When styling your hair – be it into a neatly coifed quiff or slick side-parting – it’s very easy to blow it. Too much pomade, not enough hold, and it’s all over. It’s also very easy to blow it, and by that, we mean with a hair dryer.
One of the most underrated tools in a man’s grooming arsenal, a good quality hair dryer can fire life into your mane, make applying hair product a doddle and (done right) even help prevent damage caused by the elements.
Of course, as with any gadget or gizmo, there is a lot to choose from, but which one you pick simply comes down to how you intend to use it. “To smooth and straighten out hair you might need something with better power output and longevity,” says Stewart Kwan, a stylist at Ruffians in Edinburgh. “And for texturing and enhancing curly or wavy hair, you could go for a dryer that has or could accommodate a diffuser attachment.”
As a minimum, Kwan says, guys should look for a hair dryer with a cold air setting. “Giving the hair a blast of cold helps seal the hairs cuticles, setting your final look and adding shine.”
Everything Else You Might Need
Professional-grade hair dryers are designed for more styling than you’re likely to be doing at 7am before work, so don’t overlook inexpensive options. Do, though, keep an eye out for a hair dryer with ionic technology, which basically means it emits negative ions that cause the H2O molecules in wet hair to divide and evaporate faster with less heat. This feature can be particularly handy for guys with very thick or long hair that can take an age (and then some) to dry.
And before you think we’re just blowing hot air at you using words like ‘nozzle’ and ‘diffuser’, listen up. If your hair is relatively short, and you’re just looking for a quick zhuzh, no nozzle is required. However, if you’re attempting to smooth out your hair, you’ll need a dryer that comes with a narrow-end nozzle (it’s the shape of a pair of pursed lips). A diffuser, on the other hand, looks like one of those posh rainfall showerheads and is used to enhance your wavy curls and tame the frizzy beast.
The style you want to finish up with will determine what products you apply before and after you dry your hair. “If you are hand-drying your hair, or are trying to make your hair look thicker, you may want to apply a sea salt spray,” says Kwan. “If you are smoothing out your hair, you may need to use a leave-in product, perhaps with heat protection, this will minimise damage and aid with the smoothing of the fibre. And to create more defined curl and to calm frizz, you could use a hair oil, serum or a sea salt spray, before you diffuse-dry your hair.”
The Best Brands For Hair Dryers
Undoubtedly the most hyped hair dryer in history, Dyson made its first foray into the market with its ultra-lightweight, ultra-quiet and, let’s face it, ultra-cool Supersonic model in 2009. Much like its vacuum cleaners, cutting-edge technology and futuristic design (seriously, this thing looks like a ray gun from 2118) has helped the British brand suck its way to the top of the haircare pile. Albeit at a hefty price.
GHD, short for Good Hair Day (and who wouldn’t kill for one of those?), is the market leader in hair straightening irons, and a mighty contender in the world heavyweight hair drying championship too. The Leeds-based brand has more of a range than Dyson, with compact travel dryers as well as bigger, beastier models like the Air, which is a salon favourite. Expensive, sure, but they’ll be drying that ‘do until middle age and the consequential hair loss takes a hold.
Repping the US of A in the Warm Air War with Britain, California-based T3, has top dog status in the high end of the market. The brand is best known for being one of the first to use tourmaline, a semi-precious gemstone which, when heated, emits infrared heat and negative ions that speed up drying and prevents static. Diamond on my necklace, diamonds on my… dryer?
Pierce Brosnan may have briefly stolen the Remington name in the 1980s, but the long-standing reputation of the grooming brand of the same name wrestled it back soon enough. For a company of its size and heritage (it started life as a firearms maker in 1816), it’s no surprise it produces some of the best hair dryers around, with added extras like 3D air technology, which minimises air turbulence and produces uninterrupted airflow. Basically, it drys your hair evenly all over, because no one likes a wet patch.
Hair dryers by Italian manufacturer Parlux were everywhere during the 1980s and 1990s, and the look of even its newest models have the same retro appeal. The tech has come a long way, mind, with ionic and ceramic devices throughout its range, all of which are surprisingly light despite the look. After all, its the hair that needs to look top notch, not so much the dryer.
Wahl is better known for its hair clippers, but that’s not to say the American firm can’t multitask. It brings the same professional-grade manufacturing found in its shavers to its hair dryers, but at the snip of the cost of a trip to a London barber. Just make sure you pick one up with the ionic technology and nozzle attachments so your hair at least looks like you have enough dosh to go on a weekly basis.
This hair drying lark ain’t nothing new. Founded in Milan, renowned Italian manufacturer Elchim has been going since 1945. Every one of its products must pass three levels of testing to guarantee more than 2,000 hours of operation, which is enough time to melt an ice cap if you so wish. Its flagship model, the 8thSense, is designed so you can regulate temperature and air flow according to eight different types of hair. You could say it will stay with you through thick and thin.
A strong mid-range option, Babyliss is for the gent who likes the idea of keeping his hair frizz-free and smooth, without the need for dropping a sizeable chunk of his pay packet for such a luxury. Sleek enough to live out on the bathroom shelf, and complete with all the nozzles and diffusers you need, you won’t regret a Babyliss purchase. Great for a quiff on the quick.
Yes, the brand name does sound like someone with a lisp trying to say ‘razor’, but don’t let that get in the way of the quiet efficiency of its products. The brand’s hair dryers use less wattage than others on this list, saving you a few pennies (emphasis on ‘few’, mind). And its ionic and infrared hair dryer comes with an afro comb attachment. It’s the little things that stand out.
Toni & Guy
Founded in 1963 by two brothers Toni and Guy (funny that), this chain of hairdressing salons is one of the biggest in the world. Its hair dryers won’t set you back as much as a trip to one of its salons, but as a brand that lives and breathes hair, you can trust they know what they’re doing. All the mod-cons are here – tourmaline and ionic tech – so you know you’re getting a solid hair dryer and all for a little less than its competitors.