Depending on the length of your hair, how you dry it might require a lengthy routine after your shower or simply a quick zhuzh up with a towel. But it’s important to get a hair dryer that suits your needs — whether that’s one that’s designed for long hair, one that dries hair quickly, or one that can treat Afro-textured hair without damaging it. We spoke to seven people in the hair-care industry, including salon owners, beauty brand founders, and award-winning stylists, to find out the best hair dryers for every type of person.
Best-rated overall hair dryer
Five out of our seven experts recommended the Parlux compact hairdryer. Danielle Maguire of Bangs London said it has loads of excellent features. “Parlux has always been a firm favourite for most salons. They are sturdy, heavy duty, powerful, feature an extra-long wire and two nozzle attachments, making it a very trusty option.” Kim Cowans, founder of Skimdo, the hair cream whose fans include FKA Twigs, said she loves the design. “Not only does it feel like ’60s futurism, but it has a silencer, which is very Bond Girl. It’s perfect for travel.” She added that the ionic technology “gives static hair the hoof.” While Jack Ball, education director at Richy Hair in Chelsea, specifically mentioned Parlux’s stay-cool technology. “It’s arguably the best option for the more accident prone as you won’t ever burn your hands picking it up.” Experts also liked it’s affordability, especially as it’s not compromising in power or quality. Adam Jones, ops manager of Live True London, which has salons in Nine Elms and Brixton, particularly likes how good it is for different hair types. “It’s a highly reliable hairdryer; a super smoother and great for both sleek and shiny blow-dries and fast diffused curls with zero frizz.”
Best-rated luxury hair dryer
Four experts recommended the Dyson hair dryer, though all agreed it was on the more expensive side. “I know a hairdresser who has painful wrists from years of using heavy dryers, who says the Dyson is much lighter and eliminates any pain,” says Andrea Harvey, aka The Vegan Hairdresser. It features a faster motor, and has 13 blades rather than the usual 11, meaning it spins so fast it is less audible to humans. “The motor is also in the handle, thus making the balance and handling much easier. Less repositioning is required, essentially, and the motor being in the handle means the back of the dryer doesn’t sick in hair if held too close,” Harvey adds. “It’s perfect for reducing the risk of long-term issues with your hands and wrists,” says Jones. Maguire, who calls it “The Chanel of the hairdryer world,” says that the five attachments include a comb to use on Afro-textured hair. “It allows the air to get into the root area, without disturbing the curl. They have catered for every hair type in this product, and it really is the best dryer out there.” Ball noted that the technology uses fast air to “push” water out the hair, rather than rely on high temperatures. “This makes it ideal for finer hair, or for those that have a lot of highlights.”
Best-rated salon-style hair dryer
Three-time award-winning hairdresser Charlotte Mensah says that the GHD Helios hair dryer delivers a “salon-worthy blow dry” thanks to the brushless motor, which delivers airflow of up to 120 kmh. “More importantly, it has a built in ionic technology that locks in moisture while drying your hair. That adds 30 percent more shine to Afro-textured hair, and helps tighten cuticles, leaving you with a sleek and smooth-looking blow dry.” Ball adds that it “performs like a dream”, reducing blow-drying times. He recommends it for thicker hair or anyone looking to smooth out waves and curls because it’s so fast.
Best-rated hair dryer for Afro-textured hair
Though the Dyson model was mentioned by two of our experts for Afro-textured hair, Deborah Johnson, of Simply G Hair in Kilburn, recommended the Wahl Powerpik. “It’s our mainstay hair dryer in our salon. It’s a classic fail-safe for us, as we do a lot of braiding styles, and the PowerPik attachment allows us to stretch hair pre-braiding with efficiency and ease.” The Pik has long, heat-resistant teeth, which Johnson says “allows for easy gripping and maneuvering of the dryer as we work around the hair.” The settings are simple and easy to use, she says, adding that it’s easy to blow out Afro-textured hair without causing any damage.
Best-rated quick-drying hair dryer
Harvey said that Panasonic’s use of different heat settings helped dry hair really fast. “With the dryer’s condenser nozzle, it emits both strong and weak airflow, which separates each strand of hair to allow for faster drying,” she says. Both the temperature and fan speed are adjustable, and the dryer also comes with a diffuser attachment for distributing air more evenly. “This nozzle is quite small, so if you have a lot of hair, this might not be the best option,” Harvey says. “But for a dryer to come with this included in the price makes it even better value.”
Best-rated travel-size hair dryer
For a hair dryer you can take in your suitcase, Maguire recommends the compact dryer by T3. “The handle is foldable, so it’s perfect for packing as it takes up barely any room,” she says. “But don’t be fooled by its size: it still has the power and technology to dry hair in record time.” Maguire said it also cancels static and seals cuticles to reduce frizz. “It has a ‘cool shot’ button, to help retain the natural moisture in the hair, enhancing shine.”
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