Tips for choosing a blowdryer

BaByliss Pro Special Edition, my current blowdryer of choice

As a professional stylist, there are two tools that are indispensable to me. One is my shears, and the other is my blowdryer. A good dryer not only gives me the results that I want, it saves me valuable time by getting the job done quickly. Also important is the weight and design of the dryer. The perfect dryer is one that will allow me to work a full day without fatigue.  It also has to be well-built and reliable enough to withstand constant use, the occasional dropping on the floor, and a host of other hardships. Quite simply, my blowdryer has to be a true workhorse.

If a dryer passes my criteria and lives up to my standards, then it should do the same for you as well.  Here are the things I look for when I am buying a blowdryer:

1. Power.  A good dryer should be powerful enough to dry the hair quickly, but not so powerful that it may fry the hair. I look for dryers that are between 1600 and 1900 watts. Any less, and the drying process takes too long. Any more, and it's just plain overkill.

2. Quiet motor.  Finding a powerful dryer is the easy part. The challenge is finding one that's powerful, yet quiet. A noisy dryer makes conversation with my clients all but impossible. It seems that the more expensive a dryer is, the less noise it will make. Lower quality and cheaper dryers often produce a tinny, rattling sound. You'll be able to tell a great dryer by the sound of the motor, just as you can with a great sports car.

3. Ionic technology.  Look for a dryer that produces ionic heat. This will reduce drying time and will also reduce frizz.  Ionic technology also results in less damage to the hair.

4. Functionality.  A professional stylist can't afford to waste time by looking at the dryer in order to find out where all the buttons are. We also don't like dryers where you have to slide the button up or down to get the desired heat or speed setting. Look for a dryer which has a rocker switch instead of a sliding switch. If your dryer has a rocker switch, you can use your fingers to adjust speed or heat settings without missing a beat.

5. Weight.  A good dryer is light enough that it won't cause arm or shoulder fatigue, but heavy enough to prove that it has a powerful motor. Dryers that are too light often have noisy, unpowerful motors.

6. Brand name.  When it comes to blowdryers, it is a good idea to purchase one manufactured by a brand with a good reputation. Even the best dryers occasionally break or malfunction, and when this happens it's impossible to get your money back if the company who made the dryer is some generic or foreign brand. When it comes to reliability and quality, the top brands are Cricket, Wigo, Elchim, Helen of Troy, CHI, Dyson and Andis. 

7. Swivel cord.  Never purchase a dryer that does not have a swivel cord. With a swivel cord, you'll have less tangles with your cord and it will be much more durable, especially if you're the kind of person who wraps the cord around your dryer when you put it away.

These are the main things I look for when purchasing a dryer. If it's not on this list, then it's not important. If you find a dryer that meets all of these requirements, then it is most likely good enough to be used in a salon by a professional stylist.

So, what blowdryer do I use in the salon? Although I own a few dozen, my present go-to blowdryer is a BaByliss Pro Special Edition, 1900 watts.... just in case you were wondering!