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What to keep in mind when buying a hair dryer

What to keep in mind when buying a blow dryer
(Image credit: Future)

Long before we started blow-drying, we researched high-performing products, spoke with stylists and interviewed customer support specialists to help us come up with our short-list of the best hair dryers. Through this, we learned how to choose versatile, affordable blow dryers with advanced heating technologies that are kinder to hair. 

Hair stylists from Modern Salon taught us the differences between ceramic, ionic and tourmaline heating technologies. We also learned how an ALCI safety device makes a plug inoperable if you happen to drop your hair dryer in the bathtub. Here is everything you need to know when buying a new hair dryer...

What are the different types of blow dryer technology?

Heating technology plays a role in protecting your hair, and you’ll want to choose the technology that works best for your hair type. Ceramic and tourmaline technologies are good for controlling and distributing heat and work well on curly or fine hair. However, tourmaline is not recommended for thin hair. Ionic hair dryers speed drying time and combat frizz. 

They suit damaged and thick hair well, but aren’t as effective if you’re looking for volume, lift and movement. Nanotechnology infuses hair with moisture and provides far-infrared heat. It dries hair faster with minimal damage by penetrating the hair shaft from within. 

Thermal technology provides constant heat, even heat at every setting. While titanium heat works well on thick, heavy hair, it’s not recommended if your hair is prone to damage.

A hairdresser drying long dark hair

(Image credit: Future)

Does the temperature of the blow dryer matter?

Some hair dryers have multiple heat settings. You should pick the temperature you use based on your hair type and the style you're trying to achieve. It's important to use the correct temperature to limit damage to your locks. You should use the lowest heat setting possible if you have fine hair, as it's more prone to breaking. 

Breakage becomes even more of an issue when fine hair is heated up. Even if you have really thick hair, you most likely shouldn't use the highest heat setting available. When drying your hair, slow and steady is the best way to go.

HAI Beauty Concepts recommends using heat up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for fine hair. You can use a hair dryer with temperature up to 400°F on average hair. If you have particularly textured or thick hair, you can up it to 450°F. If you’re unsure how hot your hair dryer gets, check the instructions or packaging. 

You should also be careful about how hot your hair dryer is when storing it. Give the dryer a minute or two to cool down before letting it come in contact with any sensitive or flammable surfaces.

Most hair dryers also come with a button that shoots a blast of cold air when pressed. According to the Huffington Post, this button should be used once your hair is about 80 percent dry. Using the cold air seals the hair cuticle and makes the final look appear shinier and last longer. That way, you can get your hair completely dry without frying it. 

What warranty can you expect?

Warranties on blow dryers range in length from one to four years, with two years being the average. If you need customer service, most companies offer email and telephone support, and some offer live chat as well.

Looking for more hair care content? Then take a look at our guide to the best hair clippers for cutting your own hair at home, or the best electric head shavers for taking it all off. 

Erlingur Einarsson
Erlingur is a 12-year veteran of publishing, both in print and online. Film lover, basketball fan, functioning coffee addict, he was previously a film journalist, freelance writer, and editor of Photoshop Creative magazine before channelling his passion for software and home improvement through TopTenReviews.