Beauty And The Bath

How To Choose Hair Dryers And Blow Dryers

blow drying hairMany people routinely use hair dryers as part of their daily grooming ritual.

Let’s face it without a hair dryer, we would be lost.

Not only do hair dryers – also called blow dryers – dry hair more quickly than air drying, they can be used to style hair in a variety of ways.

In cold climates, hair dryers are a virtual necessity for men and women who want to wash their hair before heading outside--otherwise hair can freeze and/or cause you to become sick.


There are many different types of hair dryers available and they offer a wide range of features.

How Hair Dryers Work

The warm or hot air produced by a hair dryer works by helping the water in your hair to evaporate. Since warm air can hold more water than cooler air, the water from your hair can move into the room when the hair dryer is blowing.

A basic hair dryer has an element that heats up – usually a coil – and a motorized fan to blow the warmed air out of the dryer. Did you know that? Understanding how something works is amazing.

The information below will help you to know how to choose hair dryers and blow dryers and make the best choice for your needs.

Salon Style Hair Dryers

Traditionally, beauty salons had mounted hair dryers with domes under which a client would sit. These "bonnet" or "hard hat" dryers are still used in some salons and are available for home use as well. They are best for exposing hair to low or medium heat for an extended duration; they are often used to set a style with curlers.

Handheld Hair Dryers

Handheld hair dryers are the most common type. They can be used to simply dry hair or in conjunction with a brush or other styling aids.

These portable units are easy to move and are quite flexible. Check the wattage of a handheld hair dryer before you purchase it; the power of these units varies dramatically. Professional units usually have at least 1800 watts.

Wall Mounted Hair Dryers

A wall-mounted unit is generally the same as a handheld hair dryer, but it comes with a wall mounting. Often wall mounted hair dryers are smaller than other handheld units and may not have as many available options.

For those who are short on storage space, a wall mounted hair dryer keeps the unit within reach, but off the countertop. Wall mounted units are commonly seen in hotel bathrooms as a convenience for guests.

Available Features

Many hair dryers offer settings for selecting different temperatures and for choosing how hard the fan blows the air out of the dryer.

Those that offer a button to send a blast of cool air are convenient for cooling off the air quickly; this is useful for styles where you would like to cool the hair before releasing it from a brush or curler.

How To Choose Hair Dryers And Blow Dryers
The Technological Advancements

Other hair dryers offer technological advancements to make them gentler on hair or to help with certain styles. Sometimes hair dryers have attachments, such as those with diffusers.

A diffuser spreads the air being blown from the unit so it does not blast onto a single spot. Diffusers are often used for preserving curly hair styles. Ionic hair dryers claim to disperse negative ions in order to prevent frizz. Ceramic hair dryers create heat that promotes smooth hair styles.

The basic idea behind hair dryers is pretty simple, but producing one for mass consumption requires some hard thinking about safety features. Manufacturers have to predict how their hair dryer might be misused. They then try to design a product that will be safe in the widest variety of conditions.

How To Choose Hair Dryers And Blow Dryers
Safety Features For Hair Dryers And Blow Dryers

Some common safety features of hair dryers are: A safety cut-off switch - Your scalp can be burned by temperatures more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 60 degrees Celsius)

To ensure that the air coming out of the barrel never nears this temperature, hair dryers have some type of heat sensor that trips the circuit and shuts off the motor when the temperature rises too much. A metallic switch is made out of sheets of two metals.

Both metals expand when heated, but at different rates. When the temperature rises inside the hair dryer, the strip heats up and bends because one metal sheet has grown larger than the other. When it reaches a certain point, it trips a switch that cuts off power to the hair dryer.

A thermal fuse - For further protection against overheating and catching fire, there is often a thermal fuse included in the heating element circuit. This fuse will blow and break the circuit if the temperature and current are excessively high.

woman blow drying hair

How To Choose Hair Dryers And Blow Dryers

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