If you have thick, wavy or curly hair, you are probably familiar with the nightmare that is trying to dry your hair quickly. Finding the best hair dryers for curly hair can be really difficult, and even letting a hair dryer near your head can be a scary experience.
Those with straight hair probably don’t understand, but curly people know that your options for drying you hair are:
- Letting your hair dry naturally, but can take hours and hours.
- Drying your hair with a towel, but this makes it frizzy and ruins the curl.
- Blow drying. But your hair will lose it’s curl and instead puff up like a huge
Blow drying curly hair is of course possible, BUT (a very big but)…. ONLY with a diffuser. This post covers:
- What is a hair diffuser, what does it do, and what should you look for?
- What to look for in a hair dryer.
- Which is the best blow dryer for curly hair? We compare hair dryers, and recommend the best option.
What is a hair diffuser?
A blow dryer diffuser is a strange looking attachment that you need to attach to your blow dryer if you are blow drying curly hair. It spreads the air that is being blasted out of the hair dryer over a larger area. You get just as much heat and air, but it won’t be focussed on only a small area.
Using a hair dryer with a diffuser means you can gently blow dry curly hair without losing your curl, without separating the curls and creating frizz, and without ending up with out of control hair.
If you want the best diffuser for curly hair – the bigger the better! Always go big. You can get collapsible hair dyer diffusers that are great for travelling, but they aren’t as good as the bigger, more solid options.
If you have a hair dryer already and need to get a diffuser to put on the end. They are not expensive. Come fit on to any hair dryer, and some are a specific size. Some good options are shown below – you should always check to make sure it’s compatible with your hair dryer – they all have a diameter measurement that relates to how big the end that you put on your dryer is.
What to look for in a hair dryer
Aside from a diffuser, described above, there are a few things to look for when buying a hair dryer for curly hair. It get’s really complicated, but we will summarize the absolute essential information you need to know if you have curly hair and are looking for the best blow dryer.
Cool Shot Function: a blast of cold air
A hair dryer with a “cool shot” function means that you have the option of pressing an extra button and giving your hair a blast of cold air.
What is the point of the cool shot function? Well, it helps to “fix” your hairstyle – it quickly cools down your hair and helps to set the style you have chosen in place. For curly hair, using the cool shot function will help your curls stay defined for longer, reducing frizz.
Some people recommend giving your hair a quick rinse with cool water after you condition. The cool shot function is a bit like this.
Pro tip: Blow drying your hair often and for a long time can increase dryness and risk damage. Keep your hair healthy by using natural hair products wherever you can, making sure it is conditioned, and using a moisturizing mask. A hair mask for curly hair is always a good idea (click here for an easy moisturizing hair detox mask recipe you can make at home).
The bigger, the better. The best hair dryer for curly hair will always have a high wattage. The higher the W number, the faster your hair will dry. If you have curly hair, it is often thick, and so you want to choose a hairdryer with a higher wattage. If you can, find a blow dryer that has a wattage of at least 1800 watts, or even more. You’ll get more airflow and will be able to dry your hair faster than a lower wattage blow dryer. If your hair is short, then you can probably manage with a lower wattage.
Heat Protection: Ceramic vs Tourmaline vs Ionic hair dryer
When it comes to materials, look for a ceramic or tourmaline (or ionic) hair dryer.
- Ceramic hair dryers are gentle. They emit non-damaging infrared heat, reducing heat damage. People with curly hair know that it tends to be dry and can be damaged easily, so heat protection is really important. The ceramic materials create a gentle, even heat, and are good if you dry your hair frequently.
- Tourmaline blow dryers have parts that contain tourmaline powder. When heated, it emits negative ions, which help to seal the hair cuticle. This means less frizz and glossier hair. Most curly people are in a constant battle with frizz, so this hair dryer is best for frizz-prone hair.
- Ionic hair dryers also emit negative ions, which attract positive ions. If you have lots of positive ions your hair can get that static look, with hair sticking out all over the place. The negative ions emitted by ionic hair dryers cancel out the positive ions, meaning less static electricity and therefore, less frizz. Ionic hair dryers are best for thick curly hair.
Look for ceramic, tourmaline and ionic in the descriptions when buying hair dryers for frizzy hair or curly hair.
The Number 1 best blow dryer for curly hair
Right, so you know that the best hair dryer for natural hair or curly hair is one that:
- Has a diffuser – essential for curly hair, natural hair and black hair.
- Has a cool shot function – reduce frizz, improve definition, set style
- Is a high wattage dryer – 1800 watts or higher is best
- Is either ceramic, tourmaline or ionic – gentle drying, less frizz
We understand that having thick, curly, frizzy hair can be difficult to dry quickly. Our number one recommendation for the best blow dryer for curly hair is this one – it ticks all the boxes:
We love this dryer because it is affordable and works really well on natural curly hair. The buttons are easy to use and the dryer is comfortable to old. It is relatively lightweight so doesn’t start to feel too heavy before you have finished drying your hair.
A cool feature of this hair dryer is the cord. As well as being tangle-free, it’s 9 feet long, meaning you can move around a lot without worrying about running out of cord length.
The negative ions are excellent if you sometimes have problems with static – this dryer will leave your hair feeling smooth and looking frizz-free. This model has excellent drying power, and the snap-on attachments mean that doesn’t take long to set up for your hair type.
Keep reading for other top-rated curly hair dryers.
Other curly hair blow dryer options
The table below summarizes the best hair dryers for curly hair. Whether you are looking for a travel blow dryer, one that comes with a diffuser, or a hair dryer for damanged here, one of these six is sure to tick all the boxes.
Natural Hair / Black Hair
Ceramic / ionic
Ionic / titanium
Tourmaline / Ceramic / negative iron
We hope that this post has been informative, and that you now know what to look for when choosing a hair dryer for your curly hair.
As an aside, looking after your curly hair correctly really helps to reduce frizz. A few things you can do are:
- Use a shampoo, or a shampoo bar for dry hair (click here to see recommended shampoo bars for differnet hair types)
- Use a conditioner bar (click for recipe or click here for recommendations)
- Try an occasional rinse with apple cider vinegar (click to find out why and how)
- Regularly detox your hair to remove product build-up.
- Try co-washing you hair.
By far the best shampoo bar we recommend for curly (and therefore often dry) hair is a product by a great little company called Ethique. They make a shampoo bar especially for frizzy hair, and it’s amazing. You can buy it as part of a pack for frizzy hair (shampoo plus conditioner), or buy the two products separately. You can see them on Amazon below.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the links and end up purchasing something, I may get a small commission. This doesn’t cost you anything extra 🙂