a brown hair woman hair drying her wavy hair while smiling

Hair Dryer 101: What to Buy and How to Use It On Your Own

Getting the right hair dryer will do wonders for your hair.

Whether you use yours every week or every day, it’s important that you know what you’re getting your hair into when you plug in your hair dryer. You might be one of those girls who likes to blow-dry your hair as soon as you hop out of the shower, locks still soaking wet; or maybe you wait until it’s almost dry simply to use for styling purposes. Either way, the hair dryer you choose to use does more than just dry your hair so it’s important to learn what to look for.

Depending on the texture of your hair and condition, there’s a hair dryer that is perfectly suited for all your hair needs. Keep reading to learn about what’s the right hair dryers for your particular hair needs and what to steer clear of when you’re on a mission to find your new go-to styling tool.

The Perfect Hair Dryer for Every Hair Need

waves with blow dryer
There are so many easy hairstyles you can create with an at-home blow dryer.

1. Check for Adjustable Temperature Settings

We get it, hair dryers are life savers when it comes to needing to get out the door in a hurry. However, when you’re constantly putting your hair under heated conditions, damage can be pretty inevitable. That said, we recommend getting a blowdryer or hooded hair dryer with multiple heat settings because you can still have the high temps for drying, but the option to opt for lower temps for your second-day restyling.

And, in case you’re wondering what that “cool shot” button is (because we know we were), it provides a burst of cool air to seal the hair cuticle. So, just like your makeup needs setting powder, your hair needs that cool burst of air to lock in a lasting look.

Great for: All hair types and maximizing styling potential of your dryer.

2. Ceramic Blow Dryer

If you’re looking for a nourishing blow-dry experience, get your hands on a ceramic dryer ASAP. Through the process of generating infrared heat, ceramic dryers are able to dry hair from the inside out in order to create minimum heat damage, while maximizing smooth, silky hair.

Great for: Frizzy hair, fine hair and taming flyaways.

3. Dryers with Ionic Technology

Are you in a hurry and need a quick dry? Ionic technology can do the trick. Known for generating negative ions to lock in moisture and create major shine, hair dryers with this technology will not only make your hair look great, but will do so in record time. If you’re looking for an even faster drying time, pick up an ionic hair dryer with Tourmaline– it adds infrared heat to the mix for a much gentler dry.

Great for: Dry, damaged locks, frizz-prone hair and super thick hair (because ain’t nobody got time for drying that lion’s mane).

4. Dual Voltage Hair Dryers

What’s worse than getting to your destination only to realize the outlets are different and you’re not prepared? Skip the stress of converters and add a dual voltage travel hair dryer to your repertoire of hair tools for an effortless dry no matter where you end up. You can also opt for a cordless hair dryer too, just charge it before your trip!

Great for: World travelers.

5. Lightweight Hair Dryers

There’s nothing quite like a blowout to totally perk up a look; but there’s also nothing quite like the strain of holding a heavy blow dryer over your head while trying to bring the look to life. So the next time you decide to go for the va-va-voom factor, use a lightweight dryer to get the look without the pain of a traditional dryer.

Great For: Blowout addicts.

Now that you have a better idea of which dryer to choose, it’s absolutely essential to remember one thing: no matter the temperature you press when drying, it’s important to always use a heat protectant before your begin styling. We recommend TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray for overall protection and a boost of shine to boot.

6. Hair Dryer Diffuser

If you have curly hair and you need a hair drying tool to speed up your wash and go styles, you need to get your hands on a hair dryer diffuser. We think it’s smart to get a blowdryer that comes with different attachments in the event you want to switch up your style. Use the diffuser attachment for curly styles and use the blow dryer with the comb attachment for straight hairstyles.

Great For: All curly hair types

How to Properly Wield Your Hair Dryer

Getting professional-looking locks with a hair dryer doesn’t begin and end with getting the priciest one on the market (unless you’re after an expensive professional hair dryer). Moreover, it’s all about working your angles (literally) and knowing how to correctly heat style, while keeping your hair’s integrity in check too! Here are some tips and tricks to finally getting your money’s worth out of your humble hair dryer:

How to Use a Hair Dryer Like a Pro: Tips and Advice

Step 1: Pre-Dry

Most professional hairdressers are advocates of pre-drying. Not only is heat-styling locks that are dripping wet an exercise in futility, it can also be severely damaging on your strands. This crucial pre-drying step involves first blotting hair with an absorbent towel (Ed’s tip: a paper towel is also effective) then wiggling your dryer’s nozzle, while the hair dryer is set on medium, all around the head from the hairline to the nape. The goal: getting hair at least 90 percent dry.

Finger-combing while you pre-dry helps speed up the process as well, but some prefer to switch out the regular nozzle on their hair dryer with a diffuser. Those with wavy or curly hair will benefit from the latter, as this attachment dries hair quickly without separating curls or causing them to frizz out.

hair dryer like a pro wet hair
Worry not, dryer novices: Your wet-bun days are over.

Step 2: Detangle

Remove all knots in your hair using a wide-tooth comb or a professional detangling brush. Run your detangling tool in a downwards motion as you start near the ends and slowly move your way up, each time gently tugging in increments to minimize tension and potentially breaking the hair shaft. Misting your hair with a light leave-in conditioner or detangling spray like Nexxus Humectress Luxe Lightweight Conditioning Mist. A leave-in conditioner can lubricate and give shine to strands as it minimizes friction.

Step 3: Prep

In lieu of leave-in conditioner, you can also opt to prime hair for the hair dryer with a heat protectant or styling spray. Once hair is coated, separate strands into sections, securing each by twirling into firm knots and fastening with a darby clip or hair clamp.

Step 4: Start From the Bottom

Unfurl the bottom-most section of your hair, or those nearest your neckline. Roll your section under a large curling brush (natural bristles are great here) and get ready to put in some elbow grease! Using the regular, slanted nozzle attachment (twist it horizontally) and a medium to high setting on your hair dryer, move your dryer up and down the hair curled on the brush, directing the nozzle downwards and allowing the air flow to seal the cuticle down flat for more shine. Employ some firm yet light-handed tension and work incrementally. Repeat on the opposite side. For the middle part at the back of your head, gently tug upwards and away from your head, or just divide the center part and have it join either the left or right sections for a quicker fix.

Step 5: Repeat

Repeat the process on all sections, saving the topmost ones near the hairline (left and right) and crown (topmost) for last. For the side sections, roll the brush on the underside of the hair using your opposite hand (i.e. right hand, left side) for more control. Dry your hair outwards from roots to ends, directing airflow downwards and away from your face. Repeat this on the opposite side. If you have a middle or side part, you can skip sectioning around the crown altogether; drying the topmost area, especially in an upwards and outwards motion away from the head, can help infuse some volume and lift.

Finish by refining your part with your fingers and running through a tiny amount of shine serum or hair oil, such as Nexxus Oil Infinite Nourishing Hair Oil along the lengths. You can also opt to curl ends slightly by twisting them around the brush barrel and giving them a final blast with your hair dryer before unfurling.

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