Blow Dryers: The Facts
Blow Dryers: The Facts
Karen M. Shelton, Dedicated to FFOS
Revised Date: 11/24/06 - Original Publication Date: 8/10/2001

Introduction

Before the invention of the modern hair dryer, known as blow dryers, which revolutionized the hair care industry, anyone that wanted to speed dry their tresses had to sit under the old fashioned hood or bonnet heating devices.

The blow dryers of 2006 are a far cry from the very first portable dryers that evolved basically from a vacuum cleaner so many years ago.

As the blow dryer industry has blossomed, so too have the available models and dizzying array of special features.  Today's blow dryers come in a mind blowing assortment of sizes, shapes, colors and prices. 

In some ways, buying a blow dryer can be as complicated as selecting a car. 

Basic Facts About Blow Dryers

Consider the following facts when selecting a new blow dryer:

1.  One size blow dryer does not fit all. 
2.  Models are designed specifically for either the professional industry or the consumer industry. 
3.  You generally get exactly what you pay for.
4.  There are no such things as "the best" blow dryers.  The reality is that what is best for one person may be the worst for another.
5.  The majority of all blow dryers, both professional and consumer are imported.  Just like some car models, the same engine will be packaged in different casings with different options and different price tags.
6.  Blow dryer models should be selected to match the best fit for your hair type, texture, styling needs and lifestyle.
7.  Prices on blow dryer models have fallen over the years allowing consumers to select more than one dryer for different needs such as home use versus travel.
8.  Only purchase blow dryers with tons of special features (cold button, multiple heat settings, diffuser attachments, concentrators, etc.,) if you plan to use all of the features.

One Size Blow Dryer Does Not Fit All

Hairboutique.com's Marketplace has been carrying consumer based blow dryers for over five years.  As a result, I have personally poured over stacks of catalogs as well as trying out literally hundreds of models.  Blow dryer technology continues to change and evolve at a rapid rate. 

Over the years blow dryers have morphed through new technologies that include ceramic, ionic and turbo charging.  The traditional hair dryers of even ten years ago, are long gone.  If you are looking for a blow dryer with hurricane wind speeds and heat wave temperatures, you will may have to look long and hard.  As each new drying technology is introduced, the old standby models have faded away.

Professional Versus Consumer

Most consumers do not need to invest in a professional model hairdryer unless they have very unique blow drying needs or plan to have at least 8-10 people use the dryer every day for long periods of time. 

Licensed hairdressers use their professional models all day long on anywhere from 10 to 15 clients.  They also push the envelope on their dryers, switching them on and off and changing temperatures from hot to cold and back again.

Professional hair dryers are designed for intense wear and tear.  As a result, the price tag reflects this fact.  If you're the type of person that names your inanimate objects and hates changes, you may want to invest in a professional model and plan on keeping it for many years to come.  The downside to this plan is that you will miss out on any new advances in the blow drying industry, which changes rapidly.

You Get What You Pay For

Remember that the traditional companies like Conair and Remington offer warranties on all of their blow dryers.  The cheaper, no name models available at discounters may or may not offer warranties of any kind. 

Check this fact our carefully.  While you might save $5 or $10 bucks initially, in the long run, you could lose if your new dryer conks out after just a few months. 

Conair and Remington, depending on the model, offer anywhere from 6 months to 2 years for their different units.  Always check the outside of the box before you buy to make sure a warranty is included.

The Best Blow Dryer Is A Fallacy

Because the same identical blow dryer engine can be packaged by competitive companies, many blow dryers appear to be very similar.  This makes it less clear for consumers to which model or models are the "best". In reality, the very best blow dryer is the model that provides the best features for your hair type, texture, length and styling needs.

Not everyone needs a blow dryer with all the bells and whistles.  Someone with medium hair that utilizes their blow dryer to style their hair may not benefit as much from ionic features as someone that needs help with frizzy or damaged tresses. 

Whether you buy a striped down model or one that is fully loaded, the key is to buy based on your individual hair care and styling needs.

Special Features - Buy Only What You Need

Heat settings vary widely.  For most consumers a hair dryer that puts out 1500 to 1875 watts is fine.

The length of the cords on the dryers can range from very short to very long.  Most consumer experts recommend that you select a dryer with a cord that ranges from 6-9 feet.  Of course if you already have an over abundance of extension cords you can make do with a short cord.

Some models come with the automatic cord keeper which allows you, with the push of a button, to instantly snap the cord up into the handle of the dryer.  This is a great feature for neat freaks or for pet or baby proofing.

Attachments usually work best with designed for the specific hair dryer.  While it is possible to buy add-on pieces, there is always the risk that the add-on will not fit as snugly as the model designed specifically for one of the blow dryers.

Weight and portability is key.  Some blow dryers are very light while others are much heavier.  Depending on how long you spend anchored to your blow dryer, you should consider the ease of lighting and waving of the unit.

If you have naturally curly or wavy hair that tends to frizz, make sure your blow dryer has the appropriate finger or short diffuser attachments.  You might wish to invest in both.

Majority Are Imported

The majority of all blow dryers, both professional and consumer are imported into the United States from other countries such as Italy, China, Southeast Asia and South America.  J

ust like some car models, the same engine will be packaged in different casings with different options and different price tags.

Buy For Your Hair Type, Texture & Styling

Get the proper motor strength for your hair. Thick or long hair requires a dryer with enough power to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time. 1500 watts is sufficient.

Less strength is needed if your hair is thin, fine or just dries quickly. When I work I use high heat to finish the task as quickly as possible, unless the hair is very fragile, then I use medium or low heat.

Prices Have Fallen Over The Years

Blow dryer prices have fallen over the years so take advantage and select more than one dryer for different needs such as home use versus travel.

Conair - Ceramic Compact Turbo DryerThe Conair Ceramic Compact Turbo Dryer replaced the Conair Ion Shine Folding Handle 149QI which was recommended by InStyle Magazine as a "best buy" for traveling purposes. 

The beauty of the Ceramic Compact Turbo is that is combines the even heat distribution of Ceramic Heat Technology to prevent "hot spot".  Like its predecessor it contains:

  • Ceramic Dual Heat Technology
  • 1875 Watts of Drying Power
  • Folding Handle
  • Quiet Tone Motor
  • 2 Heat/Speed Settings
  • Dual Voltage
  • Concentrator Attachment
  • Nonslip Bumpers
  • UL Listed
  • One Year Warranty

Other highly rated Conair travel dryers include:

The Conair 169RL with a folding handle and a retractable cord.  It the next generation of the Cord-Keeper and contains the following features:

  • Mid Size
  • 1875 Watts of Drying Power
  • Retractable Line Cord with Push Button Control
  • Cool Shot Button Locks Style in Place
  • 2 Heat/Speed Settings
  • Dual Voltage for Worldwide Travel
  • Folding Handle
  • UL Listed
  • Two Year Limited Warranty

Feature Creep

If you use your blow dryer every day and depend on it to be a primary source of styling assistance, you may wish to purchase a fully loaded model that includes all the latest technologies from ions and ceramic heat flow to a turbo charging option. 

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