Hair dryers are the most common type of hair styling tool available, but not every dryer is suitable for every head of hair. Before purchasing a new blow dryer, consider how you use the tool, how your hair reacts to it, and what you can do to protect your hair from heat damage.
Types of Hair Dryers
There are several types of blow dryers available, and you should choose the one that best suits your drying and styling needs. Standard models offer a variety of features, such as:
- Multiple heat settings, including a cool setting to help set curls or gel.
- Assorted attachments for different styling needs.
- Voltage adaptors suitable for travel.
- Safety sensors and fan cages.
Higher quality models may feature specialty technology, such as ionic dryers which use negatively charged ions rather than the positive ions emitted by standard dryers in order to help preserve the hair's moisture and dry hair more quickly. Another specialty design is the ceramic dryer, which provides more even heat and has more sophisticated temperature regulators to prevent damage.
Hair dryers range from under $10 to over $150 depending on the model and its features. Specialty dryers with advanced technology are generally more expensive and must usually be purchased from a salon. The cheapest models are also the least beneficial for hair, and while they may provide initial savings, the damage they cause could lead to substantial costs in terms of additional conditioners and deep treatments to overcome heat damage.
A mid-range dryer is the best choice for most users, and the best way to cut costs is to select a model that offers only the features you regularly use, rather than upgrades that will not affect your styling habits.
Hair Dryer Brands
Many reliable brand companies have hair dryers set at a variety of price points. Some of these brand names may be suitable for your needs.
Conair began giving us great Farrah Fawcett "wings" in the 70s and today the styling continues. Conair's website offers a mini and full-sized dryers in bright, bold colors. Overall, Conair gets favorable reviews from satisfied customers.
Whether you are a professional hairstylist or just like looking like one, try using BaByliss blow dryers. The Elegance 2100 model is a shimmery pink with a high-torque motor with a frizz-free directional cone.
Choosing the Best Tool for Your Hair
The best way to choose your perfect hair dryer is to judge how you will use it. While inexpensive models may be inappropriate for extensive styling (their lack of temperature settings can scorch hair), they are suitable for someone who only uses a dryer infrequently or someone with short hair who can dry their hair quickly. If you often use a dryer to style your locks and add more volume, you may prefer a midrange model that offers more attachments and options. The most expensive dryers are best for individuals who use them for extensive styling or whose hair is extremely sensitive to heat damage.
Using Hair Dryers as Styling Aids
Used properly, a dryer can help smooth hair, add volume, and even condition hair when combined with heat-activated conditioners and other hair products. To use the dryer effectively, direct the hot air flow down the strands from the root toward the tip; reversing the direction will inflate hair follicles and cause frizzy, dull hair. For more even heat application and control, keep the dryer at least eight inches from hair at all times, unless the styling technique specifically calls for closer use. Wrapping hair around a wide brush can help control the strands to apply heat evenly and add volume.
Avoiding Heat Damage
To avoid excessive heat damage, try to limit the amount of heat that is applied to hair. Letting locks dry naturally even partway before using a dryer will help minimize damage. Keeping the tool further away from hair helps prevent scorching, and use the lowest possible heat setting to accomplish the styling task. Do not apply heat to hair for lengthy periods of time - keep both the dryer and the hair moving to prevent concentrating the heat in one location. If you use hair dryers frequently, consider using heat-activated, leave in conditioners to safeguard your tresses from severe damage.
Heat Protection Products
In addition to heat-activated conditioners, regular dryer users should consider investing in periodic deep conditioning treatments as well as a daily conditioner. Because frequent dryer use can deplete hair's natural moisture, a moisturizing shampoo may also be a wise investment. If you are unsure whether or not your hair has been heat damaged, consult a professional stylist at your regular salon and ask for recommendations about protective measures.
Hair dryers are the most frequently used hair styling tools, but improper use can result in severe heat damage and dull, lifeless hair. To use a dryer effectively, choose the model that best suits your needs and try to limit the amount of heat you apply. Adding heat treatment products and conditioners can help moderate damage, and careful use can result in superior hair styles that never look like a dryer has been used at all.