Hi, I'm Celeste and you might know me as the founder of Tiny Hair Workshop, and the girl who makes AirWaves - launching this year! Although I almost never blowdry my hair anymore due to using this awesome product, I work with blowdryers every day in the salon as a hairstylist!
Let’s talk blow dryers! Specifically, how in the heck do you choose the right blow dryer for you? I get asked this question a lot in the salon. Most blogs on blowdryers highlight three blowdryers at different price points. In my opinion, this is slightly helpful in terms of giving you options but doesn’t really help you choose. Or, there will be a whole blog post on the Dyson blowdryer. I’m giving you another, more pragmatic, thoughtful way of choosing a blowdryer. This three-step method will allow you to pick the right blowdryer for YOU, not the one I think is best.
Step 1: Cut Through the Marketing Crap
How do you know if these features will benefit you or not?
First, companies who are trying to sell you a blowdryer are going to highlight extra features that will likely have no major impact on your final result. For example, having a blowdryer with hot, medium, low, and cool (4) settings is likely going to work just as well as a blowdryer with hot, medium and cool (3). Also, you don’t need a blowdryer with more than one concentrator nozzle (I’ve seen blowdryers that come with 2 or 3!), and if you don’t diffuse your hair, you don’t need a blowdryer that comes with a diffuser. It’s easy to get sucked into the “more is more” school of thought, but not in this case. (That being said, if the blow dryer you want comes with all this stuff, that’s fine too!)
Let’s talk about the words that NO ONE UNDERSTANDS: ionic, tourmaline, far-infrared, ceramic.
It’s fairly standard for new blowdryers to come with one or more of these features, but don’t worry if your blowdryer doesn’t have them all. I’ll be honest with you - I didn’t even know what all of these meant, and when I went to research them, I found conflicting answers (so nobody else knows what they mean, either. Great!) Across the board, we’re looking at faster drying times, faster water evaporation, smoother hair, and less frizz. My blowdryer has a switch where you can toggle between an ionic blowdry (smoother and less frizz) or a non-ionic blowdry (more volume) and I HAVE NEVER NOTICED A DIFFERENCE. The message is: don’t get sucked into the marketing.
And finally, wattage: Don’t worry about it. Most blow dryers fall in the range of 1750 -1875 watts. I have used a 1750, 1850, and 1875 watt blowdryer. They all worked great. How about this - the Dyson blowdryer is only 1600 watts! Depending on the blowdryer’s motor technology, it’s possible to create more output with less wattage.
Step 2: Focus on the 3 W’s - Weight, Width, and Warranty
You’ll notice that I did not include price in these 4 W’s. Why? Well, price doesn’t start with a W. Sorry. Really though, everyone has a different budget and also, more expensive doesn’t always mean better.
I will only purchase blow dryers that are between 1 and 1.5 pounds, and my goal is to stay at one pound. Why? Because blowdrying hair sucks. It takes time. It’s hard. And lifting something heavy over your head, day after day, is not fun. Unless you’re lifting weights, which I completely support. But buying a heavy blowdryer, that is something I cannot get on board with. Find this info in the “details” section about the blowdryer. Remember you are looking for the weight, not the “packaged weight” which includes the box and attachments. Also, try to look on the manufacturer’s website for this info - Amazon often does not have the correct weight information.
Nobody takes about this, but it’s a thing. And you will not find measurements for this, you just need to use your eyeballs to guesstimate. The width I’m talking about is from the end of the nozzle to the butt of the dryer (see photo). Why do we care? I’ll tell you why. Imagine holding a blowdryer that’s got a lot of width up to your head. Now put a concentrator nozzle on it. Wait, that just added 3 inches! Now you’re holding a heavy object even further away from your head and body. This is more work, and becomes more unwieldy, especially if you are multi-tasking by using a brush AND a blowdryer - why do we do this to ourselves? Sigh. Anyway, buy a shorter-nozzled blowdryer.
With the concentrator nozzle, the Harry Josh blowdryer on the left is 8.25" wide, while the Super Solano blowdryer on the right is 12" wide. BIG difference!
If you are purchasing a blowdryer under $100, you’ll generally get a 30-60 day return policy at the store you purchased from and a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. However, if your blowdryer costs over $100, make sure that you get one that offers a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. It’s unfortunate, but it definitely happens that the motor dies out, a button falls off, a short happens, etc. How upset are you going to be that you bought an expensive blowdryer that died after 1 year and 3 days and you can’t do anything about it? I’d start making chocolate chip cookie dough to eat without ever actually baking it. I’d be at that level of despair.
I generally stay away from purchasing blowdryers/curling irons/flat irons on Amazon because you aren’t always purchasing from an authorized retailer. In these cases, the manufacturer’s warranty is not applied (sometimes you can buy an extended warranty from Amazon, though). It’s generally a safe bet to purchase from Ulta, Sephora, Dermstore, or direct from the blowdryer company. Remember to save your receipt!
Step 3: Think About the Details
See if any of these apply to you when making your final choice in a blowdryer.
How often do you blow-dry your hair?
If you blow-dry your hair 3-7 days a week, it might be worth spending more on your blowdryer and getting that 2-year warranty for something that will last you longer.
Can I travel with this blow dryer?
Shorter-nozzled blowdryers that weigh around a pound are great to travel with, but they still take up a considerable amount of space. Travel-size blowdryers are nice to have and take up about half the space of a regular-sized blowdryer, but they usually have fewer options in terms of speed and heat settings. In terms of efficacy, travel blowdryers work slightly better than in-wall hotel blowdryers. If you must take your blowdryer with you overseas, please bring a converter, not an adapter. Adapters do not change the voltage and you risk the chance of frying your motor. A converter will save the day.
Is this a good blowdryer for diffusing?
Sometimes shorter-nozzled blowdryers are not good for diffusing, for a few reasons. The nozzle end may be very wide which prevents one from using a universal diffuser on the end (worth noting if your blowdryer does not come with a diffuser). Also, the amount of forced air being shot through that short of a canister with a wide nozzle is so great that the air coming through the diffuser is more forceful than "diffused". If you diffuse more often than not, get a longer-nozzled blowdryer.
This universal diffuser doesn't fit the wide canister, and the blowdryer shape makes the airflow too forceful to use it with the diffuser it came with.
Is this blowdryer cool/hip/pretty?
Chances are, you are either the kind of person who just wants the damn thing to do its job and dry your hair, or you want it to do that and look good in an Instagram selfie too. It’s ok, we want to use pretty things while we make ourselves pretty. And hey, it’s cool to want to have pretty stuff. Just make sure that’s not the main reason you’re getting it. If the 3 W’s are in line and the dryer meets your price point and it has flames on the side of it and you absolutely MUST HAVE IT YESTERDAY, do it. No one loves blowdrying their hair, so you might as well love looking at it while you’re at it.
Is this blowdryer quiet?
Blowdryers are loud. This is not fake news! Ok, ok, some are quieter than others. Some reviewers might say one is quiet, and someone else said it woke their baby up while they were blowdrying the baby’s hair. I mean, the nerve! Look, you just gotta test it out, and realize that it may either be louder than your previous blowdryer or quieter, but at the end of the day, it makes noise. The nerve! Anyway, that’s what 30-60 day return policies are for and THAT is why America is great.
Should I consider other people’s online reviews?
Yes, if every review says the blowdryer sucks and it has 20+ reviews (maybe it's not worth the chance). And yes, if it has 100+ reviews that are mostly 4-5 star (if lots of people say it's good, maybe it is!). Otherwise, no. This is because what I need from a blowdryer is different from what you need. And just because it has no reviews doesn’t mean it isn’t good. But who am I kidding? We all buy based off of reviews. Just make sure the blowdryer fits the parameters for what YOU need.
And finally, the one thing everyone wonders.....
WTF IS THE COOL SHOT BUTTON FOR?
Is it a panic button? An oh-god-here-comes-another-hot-flash button? Actually, this button is best used to set your style when using the blowdryer in tandem with a brush. I know, that sounds like A LOT of unnecessary work! When you wrap your hair around the brush and blow hot air on it, you can then follow up with the cool shot button which will help the style set for more bounce, curl, and shine.
Hopefully, I've armed you with enough information to cut through the BS and find a blowdryer that does what everyone hopes it will do...dry your hair! Do you have a favorite blowdryer, or tips for choosing a great one? Let us know in the comments!