I only use the word “investment” when referring to certain beauty products, because for things only meant to last a short while, that word can feel like a stretch. But for items that you use regularly that should last for years, the word “investment” definitely applies when it comes to hair dryers. And here’s the good news: A good dryer that works well and is pleasant to use is worth the money, and there are options all across the price spectrum.
Here are some things to consider when shopping for a hair dryer that you can consider an investment in your routine.
Tips for Buying a Good Hair Dryer
Consider Your Hair Type
Watch Your Heat Settings
While most hair dryers have adjustable heat settings–going from cool, to medium, to super hot–that doesn’t mean you have to turn up the heat all the way to get the benefit of a good blow dry.
I use high heat, but always make sure to end each section with a cool shot. So that means dividing my hair into small sections–first using the high heat to dry (always make sure to point the dryer down the shaft of your hair, to prevent frizz!), and then ending with the cool shot to seal in the style.
Bottom line? Make sure your dryer at least has a “cool shot” button, and use it. Even drug store dryers will have these, so you’re covered at every price point.
Technology Matters, but Not that Much
I have spent money on every single type of fancy hair dryer out there–from innovative air flow, to ionic technology, to ceramic–and I can say this confidently. While I enjoy them all for different reasons, I don’t see a noticeable difference in my blowout due to the technology of the hair dryer alone.
Go for What Feels Good
Something that does matter? Ergonomics.
The way the hair dryer feels in your hand. The weight of it. Whether or not your arm gets tired when you hold it for an extended period of time.
That being said, let me share some of the main characteristics of the dryers that I have and use!
- Weight is mostly in the handle, with a super light nozzle
- Thicker to grip
- Medium weight
- Center of gravity is in the handle
- Arm doesn’t get tired when I use it, but it is awkward to set down while it’s still on. You might have to switch it off while you’re sectioning off your hair, because it easily falls off my bathroom counter due to the heavy handle and overall weight distribution.
- Super compact body style–heavier overall feel, almost like a free weight, but not that heavy
- Compact body style means it’s super easy to maneuver around your head. For longer hair, I found this to be helpful.
- Gives a quick, quick blow dry
- Feels heavy in your arm after a while (This is only an issue if it takes a while to dry your hair. It takes me around 25-30 minutes.)
- Stays put on the counter when you set it down while sectioning off hair.
- Extra long cord
- Intense, concentrated air flow
- Very powerful and dries my hair faster than any other dryer I have
- Expensive, but has lasted two+ years so far
- New model here
- On the more affordable side for luxury dryers
- Medium weight, weight distributed evenly between handle and nozzle
- A little more difficult to maneuver while drying the back of hair, due to weight
- Leaves hair smooth
- Ions emitted help with frizz
This is one item on the list I haven’t personally tried, but I have bought and used another Kristin Ess heat styling tool, and it was incredible. With all the amazing reviews this line consistently gets, this would absolutely be worth a try.