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Finding the right blow dryer for your natural hair toolkit, as I like to call it, is essential no matter your hair texture or how you wear your curls. While some naturals prefer heatless styling, many of us don't mind stretching our hair as long as our curls snap back without any heat damage. But not all dryers are created equal, so we reached out to hairstylist Leigh Hardges of Chicago's Maxine Salon for some tips on what to look for.
First things first, she says, "Avoid short, wide nozzles. If you ever need to replace a diffuser or concentrator nozzle, universal ones won't fit." Next, she suggests avoiding short cords to make your dryer easier to maneuver as you style your hair. Lastly, she says to avoid wattages over 1900. "The heat is very high, and most at-home stylists cannot move quickly enough to prevent heat damage."
With that sage advice in mind, below are our picks of the best blow dryers for natural hair.
Best Overall: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
The Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is beloved by stylists everywhere, and it's easy to see why. It's designed to protect hair from heat damage thanks to its digital motor and air multiplier technology that speeds up the drying process while increasing shine and preventing frizz.
"This dryer is genius," says Hardges. "I have used a lot of hair dryers, and this one is quiet, lightweight, and fast." Angela Stevens, a celebrity hairstylist and Cantu partner, agrees. "I prefer the Dyson blow dryer," she tells Byrdie. "It's a bit pricey, but the heat is controlled on the dryer and that prevents heat damage."
Best for Frizz: ONE Styling Epic Lite Hair Dryer
If you want your hair to look smoother, Hardges recommends this dryer because of its ionic technology. "There is a switch to turn on or off the ionic technology that aids in smoother hair," she says. The one-pound blow dryer also generates 1875 watts of power, which will help prevent heat damage, and there's an extra-long cord so you don't have to huddle up next to an outlet.
Most Powerful: Turbo Power Twin Turbo 3200 Hair Dryer
The Italian-made TwinTurbo is a powerful hair tool that can go up to 2100 watts, which Hardges says to keep in mind when considering this brand. "As soon as you turn this thing on, you can feel its power," she says. "This dryer delivers just as much heat as it does airpower, so you need to be able to work quickly."
Before making your investment, Hardges emphasizes paying attention to the product specifications and only selecting the 3200 model for at-home styling.
If you're an at-home hairstyling beginner, this dryer might not be the best pick for you.
Best for Coily Hair Textures: Revlon One-Step Paddle Dryer
This paddle brush hair dryer has made waves throughout the natural hair community. You can find thousands of YouTube reviews dedicated to this dryer—most of them positive. The 1,000-watt, 2-in-1 design smooths and dries hair. For those with coily hair textures, the flexible bristles help prevent tangling, and you'll get a smooth, frizz-free blowout with the help of the dryer's ionic conditioning feature.
Best Budget: Andis 1875-Watt Tourmaline Ceramic Ionic Styling Hair Dryer
I grew up using the Andis hair dryer. The 1875 watt dryer has three speeds and heat settings and comes with a 100% boar bristle brush, a fine-tooth attachment pick, and a wide-tooth attachment pick. The comb-like design makes it easy to straighten textured hair without applying too much tension to your roots.
I suggest starting with the wide-tooth attachment to prevent any unwanted breakage or snapping of your ends.
Best Drugstore: Conair Infiniti Pro 1875 Watt Salon Performance Hair Dryer
The Conair InfinitiPro comes highly recommended by a range of hair types in the curly community. The budget-friendly dryer's AC motor dries hair up 50% faster with the ionic technology, leaving your curls with 75% less frizz.
Best for Wavy Hair: Hot Tools 24K Gold Charcoal Infused One-Step Blowout
For naturals with heat-trained or wavy hair, this styling tool comes highly recommended by reviewers. The 24K Gold Technology applies even heat distribution to your curls while the flexible charcoal-infused, boar bristles glide through the hair without tugging. It's essentially designed to be a one-stop straightening shop, perfect for busy bees. Oh, and the eight-foot cord gives you the range you need to straighten, bump, or curl your ends with ease.
Best for Fine Hair: Trademark Beauty Easy Blo One Step Dryer & Volumizer
"Air drying straightening brushes are definitely to be considered for some curlistas," says Hardges. "The small, short bristles grab and smooth the curls while the long flexible bristles keep the hair detangled." This lightweight dryer she says is easy to use and packs a punch. "Don't let the baby pink color fool you," she warns. "It does get hot." However, the one-step dryer has a ceramic coating to protect your hair and prevent damage from over-styling.
Best Diffuser: DevaCurl Dryer & Devafuser
Designed with curly hair types in mind, this 1600-watt dryer has an AC motor, ionic technology, three temperature settings, and two-speed settings. The dryer also comes with a hand-shaped diffuser with a 360-degree airflow that dries curls, sans the frizz, and adds volume.
Best for Thick Hair: KIPOZI 1875W Hair Dryer
With thousands of five-star reviews, this hair dryer's nano ionic technology seals in moisture (which is always a plus for natural hair). Not to mention, reviewers say the lightweight, two speed, and three heat settings on this hot tool dries even the thickest coils and curls fast.
Best for Travel: Drybar Baby Buttercup Travel Blow-Dryer
Finding a blow dryer that can fit into your carry-on without taking up too much space can be challenging. However, Drybar has an option available that is portable and stylish. "What's better than a cheery yellow hair dryer?" asks Hardges. "The concentrator nozzle on this baby is designed to blow the water off the hair and onto the floor. [This] minimizes drying time and heat damage."
Aside from the yellow hue and its ability to prevent heat damage, Hardges particularly likes this dryer's portability. "Cop the travel size instead of the original," Hardges says. "It's the same price, same wattage, [and comes] with a travel bag."
Runner-Up, Best for Travel: Amika Mighty Mini Ionic Dryer
Whether you want a dryer to tuck in your gym bag or you have a cropped natural hair cut, Amika's 1200-watt, dual voltage mini hair dryer is compact but mighty. The 6 x 5-inch dryer's tourmaline-infused ceramic technology penetrates the hair cuticle locking in hydration, cuts down drying time, and helps prevent heat damage.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any blow dryers for natural hair from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.