The key to enjoying your curly hair is learning how to properly care for it. It’s different than straight hair and requires different cuts, shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. Some sites suggest and presume that air drying works best for curly hair, but that’s not true. Air drying can leave curly hair limp and lifeless. Proper hair drying adds definition, body, and bounce to curly hair. On top of that, if you want to, proper hair drying can beautifully straighten curly hair.
Curls are making a comeback
I have naturally curly hair. I’m a community theater actor and occasionally do background work. Casting directors often tell me that my hair looks out-of-place, untidy, and unsightly, even for someone who simply passes by the main actors on the street, works beside them in the office, or fills in the tables around them at a restaurant.
For years, curly haired women spent hours and thousands of dollars each year straightening their tresses with chemical relaxers and hair dryers.
In recent times, though, curls are becoming popular once again. Women are finally loving their natural hair. In fact, loving one’s natural hair has become a movement and a matter of pride. It’s influenced women to embrace their backgrounds and love their natural beauty. All of it. That’s both wonderful and empowering.
Hair Dryers by Type
For curly hair, a plain, simple hair dryer simply won’t cut it. Different hair dryers do different things well. Here is a break down of the different types of hair dryers.
- Ceramic Hair Dryers: ceramic is a chemically bonded material designers usually make with clay. It’s usually found in the hair dryer’s heating element, internal coating part, and/or body. It generates an infrared heat that infiltrates the hair shaft and maintains sheen and moisture. Ceramic hair dryers disperse heat evenly and regulate temperature.
- Titanium Hair Dryers: titanium is a chemical element that manufacturers use in the hair dryer’s drying element. It sustains a steady temperature and dries hair faster than other hair dryers, including ceramic hair dryers. Such also diminishes the damage and frizz overheating causes. Titanium weighs less than other metals and other constituents like ceramic, so these hair dryers are also lighter.
- Ionic Hair Dryers: these hair dryers utilize negative ion technology. Wet hair is blanketed with positive ions, so when the hair dryer releases negative ions, they seal moisture within hair cuticles and produce fuller, shinier, sleeker hair (non ionic hair dryers disperse positive ions, which open hair cuticles and cause frizz).
- Tourmaline Hair Dryers: these hair dyers also use negative ion technology. Tourmaline is a semi-precious gem. Manufacturers integrate ground tourmaline into the heating units and other core mechanisms of the hair dryers. When the hair dryer is turned on, the gem releases a steady flow of far infrared light and negative ions that also fuse moisture within hair cuticles, diminishing frizz. These hair dryers, however, work on hair from the inside and produce less heat damage.
The Top 16 Hair Dryers for Curly Hair
Now that you know the terminology, you’ll better understand how some of these hair dryers work (some will be straightforward hair dryer types, some will combine types).
Rusk Engineering W8less Professional 2000 Watt Dryer
This is a combination tourmaline and ceramic hair dryer, so it works with negative ionic technology, disperses heat evenly, and regulates temperature. It offers 2000 watts of power, so it’s nice and powerful (higher wattages reduce drying time and lessen frizz and are, thus, better for thicker hair), yet it’s quiet. It has seven speeds and a cold shot button, which you use when your hair is nearly dry to add sheen and protect your look. It works well with all hair lengths, all types of curls, and is easy to clean. This is a well-liked and highly rated hair dryer. The majority of buyers considered it high quality and an excellent purchase for both curly and straight looks. Some complained that the diffuser and nozzle attachments tended to fall off.
Solano Top Power 3200 Professional Hair Dryer
This is an ultra strong combination ceramic and tourmaline hair dryer. It’s ergonomically designed, which makes it easier to hold, and has two concentrators, which makes it especially suitable for straightening. It’s compact, so it’s appropriate for daily use and travel. It’s a pro hair dryer for the daily user. It’s high wattage and powerful motors make it particularly useful for those who wish to straighten thick curly hair (as weaker hair dryers may not have adequately straightened their hair). The majority of buyers were pleased with this hair dryer. Many noted that it got very hot and that it had a long cord. Some liked and appreciated these two aspects and thought they were necessary and helpful, while others did not.
Infiniti Pro by Conair Advanced Brushless Motor Styling Tool
This 2000 watt ionic and titanium hair dryer generates heat quickly and dries hair fast. It comes with a concentrator nozzle and diffuser. It has two speeds, three temperatures, and a nine-foot cord. It also comes with noise reduction technology. The majority of buyers were pleased with their purchase. Others disliked the new location of the buttons and, even with its technology, thought it was still loud and blew out air very strongly.
Conair 1875 Watt Cord Keeper Hair Dryer
This is both an ionic and ceramic hair dryer, so it regulates heat and disperses it evenly and utilizes negative ion technology, which lessens frizz. It comes in three colors (purple, black, magenta), has a retractable cord, and comes with a concentrator nozzle and diffuser. It has two heat settings, three speeds, and a cold shot. It’s convenient for daily use and travel. Most were pleased with their purchase. Some noted that the retractable cord did not work well and that it took a while for the hair dryer to dry their hair.
BaBylissPRO Porcelain Ceramic 2800 Dryer
This is an ionic, ceramic hair dryer, so it works with negative ionic technology, disperses heat evenly, and controls heat, frizz, and static. It comes with a concentrator nozzle, which helps with straightening, has six speed and heat settings, a removable filter for cleaning, and a cold shot button (see Rusk). It works very quickly and quietly. Most buyers liked this hair dryer, especially for straightening purposes. They said that it worked quickly and left their hair smooth and they liked that they did not need a straightening iron afterward. Some noted that it was heavy.
Panasonic EH-NA65-K nanoe Hair Dryer, Professional
This ionic hair dryer comes with a concentrator nozzle, pik comb, and a diffuser. It has two speeds and three temperature settings. It actually takes moisture out of the air and infuses it into the hair. It’s also gentle, so it would work particularly well for those with dry hair. It leaves hair full of body, smooth, shiny and soft, regardless of style. Most buyers were very happy with this hair dryer. They said that it worked very well. Some complained that it was heavy.
Berta 1875w Professional Blow Dryer Negative Ionic Ceramic Hair Dryer
This two speed, powerful, easy-to-hold, ionic and ceramic hair dryer has three heat settings, a long cord, and a hanging loop. It’s neatly designed and comes in a pretty maroon color. It dries fast and comes with four attachments: two concentrator nozzles, a pik comb (for straightening), and a diffuser.
Beautural Professional 1875W Hair Dryer Styler
This ionic hair dryer comes with a concentrator nozzle and a diffuser, so it’s designed to create bouncy curls and straighten, without frizz. It’s lightweight and the handle is ergonomically designed. It has two speeds, three heat levels, and a cold shot. Most were satisfied with this hair dryer and liked it a lot. Several complained of a burning smell.
Warmlife 1875W Professional AC Motor Hair Dryer, Negative Ions Ceramic Ionic Blow Dryer
This three-layer ceramic and tourmaline hair dryer works with far infrared and negative ion technology, so it taps into your hair’s natural moisture and either maintains curls or straightens them. It has two heat and power settings and cold shot. It shines and smooths your hair while safeguarding it against damage and over-drying. It comes with two nozzles and a diffuser for both straight and curly styles. Most buyers liked this hair dryer very much and were happy with their purchase. Very few complained about it.
John 2200W Professional Hair Dryer
This tourmaline and ceramic hair dryer makes sure that the temperature doesn’t damage your hair and also prevents frizz. The diffuser collapses into a concentrator, should you wish to use it for straighening. Many buyers were extremely pleased with their purchase. A few indicated that the nozzle and diffuser fell off and that the hair dryer stopped working after a short time.
Jinri 1875w Professional Salon Hair Dryer
This lightweight, easy to manage hair dryer is attractive, as well as comfortable, plus it works really well. It has three heat setting, two speed settings, and a cold shot. It works well on most hair types, is very easy to use and comes with a concentration nozzle. Straightened hair turns out smooth and sleek. It’s designed for everyone to use. Most were happy with their purchases. Some noted that it was heavy and got extremely hot.
GHD Hair Dryer
This 1600 watt tourmaline hair dryer maintains a continual flow of heat throughout your hair and seals moisture in the follicle. Designers made it so a left-handed person could hold it as easily as a right-handed person. It comes with two concentrator nozzles and a loop for hanging. It has a cold shot, three heat settings, and two speeds. You can choose rose gold or vintage pink. Buyers were mostly quite pleased with this hair dryer. Some claimed that it was heavy.
Conair 1800 Watt Curl Fusion Ionic Ceramic Styler
This ceramic hair dryer looks land acts like a diffuser. It does, however, come with an additional diffuser attachment, so it’s really for those who wish only to wear their hair curly. It leaves curls bouncy and full of volume. It has two heat settings. Most users liked this hair dryer very much. Some, though, felt that it took long to dry their hair and didn’t work well with coarse hair
Anything and everything DevaCurl makes is going to make curly hair look beautiful, so rest assured whenever you see a DevaCurl product and know that it will do what it says. This ergonomically designed, 1600 watt ionic hair comes with a unique, hand-shaped diffuser, which disperses air in a 60-degree pattern. Such adds volume at the crown and delivers lively, frizz free curls. Most buyers really liked this hair dryer, especially the diffuser. Some, however, didn’t like the diffuser.
Xtava Ionic Blow Dryer Voluminous Toolkit
This ionic hair dryer comes with a diffuser and concentrator nozzle. Its strong motor and airflow reduced drying time in half, which can cut your getting ready routine. It has two speeds, two heat settings, and works well with all types and lengths of hair. (those with thick, long hair should use the high setting and those with thin short hair should use fragile). It also has a cold shot. The majority was very pleased with their purchase. Some claimed it made their electricity go off.
Bio Ionic 10X Ultralight Speed Dryer
This lightweight hair dryer comes with a ten-year warranty. It has a unique system that’s reputed to be the fasted hair dryer, so it’s recommended for those who wish to straighten or dry thick, curly hair. It has three heat settings and a cold shot. Many buyers raved over this hair dryer and considered it the best they ever owned. Some, however, felt that it got too hot.
Hair Dryer Attachments
Attachments such as diffusers and concentrator nozzles are noted in some of the above hair dryers. It’s important to make sure that, when you order these hair dryers online, should you want these attachments, make sure they’re distinctly listed as part of the order. In some situations, they’re not actually sold with the hair dryer. The provided links should have the attachments.
If you don’t already know the difference between the attachments, they are as follows:
- Concentrator Nozzle: this is a cone like attachment. It concentrates hot air directly onto hair. It’s useful for reducing frizz and smoothing and straightening hair.
- Pik Comb: this is like a concentrator nozzle, but with comb-like prongs on the end. They help with straightening, detangling, and smoothing. A pik comb also focuses the warm air and helps straighten hair.
- Diffuser: this is a large, round attachment that spreads the warm air into a wide area. Diffusers add bounce and texture to curly hair and wavy hair. Some diffusers have prongs. Some diffusers are shaped like hands.
How to Use a Hair Dryer to Add Volume and Bounce to Your Curls
Here’s how to add volume and bounce to your curls with a hair dryer:
- after washing your hair with either a sulfate-free shampoo or no poo shampoo, rinse but do not use a towel.
- Apply heat protectant to your damp hair
- insert duckbill clips to the crown of your head (this allows dispersed air to reach the roots and add volume).
- set your hair dryer to medium
- attach diffuser to hair dryer
- hang your head upside down or sideways
- move the diffuser around your head. You can press it against your head, too (don’t worry, it won’t hurt)
- don’t yet pull out curl formation and don’t brush
- when hair is eighty to ninety percent dry, crunch or tease roots gently
How to Use a Hair Dryer to Straighten Your Hair
You can also straighten your curly hair for a change of pace, to achieve a different look, or if it’s a style you simply prefer. Here’s how to straighten your hair with a hair dryer:
- wash and condition as usual
- towel dry with a microfiber towel (they’re much less damaging)’
- apply a straightening spray or cream
- using clips, divide hair into three sections (two sides and back)
- attach a concentrator nozzle or pik comb to hair dryer
- using a round brush, gather a section
- direct heat onto section and pull hair upwards (so it adds volume and doesn’t damage it)
- repeat with other sections
Advancement in hair care has helped make curls look especially fabulous these days. Curls are divided into types, there are specialty cuts for curly hair, and there are a plethora of products to help your tresses look their best, regardless of what style you choose. And, there’s that one tool on which every curly girl can depend on: the hair dryer.