How to Pick a Hair Dryer

April 30th, 2010

A hair dryer is a very important part of your hair styling and hair care routine.  The single most important factor to consider is the heating element.  It’s no secret that heat can be dangerous and damaging when applied to hair day after day.  Even if you use a thermal protecting product, it’s still important to use a high quality hair dryer to prevent any damage.  Not all hair dryers dry hair in the same way and knowing the difference can really save your hair.

The least expensive hair dryers tent to use a metal or plastic heating element and this leads to a very intense, very uneven heat.  It essentially “cooks” the hair by boiling the water out of it.  Higher standard dryers are typically made with a ceramic drying element; similar to what is used in space heaters or other home heating technology.

You may have seen a hair drying boasting that it is an “ionic dryer.” On a cheap hair dryer (that’s not ionic), the heat will diffuse positive ions, and because hair cuticles are naturally neutral, this causes them to open and result in frizzy and poofy hair.  A high quality ionic dryer will  produce negative ions which “flatten” the neutral cuticle and trap moisture in so the hair stay sleek and shiny.

Just like in straightening irons, the settings on a hair dryer can be very beneficial.  Many come with a “high” or “low” option but it is also important to look for a “hot” or “cool” setting. Recently, dryers have been made with a “cool shot” or “cool blast” option.  This is perfect for finishing touches or to dry any finishing sprays or products.

A recent addition to hair dryers are all of the attachment options.  A person with thick, curly hair can avoid and hint of frizz with a diffuser.  This attachment diffuses hair between the ringlets to dry it faster, but more gently.  And using a nozzle or air stream tool is great for those who dry their hair with a brush.

The last important factor when buying hair dryer is the warranty.  Just like everything else, the warranty sometimes comes from the manufacturer and sometimes from the retailer.  The more expensive brands tend to have the better return, refund and repair options available so be sure to check it out before you invest in a dryer

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