A salon blow-dry will make you look and feel like a new person. Unfortunately, most of us can’t afford the luxury of paying someone else to dry our hair on a regular basis. The alternative is drying your hair at home. Luckily, you have many options when it comes to hair dryers, and most of them won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Before you invest in a hair dryer, especially if you plan to use it often, it is worth knowing exactly what it is intended to do. If you understand the process, you will be less likely to overdry your hair and cause damage.
Airflow plus heat
A simple hair dryer is held in your hand, and blows air through the hair strands. The hair dryer wattage (e.g. 1300W) indicates how fast and hard the air blows out. The air can be heated if you wish. You can choose the heat setting for a reason – hot air dries your hair faster, both by blowing off water molecules and heating them enough to cause them to turn to steam. Cool air can be used for long periods to dry long or thick hair, once it is no longer sopping wet. A combination of cool and hot air pushed out by a machine with decent wattage, will dry your hair quickly and effectively.
Don’t overdo the heat
Healthy hair has a good coating of natural oils, which trap some moisture against the hair shaft. Without that bit of moisture, your hair looks dry and is prone to breaking. By using a high heat setting for too long, you will strip your hair of this moisture coating. Bursts of heat are great for getting your hair to dry fast, but most of the work should be done by the airflow itself.
Ionic Hair Dryers
In addition to the simple blow and heat functions, ionic dryers produce negative ions. These help break down water molecules, speeding up drying time. However, you still have to be careful of overdrying, as the result of removing all those water molecules is the same as too much heat – brittle, dull hair.
Ceramic Hair Dryers
Ceraminc hair dryers use infrared heat, which causes less damage to the hair. They are intended for gentle, everyday drying.
Tourmaline Hair Dryers
These combine the technologies of ionic and ceramic dryers. If you have particularly thick hair and dry often, this a great choice as it gives a silky finish and protects the hair from overheating. However, these dryers are understandably more expensive. Lets see if you can find an inexpensive hair dryer with such technology.
Make the most of your hair dryer
- Apply a heat protection product before styling
- Go for more power and less heat
- If you are in a hurry, concentrate on drying your roots and let the length air dry
- Dryer attachments can make life much easier – a diffuser can spread heat over a wide area (great for curly hair) and a concentrator will let you focus on styling one area at a time