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What are the Different Types of Hair Dryers?

Amy Pollick
Updated May 17, 2024
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As long as women have styled their hair, they have looked for ways to make it dry faster, or to aid in styling it. As electricity became widely available, salons began installing hair dryers. This in turn led to home hair dryers of the bonnet or hood variety, which then evolved to the hand-held version.

A hair dryer blows out warm air to dry hair faster and aid in styling it. Countless movies, television shows and commercials have featured a row of women in a salon, hair in curlers, sitting under dryers and reading magazines. When the hair came out of the curlers, it required only combing to style.

Hair dryers serve a convenience purpose nowadays, as much as a stylish one. Many women who shower in the morning find these devices a must if they are to go to work with neatly styled hair. And technology is always looking for a better method of drying the hair without damaging it.

For years, hand-held dryers had metal coils inside that heated to produce warm or hot air. The disadvantage of this was that the air might become too hot, damaging the hair, and metal coils have a tendency to burn out or develop shorts. Also, the concept of merely having warm air blowing on the air was just too basic.

One of the recent innovations in hair dryers is the ionic hair dryer. This device supposedly shrink the water droplets in hair, making it dry faster, and leaving it sleek and shiny. Independent reviews have confirmed that these do live up to at least some of their reputation as a better mousetrap.

Another innovation in hair dryers is the ceramic heating unit. Ceramic is a superconductor and has been used in heating and manufacturing applications for some time. It has some distinct advantages over a metal heating unit. A ceramic unit heats evenly and does not get too hot. It also does not spark or short out. Many ceramic versions are also ionic: a double benefit.

Tourmaline hair dryers make up the very newest in the styling class. These have industrial grade tourmaline gemstones in their coils, which supposedly produce more negative ions, drying hair even faster and leaving it even sleeker than others. A buyer will pay the price for this innovation, though. They run up to $300 US Dollars (USD).

Many hair dryers also have attachments, such as nozzles or volumizer “fingers” that supposedly give better heat control or leave hair “bigger.” These also add to the cost of the device.

Hair dryers run the gamut in price. They can be purchased for $15-300 USD, depending on their features and whether they are professional-grade dryers or not. The wattage of the motor is also a consideration while shopping. A person with fine, thin or damaged hair will find a hair dryer with 1200-1400 watts of power to be plenty. Someone with thick, wavy or curly hair will probably want to look for a dryer with 1600-1800 watts. Smaller, travel-size dryers are also available, and usually cost between $20-50 USD.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Amy Pollick
By Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at WiseGeek. With experience in various roles and numerous articles under her belt, she crafts compelling content that informs and engages readers across various platforms on topics of all levels of complexity.
Discussion Comments
By mtaylor — On Mar 06, 2012

Thank you for the information. It was very useful. I use a great hair dryer that works amazingly well. It's the Karmin Salon Pro Professional Hair Dryer which keeps my hair soft, shiny and with volume.

By Catapult — On Feb 24, 2011

Other girls are often astounded that I do not own a hair dryer. I prefer to air dry my hair, and think it looks better when I do. However, whenever I travel other girls ask, "So are you bringing a hair dryer I can use?" and the answer is always no. People also expect most girls to own a flat iron and a hair curler, neither of which I have either. I find it tiring that women are expected to have so many appliances for the simple act of styling their hair.

By behaviourism — On Feb 23, 2011

Hair dryers have become very overused. Using them daily, even the best hair dryers, can dry out your scalp and hair permanently, making it look fried- and leading you to need even more products to make it look healthy again.

As someone with curly hair, I especially dislike hair dryers- they leave my hair fluffy, dry, and undefined.

Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick
Amy Pollick, a talented content writer and editor, brings her diverse writing background to her work at WiseGeek. With...
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