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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.
Our favorite option for curls is the Bed Head Curls in Check 1875 Watt Diffuser Hair Dryer. A wide-barrel dryer and diffuser in one, it keeps curls, coils, and kinks looking their very best. For something even more wallet-friendly, you can’t go wrong with the Revlon Essentials Volume Booster Hair Dryer.
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
Removable diffuser for easy cleaning
Hanging ring for quick storage
Tames frizz and boosts shine
Not as effective on longer hair
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, rightfully earning its spot at the top of our list.
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.
Also nice? The diffuser attachment is removable, allowing for easy cleaning (yes, you should be cleaning your hair dryers regularly), and the design features a hanging ring for easy storage. Not to mention, it comes with an impressively affordable price point, which is something we can all appreciate.
Features: Removable diffuser, tourmaline ionic heat, three heat settings | Wireless: No
Best Budget: Revlon Essentials Volume Booster Hair Dryer
Softens airflow to define natural curls
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.
Features: Ionic technology, three heat settings, diffuser attachment | Wireless: No
Best Drugstore: Conair InfinitiPro Rainbow Ion AC Dryer
Evenly distributes heat
Ensures up to 75% less frizz
Not enough heat
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.
Features: Concentrator and diffuser, ceramic-coated grill | Wireless: No
Best Splurge: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
Keeps temperature under control to prevent overheating
"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!"
Another important feature that celebrity colorist Mark DeBolt loves is the magnetic diffuser attachment. “It’s brilliant and seamlessly clips into place,” he says. “The shape is brilliant too—the bowl shape cradles the curls without disrupting them while they dry.”
Max Temp: 212 degrees F | Features: Adjustable airflow, three heat settings, cold shot, ionic technology | Wireless: No
Best for Thick Hair: Drybar Buttercup Blow-Dryer
Long power cord allows for all-over styling
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.
Features: Negative ions seal hair, three heat settings, cool shot, lightweight | Wireless: No
Best for Fine Hair: Remington Impact Resistant Hair Dryer
Has both a precise concentrator and curl-enhancing diffuser
Could use more engineering
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.
Features: Titanium and ceramic technology, diffuser, and concentrator | Wireless: No
Best for Natural Hair: Nozama Ionic Hair Dryer
Reduces static while softening
Could use more engineering
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.
Features: Ionic and bioceramic technology, small and lightweight | Wireless: No
Best for Frizz Control: BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Dryer
Ergonomic handle reduces hand fatigue
If you're looking to tame frizz, you can't go wrong with the BaBylissPRO Nano. "This one is the best for frizz control," says Jenna Spino, a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. This super-light, ergonomic hair dryer leverages titanium ionic technology to dry curly hair quickly without leaving frizz, static, or damage in its wake. Plus, Spino mentions, it has multiple settings, allowing you to cater to your hair's specific needs.
Features: Ergonomic handle, titanium ionic technology | Wireless: No
Best Smoothing: Hot Tools Turbo Ceramic Ionic Dryer
Can set hairstyles for longer-lasting hold
Quiet when in use
Could use more engineering
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.
Features: Six heat settings, powerful airflow, ionic technology | Wireless: No
Best Diffuser: DevaCurl DEVADRYER and DEVAFUSER
Has both a precise concentrator and curl-enhancing diffuser
Can handle texture
Cuts down on frizz
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. “The best thing about the diffuser is that it’s heat resistant, meaning you won’t burn your hand or your hair,” says Spino. “You can use this to achieve bouncy curls or smooth and elongate coils.”
Features: Finger-like diffuser and concentrator, ionic technology | Wireless: No
Best Settings: InStyler TURBO MAX Ionic Dryer
Tourmaline ceramic grill creates extra shine
Dries hair 35% faster than other dryers
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.
Features: Adjustable airflow, turbo ionic settings, cold shot | Wireless: No
Best Portable: T3 Featherweight Compact Folding Hair Dryer with Dual Voltage
Featherweight and folds for portability
Loud when in use
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.
Features: Travel-friendly size, two speed settings, cool shot | Wireless: No
Overall, the best option 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. However, if you prefer something super budget-friendly (but still super reliable), the Revlon Essentials Volume Booster Hair Dryer is a solid choice.
Meet the Expert
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. “This tool diffuses the airflow which is crucial to drying curly hair,” says DeBolt. “It reduces frizz and promotes the best curl shape.” Ultimately, it makes for fuller, bouncier, accentuated curls.
“For longer hair, a volume cup diffuser is the best choice,” says Spino. “If you have coily hair and don’t want to add any volume, a hand-shaped diffuser is the way to go.”
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. “These negative ions smooth the cuticle, which in turn, reduce frizz,” says Spino. Not only that, but DeBolt adds that it’s great for creating a sleek, shiny finish.
Heat and Power Settings
The best hair dryers for curly hair have multiple heat and power settings. “This is important for controlling the heat temperature and flow of air,” says DeBolt. 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.
When it comes to power settings, Spino doesn’t recommend using your dryer on the highest setting the whole duration of your blow-dry, as this can cause frizz. “Some people prefer to start high to get the drying going, then switch to low, while others may start straight away at low/medium heat, low blow.” What works best for you will depend on your hair type and how long you’re willing to blow dry your hair for.
Which hair dryer is best for curly hair?
The Bed Head Curlipops 1875 Watt Diffuser Dryer is the best hair dryer for curly hair, in our opinion. It provides shine while taming frizz and flyaways and comes apart for easy cleaning. It is also an affordable option.
Is a hair dryer good for curly hair?
Hairdryers are good for curly hair as long as you use them correctly and choose one that works with your hair to provide shape and shine without frizziness. Diffuser attachments are made to work with curly hair and can be used with regular hair dryers.
How do you blow-dry curly hair without losing curls?
You can blow-dry curly hair without losing curls by using a blow dryer that is specifically designed for curly hair or comes with an attachment for this purpose. Don’t use a brush when blowdrying, but instead, use a dryer that has fingers or prongs that separate and move over your curls to dry and shape them without causing frizz. It’s also best to keep the heat medium to low.
Do diffusers really work for curly hair?
Diffusers work for curly hair by separating and moving with your natural curls to dry them without causing frizz. They help provide even heat and curl definition, so your curls aren’t disrupted.
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 email@example.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.