but still had a really fast dry time (A+ turban). I wonder if that one performed better because its fluffy fabric did a great job absorbing water despite the low percentage of polyamide.
Microfiber Towel or Turban Head-to-Head Comparison
So how did the different microfiber hair towels and turbans stack up against each other? Check out the image below…The Crown Affair was the big winner, followed by The Perfect Haircare Towel. The DevaCurl, A+ Turban, Kitsch Turban, and AQUIS turban all dried my hair between 3 minutes 30 seconds and 4 minutes. The Turbie Twist XL, Amazon brand Youler, and the Target hair towels were all pretty similar in being able to dry my hair from 4 minutes 15 seconds to 4 minutes 30 seconds. I think one factor that led to a longer dry time for those three was that they felt too small/narrow/short so there wasn’t as good of a fabric to hair ratio….meaning more of my wet hair was touching itself rather than being wrapped in fabric.
Price Breakdown (listed in order of shortest to longest dry time)
Crown Affair The Towel
Annoyingly, this was the most expensive… but at least it actually outperformed the others by having the shortest dry time. One good thing is that now this is sold at Sephora, so there will be an opportunity to buy it on sale at some point (and I’ll share any other sales I see!). Other than the price, I love everything about this. The shape is so smart (see the video below), the elastic strap is nice and large, the fabric feels lovely, and it looks chic on (that really doesn’t matter but it’s worth noting that I feel nice in it). The size is great (now I judge the dimensions of other hair towels based on this one to know if they will be long enough for me). I also love the look and feel of this chic waffle fabric. (I was very close to buying the Volo hair towel on Amazon because it looked similar to this but with the same fabric as the A+ turban, but the dimensions seemed small since that one is only 23.5 inches long. For context, the Perfect Haircare is 27.5 and the Crown Affair is 32 inches long).
The Perfect Haircare
I was done buying towels/turbans for this review when this company reached out to ask if I wanted to try this one. Since it seemed unique both in the fabric and design, I decided to accept their offer and try the towel. I’m very glad I did! I really enjoyed this one. I had to play around with the perfect wrapping method because at first some hair would like out (the photo is from my first time using it and you can see a strand didn’t make it inside the wrap). But it’s easy enough to get the hang of. This one is best for people that want to travel with a hair towel because it dries really quickly after use. I also think this did a slightly better job than other microfiber towels in terms of reducing frizz. I didn’t think this silky microfiber would absorb water as well as it did, but it really surprised me. I do wish it had the same shape as the Crown Affair so that it more easily wrapped up all my hair. I like the pull-tie feature but the threads securing it seem fragile and I can see myself needing to stitch it up down the road. So it’s maybe not the most durable.
This was a top recommendation from people and I can see why. It is very similar to the AQUIS except this one is more plush and the elastic band is a bit more padded which made it slightly more comfortable. So for that reason, I would say that I actually ended up liking this one more than the AQUIS hair wrap (which was the reigning champ before I started this review). Since this is available at Sephora, this is a good thing to buy when they have their sales.
A+ Microfiber Hair Turban Towel
$1.88 (no, that isn’t a typo!). This has the fluffiest waffle fabric and dried up quickly after use. I like how it had two buttons so that you could adjust the fit (it is the only turban to have that feature). It is currently out of stock, but I would sign up for an in-stock alert! See the video at the end of the post for a close up of the fabric (which I think must be the key to its great water absorption properties).
Kitsch Quick-Drying Hair Turban
This is a nice option for a hair wrap. At first I thought it was going to be too small, but I didn’t have any issue with it (but in general I still prefer the larger size of the AQUIS and DevaCurl). I will note that after using this, the fabric does take a bit longer than the others to dry. But that is the only downside. See the video at the end of the post for more info on this one.
AQUIS Lisse Hair Wrap
What I always liked about the AQUIS was the generous sized “basket” that it has to collect the hair (But as mentioned, I now prefer the DevaTwist which is the same larger size and a bit more comfortable around the elastic band). A big benefit of the AQUIS is that you can often find it for around $15 at places like TJ Maxx or sometimes the Today Show has this as a 50% Today Show Deal. I still appreciate the AQUIS and would recommend it to others, but I can’t say it is my favorite anymore after doing this review. (Also, I have tried the AQUIS towel, but I didn’t like that one because it didn’t have anything to secure it to my head like the Crown Affair, and it always fell off. They also have a copper version which I believe just helps to reduce bacteria that lives on the towel. But I have always just tried the original Lisse Hair Wrap).
Turbie Twist XL Hair Turban
$20 for 2
When I asked folks which hair turbans to buy for this review, Turbie Twist was one of the most frequently mentioned suggestions. I went with the XL version to differentiate it a bit from the Target brand and Amazon (YoulerTex) hair turban I already had. They also make a cotton one (but given the benefits of microfiber I don’t know that I would bother with that one) and they have a regular length one if you have shorter hair. Overall, I think there are better options out there. Check out the video at the end that talks more about this one and shows a close up look at the fabric.
YoulerTex Microfiber hair towel wrap
$10 for 2
If you really want a non-elastic hair turban, I think this would be my pick out of the Target brand or Turbie Twist. I still don’t love it, but it was decent. It wasn’t as thin and flimsy as the Turbie Twist and it wasn’t as short as the Target one.
Target Room Essentials Hair wrap
$10 for 2
I wanted this to be amazing, and perhaps if you have shorter hair this might be a winner, but I felt like it was too small for my preference. I also felt like I had to really pull on the twist of fabric which tugged on my hair line to try to get the towel to get in the loop. So because of that it wasn’t the most comfortable to wear.
The Crown Affair towel ended up being my favorite towel option— it did a great job at absorbing water and was really comfortable to wear. (The Perfect Haircare was also a great option, it just isn’t as durable as the Crown Affair and the Crown Affair was easier for me to wrap up all of my hair). For turbans, I still prefer a bigger “basket” to easily gather up my hair. I ended up liking the DevaCurl DevaTwist a little more than the AQUIS because its padded, elasticized band was a little more comfortable. I also came to realize that I am not a fan of turbans that don’t have an elastic band because they felt too small and it was harder to get all of my hair wrapped up without any pieces of hair sticking out. (All of my least favorite picks are turbans without an elastic band).
Best for Long Hair
I think that something with at least 27-inch length tended to be best for me (to see the dimensions of other hair towels recommended by folks, check out the excel file). I think the large baskets of the AQUIS and DevaCurl were the easiest to capture all of my hair (and they were even better than the Turbie Twist which had a length of 30 inches but had a small “basket”). The Crown Affair also was great because of its unique shape (which looks like a house rather than a regular rectangle).
If you can find it in stock, the A+ hair turban on shopmissa.com is an incredible deal at $1.88 (that’s not a typo!) and it did a great job drying my hair.
All the recommendations I received when I started this post
For a sortable list of 25 hair towels and turbans that were recommended by my followers via an Instagram question box, click here.