You Really DON’T Lose All Your Body Heat Through Your Head—Says Science

Updated: Mar. 17, 2022

Leaving your hat at home could spell trouble, but not for the reason you think.


Winter might as well be called the official season for hat hair. Think about it: How long does your perfectly styled hair last when you have to wear bulky hats to stay warm? If you answered in hours, you’re one of the lucky ones.

So why do we wear the hairstyle-killers in the first place? If you’re thinking it’s because 70 percent of our body heat is lost through our heads, you’d be wrong. Andrew Maynard, a professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan, says that the stat is simply not true.

The amount of body heat lost depends on how much skin you expose, not the particular body part getting cold. Since the head only makes up about 10 percent of the body’s total area, it can only account for 10 percent of total body heat lost.

So is hat hair worth it? Do hats really keep you that much warmer? It all depends on what else you’re wearing. If you’re dancing in the snow naked while wearing a hat, as Maynard suggests in his explanatory video, it won’t make much difference. Sorry, but you’re going to be cold (very cold) no matter what.

But what if you’re completely bundled up, and you just happen to leave your hat at home? Well, that means 90 percent of your body is not losing that much heat—but your head is now the only place from which heat can escape. That changes things, doesn’t it?

With that said, accept the bad hair day and put on the hat—even though you won’t be losing as much heat as was once believed. If you still need convincing, hats can also prevent frostbite, and we’d pick hat hair over freezing ears any day. And there actually is a perfect hat to suit the shape of your face.