It’s not all just hot air.
What you’ll need
Just as how different hair types requires special hair products, so is the case with hair tools, such as looking for the best blow dryer for your specific needs.
Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all philosophy when it came to hair styling. Recent innovations in styling technologies have made choosing the best blow dryer or curling iron for your hair almost like a bespoke process, taking into consideration each person’s specific hair type and even lifestyle leanings. Are you a low-maintenance gal that’s wash-and-wear with frizzy hair? Or are you all about that perfectly diffused curl and are willing to spend top dollar? Either way, you may need a completely different blow dryer that gives you benefits unique to your needs—and future apologies to your roomie, as it might be high time for her to finally buy her own tools!
The Best Blow Dryer for All Hair Types
Price points and whether or not a blowdryer is considered “professional caliber” isn’t the only things to look out for when making your purchase. To simplify your decision, we give a short rundown of various kinds of blowdryers and the hair type best for each. Look and see if your current one fits the bill, or if it’s time for an upgrade:
Best for: Thick/coarse, wavy/curly, frizzy, natural/afro hair
Ions are either positively or negatively charged particles. Ionic particles react with wet hair, with the negative ions breaking down water molecules into smaller, more manageable particles without sapping the cuticle of all its moisture. This means it can dry wet hair quicker and still retain some moisture in the hair shaft, resulting in smoother, shinier locks in nearly half the time it takes as using a regular, non-ionic dryer.
Ions also help offset the positive ions in hair, reducing the static on the surface of the shaft and help get rid of frizz and stubborn cowlicks. This makes it an ideal choice for thick or coarse hair that usually takes a while to dry, or for strands naturally prone to frizzing out. Take note that ionic blowdryers do the job in a shorter time, so be careful to adjust your drying times accordingly—stop when your hair feels dry, and not much longer.
Best for: Dry, thick/coarse, curly/wavy, frizzy hair
Tourmaline coating is one of the more recent innovations in blowdrying technology. It makes use of ground-up or parts of tourmaline crystals, a semi-precious gemstone or mineral that produces only negative ions when heated, effectively sealing down the hair cuticle and encouraging a shinier, smoother hair shaft. Like an upgraded ionic hairdryer, tourmaline can run more expensive than an ionic hairdryer because of the rarity of this semi-precious stone.
Best for: Natural/afro, fine, dry or curly hair
Ceramic is a material that’s made of clay that can be used in several parts of a blowdryer or as a coating on interior heating parts. It’s an effective heat conductor that releases an even spread of infra-red heat, which helps dry hair gently and more uniformly, reducing the risk of hot spots. This is particularly helpful with dry hair or brittle locks prone to frying when overexposed to heat, as well as fine or thinning hair and hair with ringlets like natural textures and curls.
Other Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Blow Dryer
Usually, the higher, the better. A higher wattage means it’s powerful enough to dry your hair in a shorter amount of time, which is generally easier on your strands than subjecting your hair to heat for a longer period. Professional-grade hair dryers usually begin at 1300 watts.
2. Speed and heat settings
You will need various levels of intensity to dry your hair at any given time, depending on how wet/damaged/processed, etc. it is. More speed and heat settings help give you the freedom to choose and personalize the optimal level that works for you: A medium-heat setting on a lower speed can help dry your hair evenly and more gently than a high setting on a fast speed. Also don’t forget to press that “Cool Shot” button most dryers come with nowadays: A blast of cool air on the shaft right before you finish helps seal down the cuticle, adding an extra dose of shine.
Best used on curls and in an upward direction, diffusers spread out the heat emitted by a hair dryer without flattening ringlets. They help dry out curly hair and rid it of frizz-causing moisture, while letting the curl retain its natural shape and texture.
4. Concentrator nozzles
On the other hand, target the air flow powerfully onto a specific area, and is most effective when used in a downward direction on straight hair or hair you would like to straighten. Avoid using the concentrator nozzle in an upward direction, as this directs flow upwards and opens up the hair cuticle, leaving strands open to frizz and even damage.
We’ve warned against not using heat protectant, and if you’re still skeptical, just think of how your fingers scald when holding a hot kettle without potholders. Hair is extremely vulnerable to direct heat (especially when wet), so an even coating of thermal protectant (we like the no-nonsense benefits we get from TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray) can help shield our hair an provide smoothness as well.
For those looking for lift and body, a bodifying mousse (we like Dove Style+Care Volume Amplifier Mousse) gives structured and control without the crunch. For a lighter or texturized aesthetic, look to blowdry sprays such as Suave Luxe Style Infusion Volumizing Weightless Blow Dry Spray for a wispy, romantic feel.
What’s the best blow dryer for you?