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For curly hair, there’s often a love/hate relationship with blowdryers. Sure, they can speed up your drying time—but the fast, hot winds can leave your curls feeling frizzy, dry, and looking less than defined. Insert diffusers: a curly girl’s hero accessory to blow dryers. These handy, bowl-shaped attachments distribute the air throughout your hair so that your curls can dry more evenly, resulting in more defined curls.
Aeleise Ollarvia, CoFounder of Black Girl Curls, shares that “a diffuser is a great portable way to take curls from wet to dry with minimal frizz. It can also enhance volume during the drying process if desired.”
So if you’re ready for your best wash ‘n go yet, keep reading for the best diffusers for curly hair.
Best Overall: DevaCurl DevaFuser
You’re probably familiar with the curl innovation of DevaCurl, so it’s no surprise that the brand would have a one-of-a-kind diffuser made with curly hair in mind. The ceramic inner core preserves moisture to reduce frizz for shinier curls. Plus, the wide, hand-like head delivers 360 degrees of airflow to shorten your drying time.
Best Budget: KingKam Collapsible Silicone Hair Dryer Diffuser
You don’t have to break the bank to get a quality diffuser. This collapsible blowdryer attachment is ideal for travel and easy storage, funneling and softening the airflow of your hairdryer while also collapsing to a convenient size.
Best for Volume: Drybar The Bouncer Diffuser
This convenient diffuser gets major points for its large shape that’s able to dry big sections at a time. The circular shape cups your hair to distribute heat from roots to tips for great shape and volume. It’s also surprisingly lightweight so that every wash day doesn’t also have to be an arm workout.
Best for Travel: Hot Sock The Ultralight Diffuser
No room for your standard diffuser in your carry-on bag? This hot sock diffuser is the next best thing. While it doesn’t feature fancy prongs, it conveniently glides over the nozzle of your blowdryer to reduce heat damage, limit frizz, and promote more defined curls.
Best Compact: Chi 1875 Series Advanced Ionic Compact Hair Dryer
When you want all of the bang of a quality hair dryer with less of the bulk, this ionic compact dryer is a great solution—and of course, it comes with a handy diffuser attachment. With three heat settings and two speed settings, you can control the amount of heat you subject your hair to while diffusing the airflow for a more precise drying experience.
Best Splurge: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
This Supersonic hairdryer is quite the splurge, but users who love it say it’s worth every penny. Aeleise says that this dryer “has power and heat but doesn't displace the hair even on the highest air setting. It's game-changing because the hair can dry in half of the time with minimal frizz.” Its technology takes blowdrying one step further by protecting your hair from heat damage for 75% increased smoothness and 132% decreased frizz—that’s a curly girl’s dream!
Best Classic: Conair InfinitiPro Quick Styling Salon Hair Dryer
There’s a reason why Conair is celebrated for making quality hair tools—they just get it right, and this classic hairdryer is no exception. The ceramic technology makes for safer drying, and you can also use the cold shot when you want to avoid heat. The diffuser also has prongs with multiple lengths so it can evenly distribute air through thick hair.
Best for Frizz: Revlon Salon Infrared Hair Dryer
This blowdryer and diffuser set was made with frizzy hair in mind. With infrared heat technology and a diffuser with widespread prongs, you reduce your risk of over-drying your hair. The results? Smoother curls and enhanced shine.
Best Adaptable: Hairizone Universal Hair Diffuser Adaptable for Blow Dryers
When you buy a diffuser that doesn’t come with your blowdryer you can run the risk of it not fitting—but not with this adaptable head. With a quick squeeze, it can adjust in size to fit 90% of blow dryers on the market. Use the diffuser for a more even dry with less frizz.
Aeleise says to avoid heat damage, “use your hand as a guide. If you can expose your hand to the airstream from the diffuser without much discomfort for the same time you would hover over a section of your hair, then it's fine. Indirect heat use is like walking down the street in central Florida in July. Hot + uncomfortable but not dangerous.”
Best for Thick Hair: CONFU Professional Hair Dryer With Diffuser
Having a diffuser sounds like a great curly-haired solution unless your hair is too thick for tiny prongs to penetrate. That’s why this diffuser is such a standout. It has extra-long prongs that can reach the roots of thick hair, and the convenient, lightweight dryer is ergonomic for comfortable styling.
For tighter curls, Aeleise offers her advice for maximum definition and frizz-free diffusing, “When using a diffuser on tighter curls do not put it into the hair. Hover it over the hair 4 to 6 inches like a portable hood dryer. Move it in the direction the hair grows, root to end, not end to root, to reduce the possibility of frizz. Don't put your hand in your hair either till the hair is 60% to 75% dry.”
Best Hair Tool Set: Lovppy Collapsible Silicone Hair Dryer Diffuser Set
If you’re ready to give your entire wash day styling routine an upgrade, this set of hair tools is a great place to start. It comes with a collapsible silicone diffuser, detangling brush, plus fine-tooth and wide tooth combs for reduced breakage.
Best for Loose Curls: Bed Head Curlipops 1875 Watt Diffuser Dryer
This diffuser sets itself apart from the pack for its unique design that has a large surface area—making for quick drying and faster results. The removable diffuser is evenly spaced for added definition, texture, and increased volume.
To create definition and volume in loose curls, work slowly from the ends towards your roots, gently massaging your hair in a circular motion with the diffuser's "fingers."
Best Hooded Dryer: Glow by Daye Soft Bonnet Hood Dryer Attachment
Now, this isn’t exactly a diffuser, but the even distribution of the air gives you all of the benefits of a hairdryer with the convenience of an attachment. It’s great for setting roller styles or twist-outs, but it can also be used on wash-and-go styles for easy, effortless drying. Plus, the flexible material fits virtually any blowdryer.
The DevaCurl DevaFuser made the top of our list for its practical design that delivers frizz-free curls every time. If you’re looking to add a budget-friendly tool to your arsenal, look no further than the KingKam Collapsible Silicone Hair Dryer Diffuser (view at Amazon). And finally, if you’re nervous about a diffuser attachment fitting your blowdryer, the Hairizone Universal Hair Diffuser Adaptable for Blow Dryers (view at Amazon) can adjust to the blowdryer you already have.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Diffuser
Size and Shape
When you’re buying a blow dryer that already comes with a diffuser attachment, you’re in the clear. But if you are searching for an attachment, Aeleise says, “make sure the one you purchase fits securely on your preferred handled dryer. This will reduce fumbling and possible frizzing of the hair.”
Your Hair’s Thickness
Thick hair obviously needs a bit of assistance to dry quickly, so those with thick hair should choose a diffuser with longer prongs that can penetrate your curls and coils to dry your hair at the root.
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Byrdie contributor Kindra Moné has been creating fashion and beauty content since 2013. Whether contributing to some of the top women’s lifestyle magazines or working in-house with global brands, Kindra has collaborated with some of the industry’s most knowledgeable beauty professionals. When she isn’t writing or trying out Instagram recipes, she’s giving wellness tips and sharing fashion news on The StylingSOUL Podcast.