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When it comes to hair styling, we’re all about anything and everything that will speed up the process and get us out the door faster. Enter hot air brushes, which act as a part blow-dryer, part curling iron, and part straightener, allowing you to both dry your hair and create smoothness, bend, or movement in one fell swoop.
“The best part of a hot air brush is that it cuts down on styling time,” says Zoya Ghamari, hairstylist and owner of Zoya Salon in Dallas. “It also helps you dry and style your hair at the same time.” Alex Brown, a Chicago-based celebrity hairstylist, adds that hot air brushes can help pump up the volume and give you the look of a bouncy round brush blow-dry, without having to use multiple tools together.
Read on for the best hot air brushes for every hair type and need.
The brand known for its high-tech household appliances made a big splash in the beauty world when they launched their tech-y blow-dryer a few years ago. Now comes the latest hair iteration, this multi-use styler that can dry, curl, wave, or smooth your hair. This hot air brush is a favorite of Ghamari, who says it’s the best “due to quality and versatility.” Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue is also a big fan of the Dyson Airwrap Styler, as is hairstylist Brown: “It has intelligent heat control and comes with multiple attachments to help you achieve any look you want,” she says.
With an oval shape and rounded edges, this is designed to give your hair sky-high volume, boosting strands at the root and leaving the lengths with plenty of body and bend. A combination of both nylon pin and tufted bristles on the brush not only make detangling a breeze—no stressing about snags—but also help add volume, too. Two heat and speed settings let you customize your styling process, and there’s also a cool shot button to help set your finished look.
This costs less than one professional blowout but will deliver multiple good hair days. Two different types of bristles serve two different purposes—detangling nylon bristles make drying a breeze, while heat-activated silicone bristles around the perimeter of the brush add lots of shine.
This Bedhead hot air brush has several unique features that make it stand out from the pack—not to mention make it a great deal for the price. Its brush is oval-shaped to amp up the volume while mixed-pattern bristles help give your hair definition and texture. Plus, it has three heat settings for added versatility, and online reviewers say it's super easy to use.
With its shorter length and smaller barrel, this pick is ideal for anyone with shorter strands (though it works well on longer hair, too, and also comes in a larger, one-and-half inch barrel size). Advanced ionic technology packs a serious smoothing punch, and the titanium barrel is also ceramic coated for more even heat distribution. Translation: No random hot spots that can damage your hair without you knowing. Amazon shoppers rave about how well it highlights styles with lots of layers, though note that it works best when used on hair that’s damp rather than soaking wet.
The one-and-half inch ceramic barrel on this tool emits far-infrared heat that instantly penetrates into the cortex (inner part) of the hair shaft, heating it from the inside out. The result? Hair is heated evenly and in half the time, seriously reducing the risk of any damage, making this a top pick if your hair isn’t quite the picture of health. This is another option that’s meant to be used on dry hair to add movement and smoothness.
Yes, this tool features 24k gold, but it's not just for looks—the gold actually helps distribute heat evenly for more consistent styling. From there, the brand's Direct ION Technology helps prevent damage (while warding off any frizz or static), and charcoal-infused bristles ensure a smooth finish. This product also has rotating temperature control and three speed settings for added precision.
Turn on the rotating action in this brush to create a voluminous and bouncy blowout; you can even switch the direction in which it rotates depending on which way you want your ends to flip up. And for days when you want a slightly sleeker style, simply turn off the rotating feature to smooth and polish your strands.
Can’t make it to the salon chain for a blowout? Try Drybar's hot brush, a favorite of Holly Rhue, Byrdie associate editor. The smoothing paddle brush that works wonders on even the curliest, kinkiest of hair. It heats up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, the same max temperature as many flat irons, and is made to be used similarly—passed slowly through dry sections of hair. (FYI, you’ll still need to blow dry before using this one.) Still, satisfied Sephora customers rave about how much faster it works than traditional straighteners, and it also has ionic technology to help further tamp down frizz and increase shine. Plus, the digital controls let you lower the temperature if your hair is fine or damaged.
Up your second-day hair game with this tool. Ideal for all textures and lengths, it has both shorter and longer bristles to tame and smooth your hair, plus frizz-eliminating ionic technology. Spritz some dry shampoo at your roots, brush your hair with this bad boy, and no one will be able to tell that you didn’t wash your hair that day. We also like the convenient heat-up light indicator, which makes it easy to tell when it’s reached optimal styling temperature.
Frizzies, be gone. With 53 percent more bristles, this first and foremost grips hair better, giving you extra control as you style, and the brush makes more contact with your hair than a standard flat iron. Couple that with a frizz-busting negative ion generator, and it’s no wonder that even super curly and frizzy-haired users rave about how well it works. Bonus points for an included tool that makes it easy to clean the brush.
An anti-static coating coupled with smoothing ionic technology gets hair super sleek, while the titanium coating imparts mega-watt shine. Other benefits include three different heat settings, non-snagging bristles, and speedy 10-second heat up time.
Our favorite hot air brush, the splurge-worthy Dyson Airwrap Styler, is beloved by beauty editors and hairstylists alike thanks to its high-tech features and ability to create all sorts of styles. However, the REVLON One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer is a great (and affordable) pick for those in search of added volume because it adds lots of body and has bristles that won’t tangle your hair. If you have long or thick hair, opt for Drybar's The Brush Crush Heated Straightening Brush is ideal for this type of hair because it works faster than traditional straighteners (and it smooths hair to boot).
What to Look for When Buying a Hot Air Brush
According to Ghamari, you really want to pay attention to what kind of bristles a hot air brush has. Ceramic coated bristles, for instance, do a great job of distributing heat so you don’t damage your hair. Meanwhile, boar and nylon bristles work to smooth and detangle strands.
Ghamari says to check out the cord length of a hot air brush too. A long cord will make the brush super easy to use, no matter where you are. (A cord length of 6 to 9 feet is best for ease of use.)
Having the ability to control the temperature of a hot air brush is key, says Ghamari. That’s because being able to choose the temperature will prevent you from overheating your precious hair. Have fine or damaged hair? Simply set your hot air brush to the lowest temperature setting to avoid damaging your hair further.
Ghamari also suggests looking for a hot air brush with cool shot functionality. Ending your drying and styling session with a cool shot helps lock your look in place and add shine.
How do you use a hot hair brush to curl hair?
Ghamari points out that using a hot air brush is very similar to using a round brush, except there’s no struggle to hold a blow-dryer in one hand and a round brush in the other. Brown, meanwhile, shares this tip for using a hot hair brush to curl hair: “You can curl hair with a hot air brush by twisting the hair section out of the brush on the last pass through,” she says. “Adding a light hairspray to the section before twisting will also help the curl hold.”
Do hot air brushes damage hair?
“Hot air brushes can only damage hair if they get too hot,” says Brown. She suggests reading reviews and doing your research on whatever brand you choose to buy. A hot air brush with temperature settings will help you control the heat so you don’t hurt your hair.
How do you clean a hot air brush?
To clean a hot air brush, remove all of the shed hair after every few uses, says Brown. “Wiping it down with a hot towel will also help remove any excess product buildup,” she says.