With everything going on in the world, your hair’s probably been bumped way down on the priority list. I’m looking at you, limp ponytail. We’ll admit, nothing quite recreates the magic of having a professional hairstylist pamper and blow out your hair as you sit back and relax. But for days you do feel like zhuzhing it up a bit and putting your best foot forward during your next Zoom call, there’s an innovative tool that people can’t stop talking about: blow-dryer brushes.
Blow-dryer brushes are pretty much what they sound like: part hairdryer and part straightener (or curling iron, depending on your tool/technique). You get to dry your hair and style it at the same time without having to use multiple hair tools. “Blow-dryer brushes are becoming more and more popular as consumers are either unable or unwilling to go into the salon as frequently as in pre-pandemic times. With more people working from home, but still desiring to have a polished and professional look, they are searching for ways to achieve that salon-quality hair from home,” says Jenna Marie Shafer, lead pro educator for amika. Blow-dryer brushes also speed up the getting-ready process: “A blow-dryer brush is a great tool because it allows you to give yourself a round brush blowout without having to hold the blow-dryer and a round brush in both of your hands. Even as a professional hairstylist myself, I find it difficult to give myself a traditional blowout, but with a two-in-one tool like a blow-dryer brush, it’s much easier to manage,” says Shafer.
Before we get into the best of the best types of blow-dryer brushes, here are a few tips on using one successfully:
- A little air-drying will go a long way: “The number-one rule before using a blow-dryer brush is to ‘pre-dry’ your hair or let it air dry until it’s ideally about 80% dry before you go in with the brush,” says Aoife McCarthy, pro educator for amika. If you’re in a rush, just make sure to gently towel-dry (never rub as it’ll create frizz). It’s still fine to use a blow-dryer brush when your hair’s very wet, but it’ll just take longer. Consider doing your skin routine, putting on your makeup, or making breakfast while your hair’s air-drying to multitask efficiently.
- Try clipping your hair in sections: “If you like to clip your hair sections in a pin curl so it can cool as you go (for maximum volume and bounce), then start from the top of your head and work your way down. Otherwise, I recommend working from the bottom up,” says Shafer. “Section out a row at the bottom of your head about as wide as the width of your blow-dryer brush, and clip the rest out of the way. Grab sections of hair no larger than your brush, and start by blow-drying your roots with some lift before moving down the length of your hair. Make sure each section is completely dry before you move onto the next one, and pay attention to which direction you’re holding your brush in.”
- Hold the brush strategically: “For instance, if you want to curl your ends under, make sure to hold your brush horizontally and bend the ends under,” says Shafer. “If you want your hair to flip away from your face, then make sure to hold your brush more vertically and rotate it away from your face. If you want hair as big as Texas, then make sure to pull the brush up high towards the sky for maximum volume!”
Ready for some blow-dry brush action? See below for our faves:
Best For Curls: amika blow dryer brush
This brush gives you everything you love about using a flatiron (shiny, smooth hair) without sacrificing volume and bounce thanks to the oval-shaped barrel. This blow-dryer brush uses three heat/speed settings: 115F, 190F, and 230F, which caters to all different hair types — even the most curly (or color-treated). This brush features two different types of bristles to detangle while increasing shine in the process. Like many of amika’s other hot tools, this one is fused with tourmaline, which emits negative ion technology and infrared heat so it’s gentle on strands.
Fastest Brush: Drybar Double Shot Blow-Dryer Brush
Straight from the geniuses at Drybar, this tool uses ionic technology (which means, less frizz!) and strategically placed vents in the brush to provide the ideal amount of airflow to give you the fastest blowout. It has cool, medium, and high-temperature settings so you can customize how hot you want your brush. It’s also noticeably lightweight (under one pound), so your arm doesn’t get blowout fatigue. You can even use Double Shot on dry hair to refresh your next-day hairstyle.
If you want a blow-dryer brush that’s straightforward, yet powerful, we love this affordable option. The beauty is in its bristles (they’re nylon and tufted to easily detangle while providing volume) and the ion generator helps hair dry quickly and evenly. It has three heat speeds and 1100-watt power that gives you the perfect amount of heat you need so it feels comfortable even when it’s close to your scalp.
Most Versatile: Dyson Airwrap Complete Styler
If you didn’t know already, the same brand that creates your favorite high-tech vacuums entered the world of haircare. The multi-use styler features a wide variety of attachments to create any look that you want — from curly to beachy waves to silky smooth hair. It uses the surrounding air as well as controlled heat so you can minimize damage as you style your hair. It’s clearly a splurge, but if you’re looking to easily create multiple types of looks using one tool, it can’t be beaten.
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