Agonizing over new purchases is a common phenomenon, particularly when you’re not sure what you need. If you’re thinking about buying a car or a particularly beautiful piece of furniture, it’s only natural that you’d want to really turn the idea over in your mind before spending your hard-earned cash. The same goes for beauty lovers like us, who often spend weeks researching flat irons before handing over our credit cards.
If the time has come to pick up a new hair dryer, it’s important that you understand exactly what you’re purchasing. We tapped Sam Villa, Redken brand ambassador and master stylist, to break down the most important aspects to consider. The best hair dryers for 2018 are guaranteed to make your daily routine a whole lot easier.
As with all purchases, buying a hair dryer is a juggling act of price versus quality. If you’re just investing in a dryer for the first time, Villa advises purchasing a mid-range product.
Villa believes in thinking about hair texture the way you would fabric. Whether you’re working with wool or satin, each fabric type requires specific care and a gentle touch. He recommends purchasing a tool that’s specifically designed to handle your particular “fabric.”
Ready for Villa’s personalized recommendations? Read on.
If you’re always battling frizz:
“Ionic” is a buzzword we often hear thrown around, but it’s important to understand what it’s actually doing for your mane. Villa recommends ionic dryers like the Hot Tools Black Gold Ionic Dryer for ladies who like a sleek, no-frizz look.
“Positive ions are something you don’t want because positive ions create dryness and frizz,” he explains. “You want something that is going to create these negative ions, which is what ionic hair dryers do.”
Rest assured that sleek is not the only style you can achieve with the help of the Hot Tools Black Gold Ionic Dryer. It comes with adjustable ion flow, which means you’ll still be able to create volume and lift where you need it.
“What’s game changing right now is this whole feature of ions because it allows you to achieve the best of both worlds,” Villa says. “That’s what hair dryers are now. To any consumer, I would recommend you purchase a blow dryer with an ionic switch.”
Sleek and sky high? That’s double the impact for your money.
Try: Hot Tools Black Gold Ionic Dryer, $79.99
If you’re in a rush:
One of the most important aspects of any hair dryer is also the one that’s forgotten the most: the concentrator nozzle. Many women style every day without learning to put this essential tool to use.
“Most consumers take it off and blast dry their hair,” Villa explains. “What they did is they just created tons of frizz. Now they have to pick up a round brush and they have to control the frizz.”
Instead of working twice as hard, point the nozzle directly at your head and get to work. A wider concentrator can help speed dry large amounts of hair, while a narrower one will get you the precision blow dry you crave.
“It’s important to let the tool do the work,” the master stylist adds.
Try: Bio Ionic GoldPro Speed Dryer, $135.00 MSRP
If you’re hoping to recreate a salon blowout:
It may seem silly, but we often hear that women don’t like to blow their hair totally dry because their arms get tired halfway through the process. It’s one thing to sit in a blowout bar and sip a mimosa while a professional goes to work, but quite another trying to manage a brush and a dryer at the same time.
Villa completely agrees, which is why he’s such a fan of advancements in the weight and feel of hair dryers.
“I think if there’s a dryer that’s meant for everybody, it’s a dryer that is lightweight,” he says. “The longer it is, the more you’re extending your arm and your shoulder weight from the head. So the dryers are made smaller.”
Try: Bio Ionic PowerLight Pro Dryer, $199.00 MSRP
If you’re all about the flash:
We love all new beauty gadgets—which means appreciating customization as well as function. The BaBylissPro Italo Luminoso Dryer not only comes in a wide array of vivid hues, but also includes a number of accent filters to make your tool look extra unique. As customers point out, it’s also a useful backup in case you drop your dryer.
Try: BaBylissPro Italo Luminoso Dryer, $79.95 MSRP
If a hair dryer is the only styling tool you use:
Here’s one for the ladies who’ve eschewed curling irons and flat irons in favor of their hair dryers. These social media mavens can recreate their favorite blowout, but require the help of a tool that can stand up to daily use. We love the Hot Tools Tourmaline Tools SuperLite Turbo Ionic Dryer, which weighs only 10 ounces and boasts 1875 watts.
Over time, heat styling can take a serious toll on delicate strands. That’s why this hair dryer is made from tourmaline.
“When [tourmaline is] heated, it produces a huge amount of negative ions that counteract positive ions which are found in dry and damaged hair,” Villa explains.
Try: Hot Tools Tourmaline Tools SuperLite Turbo Ionic Dryer, $59.99 MSRP
If you’re always on the go:
We live and die by one golden rule: Never touch the hotel blow dryer. When we’re jetsetting, making space to pack a hair dryer is crucial. That’s why we love the BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Bambino Compact Dryer. Aside from being just plain adorable, it’s compact enough to fit into any luggage or tote bag.
Try: BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Bambino Compact Dryer, $29.95 MSRP