Are Expensive Blow Dryers Worth It? Here's What The Experts Have To Say
We don't give our blow dryers enough credit. Day after day, they transform us from wet, frizzy messes into blown-out glamazons, but somehow our shampoos, conditioners, and styling sprays seem to get all the glory. They're our trusty old friends who have helped us through everything from senior prom to first dates to job interviews, and considering how much we rely on them and how long we expect them to last, it's worth asking: Are expensive blow dryers worth it?
"A quality blow dryer, as well as any other hot tool, is absolutely worth investing in," says Sara Caroline, Salon Owner and Contract Educator for Bosley Professional Strength. "I am a huge believer in 'you get what you pay for.' I personally have a $199 blow dryer by Sam Villa and it has lasted me over five years! Not only does it save me money in the long run, but it speeds up my blow dry time and that is priceless!"
The reality is, spending a few extra dollars on a pricey blow dryer means it will a) help protect your hair from damage and b) last longer than a cheap, drugstore version. When it comes time to invest in a new dryer (and please, please don't wait until yours sparks out mid-blowdry, because it's terrifying) here are seven things you should keep in mind before shelling out the cash, care of the experts.
"The quality of materials used to make the blow dryer as well as the technology depicts the price," says Caroline. Blow dryers coated in rubber (so they won't break when you drop them) and those with removable traps that allow you to clean lint to prevent sparking tend to be more expensive, but both options offer worthy added-value.
This is more important with straighteners and curling irons, but still relevant to your blow dryer game. "It heats up quickly and is more gentle on the hair," says Caroline. "Ceramic and tourmaline technology will always be healthier for the hair than a basic metal iron because they protect the hair and evenly distribute heat for a better finished style with extra shine because they seal the cuticle," says Christyn Nawrot, PHYTO Hair Care National Training Director.
3. Steer Clear Of "Ionic Technology"
Cheaper flat irons, as well as blow dryers that say “Ion Technology” on them usually use negative ions, which will actually make your hair frizzier. "There is a big difference between negative and positive ions," says Caroline. "Negative ions close down your cuticle whereas positive ions open the cuticle!" Look for products that say " professional ionic technology," instead, which helps speed up your blow dry time and protect your hair during the drying process.
"Cheaply made flat irons and curling irons can cause more damage to hair than blow dryers because most flat and curling irons can get up to 450 degrees and clamp directly to the hair," says Caroline. Ouch. "Always use a heat protectant, no matter what kind of hot tool you have. It is like wearing an oven mitt when pulling a hot pan out of the oven." Caroline's favorite flat iron and curling iron is from Bio Ionic because it has the highest negative ion count, which makes curling hair super easy and straightening hair smoother than ever.
"As with anything, the best styling tools made with quality parts are going to be more expensive," says Nawrot. "Well-constructed heat tools can last for years when taken care of properly." So basically, instead of buying a new $50 product every year, you can spend $150-$200 and it will last you much, much longer.
Pricey blow dryers have "hot," "medium" and "cool" air settings for a reason. "It's not always necessary to turn any heat tool up to its highest heat — the less heat you use, the more protection you have for your hair, says Nawrot. "When a heat tool goes beyond 320°, that's when the issue of damaging the actual keratin in the hair becomes possible." This is more likely with straighteners and curling irons, but worth keeping in mind nonetheless.
In case you weren't totally convinced that a pricey blow dryer is worth it, here's the one thing you need to know: "Cheap products not only slow you down while styling, but can completely fry your hair," says Caroline. Um, yeah — sold.
Images: Bustle; Courtesy of Brands