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Let's be clear: curls aren't something that needs to be "tamed." And while virtually everyone with hair longer than a couple of inches could use a blow dryer at some time or another, the best one for you isn't necessarily the best one for the next person.
If you've got kinky or coily locks, a ceramic dryer with ionic technology is ideal. Ceramic heats quickly and generates infrared hot air to dry your mane fast but gently. Negative ions also help decrease your dry time while smoothing hair follicles to combat frizz and create a sleek, bouncy finish. Additionally, if you're looking to accentuate your curls, a diffuser attachment will be your best friend.
We scoured the Internet, consulted with stylists, and chatted with our curly-headed comrades to narrow down the crown jewels of hair-drying tools. Our picks can be used to smooth, straighten, define, or enhance spirally and wavy textures.
Keep scrolling for the best hair dryers for curly hair.
Best Overall: Bed Head Curlipops 1875 Watt Diffuser Dryer
Features: Removable diffuser, tourmaline ionic heat, three heat settings | Wireless: No
When it comes to drying coily hair, Bed Head Curls in Check isn't messing around. This straight-to-the-point gadget is a blow dryer and diffuser in one, effortlessly delivering definition and a silky-smooth finish with undeniable shine.
With 1875 watts of power and tourmaline ionic technology, it dries curly hair impressively fast, and the uniquely wide barrel allows you to dry larger sections of hair at once. The diffuser's fingers work within the twists and turns of your hair, enhancing their natural shape—though you can also take it off and use it as a regular hairdryer.
Best Budget: Revlon Essentials Volume Booster Hair Dryer
Features: Ionic technology, three heat settings, diffuser attachment | Wireless: No
There are lots of excellent budget-friendly blow dryers out there that do wonders for curly hair. We're big fans of Revlon's Volume Booster on account of its 1875 watts of power, three heat settings, and curl-enhancing diffuser attachment. As the cherry on top, it uses negative ions to minimize frizz.
Best Drugstore: Conair InfinitiPro Rainbow Ion AC Dryer
Features: Concentrator and diffuser, ceramic-coated grill | Wireless: No
This beaming, iridescent blow dryer from Conair doesn't just look cool. With an ultra-light AC (alternating current) motor, a ceramic-coated grill, and advanced ionic technology, the InfinitiPro Rainbow evenly distributes smoothing heat while the diffuser attachment helps your curls live their best life.
Best Splurge: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
Max Temp: 212 degrees F | Features: Adjustable airflow, three heat settings, cold shot, ionic technology | Wireless: No
"I would say the Dyson with the diffuser attachment when wanting to stay curly," says Portland-based hairstylist Caprice Hammon of Session Studio LLC. "The airflow is subtle, and the blow dryer is not too hot, meaning it will keep the cuticle more compact, resulting in less frizz."
Hairstylist Sky Kim of Serge Normant at John Frieda in New York City seconds this. "It's expensive, but it comes with a diffuser and has all the settings to control how much heat and airflow you want," she tells Byrdie. "It also comes with a variety of nozzles, so you can choose to be curly or straight, depending on your mood!"
Best for Thick Hair: Drybar Buttercup Blow-Dryer
Features: Negative ions seal hair, three heat settings, cool shot, lightweight | Wireless: No
Drybar is somewhat of an authority on drying hair. And when the blowout salon chain launched a line of styling tools in 2013, a celebration was in order. The Buttercup uses negative ions to seal hair cuticles while quickly drying your mane to its smoothest, shiniest state. To accentuate your curls, consider getting the Bounce Diffuser attachment, too.
Best for Fine Hair: Remington Impact Resistant Hair Dryer
Features: Titanium and ceramic technology, diffuser, and concentrator | Wireless: No
A common misconception about curly hair is that it's always thick. While it does have a bit more natural volume than straighter strands, plenty of coily-headed folks have fine hair.
Since ionic technology can make fine hair so sleek it becomes limp, we recommend getting a non-ionic option like the Remington Impact Resistant Hairy Dryer. The concentrator attachment can be used to smooth and straighten, while the diffuser works to give your curls more body.
Best for Natural Hair: Nozama Ionic Hair Dryer
Features: Ionic and bioceramic technology, small and lightweight | Wireless: No
Some people say the Nozama Ionic Hair Dryer is a budget-friendly dupe for the cult-loved Dyson—which is good news for anyone with naturally coily, kinky, or textured hair. Thanks to an AC motor and 1800 watts of power, it delivers ultra-strong wind to dry your locks efficiently. Plus, negative ions and bioceramic technology help keep your hair moist while protecting it from damage.
Best for Frizz Control: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Dryer
Features: Ergonomic handle, titanium ionic technology | Wireless: No
If it's frizz control you're after, you can't go wrong with the BaBylissPRO Nano. This super-light, ergonomic hair dryer leverages titanium ionic technology to dry curly hair quickly without leaving frizz, static, or damage in its wake.
Best Smoothing: Hot Tools Turbo Ceramic Ionic Dryer
Features: Six heat settings, powerful airflow, ionic technology | Wireless: No
For those looking to straighten their hair or just smooth out their coily strands, the Hot Tools Turbo Ceramic will not disappoint. This professional-grade ionic blow dryer uses powerful airflow and negative ions to create noticeably smooth, beautiful-looking hair. It has six heat and speed settings, plus a cold-shot button to lock in shine.
Best Diffuser: DevaCurl Diffuser Combo
Features: Finger-like diffuser and concentrator, ionic technology | Wireless: No
DevaCurl products are made by people with curly hair for people with curly hair, so you can bet the brand's DevaDryer knows what it's doing. This nifty blow dryer comes with a finger-like diffuser attachment that does an excellent job of scrunching, lifting, and separating coils. The result? Brilliantly defined curls with a sleek, bouncy finish.
Best Settings: InStyler TURBO MAX Ionic Dryer
Features: Adjustable airflow, turbo ionic settings, cold shot | Wireless: No
This gem of a hairdryer has three heat settings, plus a cool shot button to lock in your style. Not only that but its ion generator can be switched on and off to accommodate different hair types. Negative ions are ideal for thick, coarse strands, whereas folks with fine hair may want to keep it off to avoid an overly sleek 'do that lacks volume.
Best Portable: T3 Featherweight Compact Folding Hair Dryer with Dual Voltage
Features: Travel-friendly size, two speed settings, cool shot | Wireless: No
When you're on the go, you can count on the T3 Featherweight to take care of your curls. This hair dryer isn't just small—it also folds up into a conveniently compact configuration.
If you think portability means you have to sacrifice power, we're happy to tell you this dual-voltage gadget is just as efficient as its full-sized counterparts. For accentuated curls anytime, anywhere, consider getting the diffuser attachment, too.
Best Set: CHI For ULTA Beauty Gorgeous Blowout Kit
Features: Ionic technology, two speed settings, includes accessories | Wireless: No
This blowout set pulls out all the stops for curly manes. It comes with all the essentials, including a CHI Rocket hairdryer, a barrel brush, clips for sectioning hair, a concentrator, a wide-tooth comb attachment, and a curl diffuser.
You'll also get a little bottle of heat-protectant spray and a moisturizing, shine-enhancing product. Whether you want to smooth and straighten or define and enhance your curls, you'll have everything you need.
The best option overall for defining and enhancing curly locks is the Bed Head Curls in Check 1875 Watt Diffuser Hair Dryer. This brilliant tool combines a wide-barrel dryer with an expertly designed diffuser to help coily, kinky tresses see their fullest potential. Having said that, if you're open to splurging and want the option to switch between curly and straight styles, you really can't go wrong with the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. The cult-loved tool has controllable airflow, multiple heat settings, and a premium diffuser attachment.
What to Look For in a Blow Dryer For Curly Hair
To define your curls, you'll definitely want to use a blow dryer with a curl diffuser. The attachment helps evenly disperse warm air without disrupting the natural twists and turns of your hair. Ultimately, a diffuser makes for fuller, bouncier, accentuated curls.
Many hair dryers on the market today feature ionic technology. This means negative ions (electrically charged particles) are released through the barrel, attracting the wet positive ions in your hair to dry it faster. Not only that, but ionic hair dryers help seal the follicles in each strand, which creates a smooth, sleek finish with minimal frizz.
The best hair dryers for curly hair have multiple heat settings. When defining your curls, you'll want to use medium or low heat, as overheating can lead to breakage and unwanted frizz. Also, hot air can change the shape and texture of your hair, so unless you want to dry it straight, opt for a lower temperature. Some dryers also have a cold-shot setting, which can be used to lock in your style once it's dry.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Theresa Holland is a seasoned commerce writer specializing in beauty. She's well-versed in hot hair tools and knows the ins and outs of the latest hair-drying technologies. You can read more of her work on MyDomaine, Verywell Mind, and The Spruce.
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 hair dryers for curly 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.