Posted On Sep 09, 2016
By Jeanne Muchnick
When David Lopez, lead stylist for T3 hair tools, is asked to identify the most important part of a successful hair styling routine, his reply, every time, is: “Your blow dryer.” Shampoo, styling creams, and brushes are big, but if you neither dry your hair correctly nor select the best dryer for your hair, the results will fall flat. Here, the keys to deluxe, do-it-yourself blow-drying.
Watch Your Wattage
According to Fernando Romero, CEO and founder of the Bio Ionic line of hair tools, the most costly mistake women make is going for a high-wattage dryer, thinking it’s best because it dries hair rapidly. In reality, it dehydrates hair and makes it brittle. Instead, look for something in the 1400 to 1875 watt range. Keep in mind: If you’re using your hair dryer solely for bangs or setting curls, go for a lower number.
Invest In Technology
Sure, the $25 dryer at your drugstore looks passable. But long-term damage to your lustrous locks is a high price to pay, versus a resonable investment in your hair’s health. “A bad hair dryer can literally fry your hair,” notes Romero. “You may blame your shampoo, styling products, or hair stylist but if your hair’s not holding up, you should look at your dryer.”
Regular dryers use a hurricane-like, chaotic wind flow which damages the cuticle and can cause split ends, frizz, and fly-aways, explains Lopez. They also emit an unhealthy level of heat, without technology to mitigate the damage. A well-made hair dryer—such as those from T3, Bio Ionic, or CHI, cost within the $200 range but you’ll notice a difference almost immediately. Each boasts its own science, meant to seal moisture into the cuticle rather than dry it from the outside-in.
Look for ceramic heating technology, which produces moist heat that won’t dry locks, says Lisa Marie Garcia, VP of Shows & Education for Farouk Systems, the makers of CHI. She suggests buying a dryer with “far infrared,” which is safer for the environment and reduces electric magnetic fields (EMF). Other buzz words: Ionic, which creates negative ions to smooth hair and lock in moisture, and tourmaline, which magnifies ionic technology for faster drying and more shine.
Consider Your Hair Type
Not all hair is created equal. Heat levels should be adjusted to suit hair’s texture and condition. High heat is best for thick or coarse tresses; low settings are best for thin or fragile hair. Chemically treated hair should also be kept at a lower wattage to retain color.
Consider something lightweight to ensure comfort as you style and dry. Also get something quiet, so that no one else’s slumber will be disturbed as you style.
The right product is crucial, as is your drying technique. Towel blot hair post-shampoo to remove excess water. Consider the dryer temperature and speed that’s best for you—low heat and speed for fine hair, medium or high for thick, coarse hair. To avoid any over-drying, keep the dryer at least eight inches from your hair. Blow dry from roots to ends using either a round or paddle brush. Romero advises starting from the back to the front, drying your head 75 percent before styling with a low setting. Seal hair with a stream of cool air to lock in your great look, give you bounce, and maximize your shine.
Bio Ionic 10X Dryer
NanoIonic mineral technology makes this dryer ideal for smoothing and shining hair. At less than 1 pound, this ionic dryer is also very “green” with a brushless motor that uses 75 percent less energy than average dryers ($329, ulta.com).
CHI Touch Screen Dryer
Four screen options make it easy to choose temperatures, speeds, and ions. Like all CHI blow dryers, it features low EMFs meaning it’s safer for the environment ($200, ulta.com).
T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i
This ionic, tourmaline powerful blow dryer slashes dry time in half without doing damage. Its proprietary infusion process cancels static and seals the cuticle, helping hair retain natural moisture. It’s also light and quiet ($250, sephora.com).