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Hair Dryer Buying Guide

Everything you need to know about how to buy a hair dryer.

Buying Guide: Finding The Right Hair Dryer

Not sure why tourmaline and ionic are important in a hair dryer? What the heck is the cool shot button for anyway? You might be surprised to learn how much hair dryers have evolved in recent years, and picking up a professional dryer can make all the difference in your styling routine. The Sedu Revolution Pro Tourmaline Ionic 4000i Hair Dryer reduces styling time with its powerful motor and ionic generation switch lets you choose if you want more volume. Professional hair dryers such as the SuperSolano The Original contain ceramic components which help to reduce frizz and leave hair smooth and shiny. In this guide, we've straightened out all the details you need to know in order to choose the very best dryer for your 'do.

Why a Professional dryer?

Basically: the more often you use your hair dryer, the more important it is that you own a high quality one. Professional dryers like the BabylissPro Nano Titanium Portofino 6600 Hair Dryer is designed with ionic generator and quality titanium grill conditions hair for shiny, smooth results.

The difference a professional dryer makes is amazing. Dare we say it'll blow you away? Watch our video to learn why. (In mere minutes, you'll be a pro on pro hair dryers.)


The Right Hair Dryer for Your Hair Type

Everyone can benefit from a good quality hair dryer, and some hair types need special features too.

  Features Benefits Folica Faves
ALL HAIR Ceramic Adds shine and protects hair from heat damage and frizz.
ALL HAIR Ionic Technology Creates negative ions, which smooth hair and lock in moisture while decreasing drying time.
ALL HAIR Tourmaline Magnifies the effects of the ionic technology for even faster drying and more shine.
ALL HAIR Cool Shot Button Sets the look for long-lasting hold, and adds shine.
THICK OR COARSE HAIR High Air Flow Dries thick hair quickly.
THICK OR COARSE HAIR Multiple Heat Settings Use lower settings for styling and higher ones for powerful drying.
CURLY HAIR Diffuser Creates bouncy, defined, frizz-free curls.
THIN OR FINE HAIR Multiple Heat and Speed Settings Lower settings are safest for fine hair.
THIN OR FINE HAIR Multiple Heat and Speed Settings Turn the ion generator off to create more volume.

The Right Hair Dryer for Your Hairstyle

How you 'do may be the best way to determine which hair dryer is your new bff.

Sleek and Straight

Look for a dryer with an ionic generator, enhanced with tourmaline and ceramic elements that deliver infrared heat. This combination will deliver the smoothest, frizz free results while preventing over drying or moisture loss. Additionally, a dryer with a nozzle attachment will let your focus the air output as you straighten with a brush and prepare your hair for a flat iron.

Recommended Dryers

Sedu Revolution Pro Tourmaline Ionic 4000i Hair Dryer » Turbo Power MegaPower 4000 Professional Hair Dryer »

Curly

If you have naturally curly hair, a diffuser is a must for bringing out its best! Diffusers soften airflow, drying hair gently and reducing frizz.

Recommended Dryers

Hot Tools Bella 2000 Salon Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer » X5 Superlite Tourmaline Ionic Hair Dryer »

If you're using round brushes or curlers to achieve curly looks, the right dryer is one with ceramic, tourmaline and ionic technology that reduces frizz and saves moisture for best styling results.

Recommended Dryers

Sedu Revolution Pro Tourmaline Ionic GREEN 3600 Hair Dryer » Elchim 3001 Millenium Professional Dryer »

Waves, Flips or Full Volume

You want a dryer with multiple heat and speed settings (plus a cold shot button). Lower heat and speed settings give you more styling control and the cold shot button will set your style in place.

Recommended Dryers

X5 Superlite Tourmaline Ionic Hair Dryer » SuperSolano 3500 Lite Professional Hair Dryer »

To boost fine hair, choose a dryer with an ionic switch that allows you to turn off the ionic generator. (Read more about ionic technology below.)

Recommended Dryers

Conair Infiniti Ionic Dryer » Sedu Revolution Pro Tourmaline Ionic 4000i Hair Dryer »

Hair Dryer Nuts & Bolts

 

Wattage, Power and Drying Time

TIP: Buying a dryer that includes an AC motor, ionic technology and that's built with tourmaline and Ceramic can cut your drying time in half. That's a lot more free time and much healthier hair.

Volts and wattage are one only part of your hair dryer's power. The three main functions that work together in a hair dryer are air flow, heat and technology.

As a general rule, a dryer with 1875 watts of power will dry your hair well (especially thick air). The Solia 1875 Thermal Ionic dryer Solia 1875W Thermal Ionic Hair Dryer combines ionic technology with 1875 watts of power.

Hair dryers with less wattage are best suited for short or fine hair, or if you use a dryer only for small sections of your hair, like your bangs. The power will impact the air flow and the stronger the air flow, the quicker the drying time.

Heat is also important. Warm and hot temperatures dry hair quickly and cooler air is gentle on fine or frizz-prone hair. The best dryers (professional ones) such as the Parlux 3500 Super Compact Ceramic Ionic hair dryer Parlux 3500 Super Compact Ceramic & Ionic Edition Professional Hair Dryer use ceramic heaters and parts (or a ceramic coating on parts), which distribute heat evenly.

The last element that makes a great hair dryer is its technology. An ionic feature, such as the one found in the Sedu Revolution Pro 3600i Lightweight Ionic Styling Hair Dryer, produces negatively charged ions that have a super-smoothing affect on your hair, which also cause it to dry faster. Tourmaline magnifies the effects of ionic technology so the two together are a super duo for fast drying and shiny hair.

No matter the power level, the key to preventing damage is to keep your dryer moving. Don't let it sit too long in any one spot or you'll risk damage from over drying.

Wattage You Want, Based on Your Hair Type

No matter the power level, the key to preventing damage is to move the hair dryer back and forth over the section you are drying and not focus direct heat on one area. Follow this basic wattage guide based on your hair type.

Hair Type Wattage Tip
Fine, thin or damaged 1200-1500 If hair is fragile or damaged towel blot hair first to absorb excess water and then dry on the lowest setting.
Medium/normal straight or wavy 1300-1800 Most hair types will dry well with a variety of watt ranges, fewer watts will make your cuticles curl up!
Thick and curly 1600-2000 Get tough with a top wattage dryer, your stronger strands will dry faster!

Dual Voltage

Unless a hair dryer has a dual voltage option, it will only work in the US, Canada and countries that use 110/120 V. Dual voltage dryers convert from 110/120 V to 220/240 V with a standard adapter and then work almost anywhere in the world. Mini hair dryers and those with collapsible handles make great travel hair dryers because they're lightweight and don't take up precious suitcase space.

Heat Settings and the Cool Shot

"Think of the cool shot as freezing the look that you created so it stays all day!"
David Diguez, stylist at Blow NY, New York, NY

Warm and hot air create your style and remove excess moisture. Then, the cool shot sets your style in place. Cold air helps seal your hair shaft closed, preventing your hot style from wilting and adding super shine. Find style-setting dryers with cool shot buttons here.

 

Technology

Tourmaline

Tourmaline is a semi-precious gemstone and the world's best ionic and infrared generator. When heated, tourmaline hair dryers target negatively charged sections of hair, splitting large water droplets into smaller molecules that immediately evaporate. This dries hair quicker, preventing damage and sealing in moisture and shine.


Ceramic

Ceramic Hair Dryers distribute heat evenly, preventing any sections of your hair from overheating or drying out. Ceramic may be used in the dryer body, the heater or as a coating on internal parts. Check the product details to find out specifics for each dryer.


Ionic

Ionic hair dryers create negative ions that neutralize hair's positive charge and make it smooth. With regular use, ionic dryers can actually make your hair healthier and less frizzy. You'll feel the silkiness and see the shine. They seal in moisture, help reduce static and work best for delivering super straight, sleek looks. And, by sealing the cuticle closed, ionic hair dryers drastically reduce drying time. Some models include a switch that lets you choose the level of ion output, or turn the ions on or off. When turned off, the charge changes for an effect that's similar to teasing your hair. (Volume!)

TIP: To really make use of the benefits of ionic technology, try blowing drying your hair upside-down, with the ionic switch off for volume. Then, flip hair right-side-up and finish drying with the ionic switch on.


Infared

Infrared technology (also called "far-infrared") is a heating method that delivers consistent heat that dries hair evenly and thoroughly. It prevents sections of your hair getting overheated or drying out ("hot spots") and promotes healthier, shinier hair.


 

Characteristics & Accessories

Concentrators

A concentrator attachment helps you control the air that's directed on your hair for more precise drying and styling. Many professional dryers come with a concentrator or two and you can also buy the accessories individually.

TIP: To help prevent frizz, point the nozzle downward toward the ends of your hair while drying. This seals the cuticle and creates smoothness and shine.

Diffusers

Diffusers help lift and separate the hair, enhancing your hair's natural texture. Diffusers dry hair quickly without "blowing" out your style and disrupting the natural texture; accentuating curls, enhancing smoothness while preventing frizz and flyaways.

Dryer Brush

For super handy styling and drying, try a hair dryer with a built in brush. It doesn't offer as much control as separate tools, but it's a good option if you can't quite nail the two-handed blowout.

Noise Level

Thanks to "quiet motor" technology, the noise level of the average dryer has been reduced to 60 decibels and under. (Ten years ago the average was 80 decibels.)

Nozzle

There are two basic nose shapes to choose from: nozzle or not. Some prefer the nozzle because it focuses air flow for more precise styling. Many professional stylists even hold the dryer by the nose when blowing out hair for styling control. Non-nozzle designs disperse air throughout hair for a fuller blowout. Shorter nosed dryers are more manageable (smaller) and lighter weight.

Removable Air Filter

It is important to have a removable air filter to help maintain the effectiveness of your hair dryer. The filter should be cleaned regularly to prevent the motor from overheating or causing hair damage.

Swivel Cord

A swivel at the end of the hair dryer handle allows the electrical cord to pivot, preventing the cord from tangling.

Weight

A hair dryer's weight can be an important factor, especially if your hair is long or thick. If your dryer's weight causes you to give up half way through styling, look for a lightweight model to prevent bicep burnout. If you're always on the go you might want to try a lightweight, travel-friendly model so your dryer doesn't weigh down your bag or take up precious packing room.


 

Other

Bonnet, Hood and Hard Hat Dryers

Common in salons, bonnet, hood or hard hat dryers give a gentle all-over dry that's great for setting curls, enhancing deep conditioning treatments or preventing frizz in relaxed hair. Pretend you're at the spa and read a mag, do your nails or simply relax while you dry.

Bonnet, Hood and Hard Hat Dryers »

Wall Mounts, Holders & Stands

Save space with a wall-mounted hair dryer. Or, try a hair dryer holder to turn your bathroom counter into an efficient styling station by keeping cords and tools organized. Holders and stands are heat resistant and protect countertops while keeping your hair dryer conveniently accessible.

Product Warranties

The ultimate accessory is the extended warranty. Avoid being left high and dry by purchasing a hair dryer with a warranty. Check out this complete list of warranty lengths by brand name and model number.

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