Hair Dryers For Every Hair Type and Style

With the myriad of hair products on the market, sometimes it's hard to know what's really worth your money and what isn't. There are plenty of $200 hair dryers out there, and even more $20 hair dryers. Here's the question: is the more expensive option always worth it? Is the $200 dryer really that much better than the $20 dryer? Wondering what the differences are between drugstore, or cheaper brands, and the expensive brands used at the salon? Well, start with this revelation. Think about how nice your hair feels when you get a blowout at the salon. Part of that is your stylist's skill at maneuvering the brush and the dryer, of course - but part is also the hair dryer itself. Salon dryers are a lot more expensive, but you'd be surprised to learn that there is real innovation going into the more expensive dryers you see on the market. Here are some things to look out for when you're purchasing a new hair dryer.

Cheap hair dryers can be good for some people, but keep in mind that they use plastic or metal heating elements that don't conduct heat nearly as well as a more expensive material. That means, they burn with extremely intense heat - they dry your hair by literally cooking the water out of it. Ouch! Meanwhile, with more expensive hair dryers, ceramic heating is the standard. That's right, the same material that your flat iron is made out of. Ceramic heating is a much better conduit for heat. Consider that modern space heaters and the sort of heating technology you have in your home also often uses ceramic. There's a reason. Ceramic produces a different sort of heat than metal or plastic - it gives off something called far infrared heat, which is radiant heat. This means it penetrates the hair shaft in a way that's a lot safer than metal or plastic options. Instead of heating hair from the outside in, it works from the inside out, covering all bases equally. Ceramic dryers produce a much gentler heat, and for that reason, they're better. They won't be blasting your hair with boiling hot heat, nor will they be damaging it.
Cheaper dryers, on the other hand, use what's called positive ionic drying. Metal or plastic dryers diffuse positive ions, which cause the cuticles of the hair shaft to open while they dry. This is what causes frizz, as well as a duller all over hair appearance. Ionic hair dryers can also, however, be good for you - if they produce negative ions, which instead of frizzing up, cause the hair cuticle to lay flat, which traps the moisture in your hair and gives it more body. These dryers are popular because they dry hair faster, and can leave it smoother and much shinier than the average metal or plastic dryer that releases positive ions. Unlike plastic and metal coils that simply blast your hair with heat and effectively cook it, negatively charged ionic dryers break down the water molecules in your hair to dry it faster and more safely.

Another trend in the blow dryer world is the use of tourmaline dryers. These dryers, which are known as the fashion secret at runway shows, use tourmaline soft air technology to dry hair up to 70% faster than conventional dryers. This means hair has to take the heat for a much shorter period of time, which leads to shinier, healthier strands with reduced frizz, increased shine, and a whole lot of body. Tourmaline dryers use tourmaline gemstones, which are infused into the interiors of the professional hair dryers. When it's heated, tourmaline emits both negative ions and infrared heat, safely and quickly evaporating the water molecules in your hair, drying it from the inside out, instead of the outside in (the more harmful method). This seals the hair cuticle against frizz. In addition, tourmaline dryers are more likely to distribute air evenly, so that hair dries evenly. With cheap dryers, you won't necessarily get this even distribution of air.
Looking for the best hair dryer for your hair type and style? Go ahead and splurge. Whether you're looking for a dryer that uses ceramic heating or tourmaline heating, spending the extra bit of money will mean you'll get salon-style strands every day, without damaging your hair. No matter what kind of style you're looking to recreate, you'll be able to do so at home, with a dryer that cuts your styling time in half. In short, the answer is yes - those more expensive dryers are worth it, especially if you're the kind of person who heat styles your hair each day. If you're going to make your hair cuticles take the heat each day, the least you can do is do so safely.

Jennifer Payne is a freelance writer who writes about fashion and beauty products including professional hair dryers.