Cosmopolitan January 8, 2024

Cosmopolitan

Beauty

8 Best Hair Dryers for Curly Hair in 2024 to Define and Dry All Curl Types

 

Low (heat) and slow (drying) is the name of the game.

act: If you have any type of curly hair—ahem, 3a to 4c curls—and you (a) don't have time to air dry or (b) want super voluminous, defined curls, the best way to achieve your goals is with a hair dryer suited for curly hair. Oh, and not to mention, the right curl creams, curl-enhancing mousses, hair oils, and every other curly hair product—but that's a conversation for another day.

As a refresher, curly hair is already naturally dry and prone to frizz, so blasting it with a hair dryer on high heat can result in damage, breakage, tangles, and, well, a lot of frizz and flyaways. But! There's a magic formula to prevent said results: a hair dryer with ionic technology, several heat and airflow settings, and a really good diffuser for curly hair. I know you may be hesitant (especially if you follow the Curly Girl Method), but using low heat and a proper diffuser is the secret sauce for enhancing your curl pattern and adding major volume. So, in pursuit of the best hair dryers out there, I read a million and one reviews and consulted the experts to bring you the crème de la crème on the market:

Now that you've got a sneak peek of the products, keep scrolling because I've broken down each one's special features and compiled the real-life reviews to show you why every hair dryer on this list earned its spot. Get ready for a million and one hair compliments because these bbs get the job done.

Best Editor-Approved Hair Dryer for Curly Hair

Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross The Blow Dryer

 

PROS

  • Powerful airflow without super extreme heat

CONS

  • Some testers note that the attachment teeth don't fully go through their super thick hair

We at Cosmo loved this hair dryer so much that we gave it a 2023 Holy Grail Beauty Award.“I didn’t think it was possible to design a dryer specifically for textured hair, but Tracee Ellis Ross totally did it," says Cosmo's Beauty Editor-at-Large, Julee Wilson, who has type-4 curls. "The unique attachments are a curly girl’s dream.” Said attachments JW is referring to? A brush, wide tooth comb, concentrator nozzle, and diffuser that'll smooth, stretch, shape, define, and emphasize your gorgeous natural curl pattern.

Ionic technology? Yes

Glowing Customer Review: "Loveeee. I believe I have in between 3c-4a hair and it usually takes me 45 mins to blow dry. I used the Pattern blow dryer with the attachable brush and it only took me 20mins!! My hair is super smooth and my silk press looks amazing."

Best Hair Dryer Styler for Curly Hair

Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler Complete Long Diffuse for Curly and Coily Hair

 

PROS

  • Dries and styles your hair at the same time

CONS

  • Priciest option on this list

News flash! In addition to Dyson's original Airwrap Multi-Styler—which features its iconic airflow technology to reduce heat damage—the power tool company released another Airwrap version that comes with attachments suitable for those with type-2 waves, type-3 curls, and type-4 coils. The new curly hair attachment MVPs? A wide-tooth comb ideal for creating a stretched blowout and a diffuser featuring a deep bowl and long prongs for defined, smooth curls.

Ionic technology? Yes

Glowing Customer Review: "I absolutely love this dryer. I have been trying to get my blowouts to look amazing for as long as I can remember. I have thick 4c kinky, coily hair and the problem I've had with other dryers is my blowout didn't last more than a day and there was never any body to it, just dry stiff frizzy matted hair. This Dyson dryer does a fabulous job releasing the coils enough so that there is body in my blowout, plus sheen and perfect luster as well, and the results last for days. "

Best Hair-Diffuser Blow Dryer for Curly Hair

Bed Head Curls-in-Check 1875W Hair Diffuser Dryer

 

PROS

  • Combines both the diffuser and hair dryer in one eliminating bulk

CONS

  • Shallower bowl may not be deep enough for longer, thicker hair

Do you follow the Curly Girl Method and want to limit hot tools (FYI, the occasional diffuser on low-heat is okay), or just use a blow dryer strictly to diffuse your hair? Get yourself the Bed Head Diffuser Dryer that combines a dryer and diffuser so it's (a) less bulky, (b) has a head big enough to dry larger sections of curly hair quicker, and (c) features tourmaline ceramic material for smoother, less frizzy hair.

Ionic technology? Yes

Glowing Customer Review: "Anyone with curly hair knows it’s hard to manage your curls and hard to find good products. I’ve tried many different types of hair dryers and diffusers, and this is the best one I’ve used so far. Its low heat prevents damage and no frizz. It’s also not too big and cumbersome to take with you when you travel. I recommend this product for sure."

Best Affordable Hair Dryer for Curly Hair

Revlon Infrared Hair Dryer

 

PROS

  • Almost 47,000 five-star reviews on Amazon

CONS

  • Pretty heavy design, some testers note

The goal of styling curly hair is to mitigate as much moisture loss as possible. Infrared heat—which this hair dryer has—uses longer wavelengths to penetrate the hair shaft deeper than regular heat. This means your hair is heated from the inside out, and the result is less damage and more moisture retention. To no surprise, hair tools that use infrared heat tend to be pretty pricey, which is why this affordable hair dryer for under $30 is such a steal.

Ionic technology? Yes

Glowing Customer Review: "REALLY REALLY REALLY HAPPY with this purchase. For the value, I received a really good product!! The look of it is futuristic, it's fairly quiet for a blow dryer, the controls are contoured really well to the finger—so it's a light touch to turn it off and on, warm or hot—and it has a cool shot button as well. The attachments are equally as wonderful, and the diffuser is large; I judged the stock photo thinking it would be small, but it's full-size, sturdy, and is fantastic for curly hair—giving you volume while keeping your curls coily and defined."

Best Reverse Hair Dryer for Curly Hair

Revair Reverse-Air Hair Dryer

 

PROS

  • Styles curls in their natural state or in a protective style

CONS

  • The design is super bulky making it hard to travel or go anywhere with

Say hello to a revolutionary hair dryer that uses reverse air through a strategically designed wand equipped with seven tension and three heat settings. The result? A hair dryer that stretches, dries, and straightens your hair whether it's in its natural state or a protective style. Oh, and did I mention it cuts down on around *half* the drying time versus other hair dryers?

Ionic technology? No* (*but uses reverse air that has a similar effect)

Glowing Customer Review: "I have 20+ inch long, dense Sisterlocks and wash day can be a chore. Drying my hair took forever with my old handheld dryer. And it never felt like it was truly dry without adding some air dry time. Using Revair on high heat and tension setting completely dries my hair in 15-20 minutes. And actually stretches my hair to its full length. It was well worth the investment."

Best Hair Dryer Diffuser for Curly Hair

DevaCurl DevaDryer & DevaFuser

 

PROS

  • Air is dispersed through all prongs of the diffuser on all angles

CONS

  • Will take you a minute to get used to the unique diffuser shape

Think of this funky-looking diffuser/hair dryer combo like your hand. When you use your fingers to scrunch, separate, or even plop your curly hair, you're left with great definition that enhances your curl pattern. Now combine that technique with ionic drying technology that is dispersed from all sides of the diffuser's "fingers," and you get reduced drying time, less frizz, and a ton of lift sans the heat damage.

Ionic technology? Yes

Glowing Customer Review: "It dried my super thick curls quickly! When you 'rake' and shake the attachment through your roots, it dries them so fast and fluffs them right up which is AMAZING! I love that!"

Best Hair Dryer Attachments for Curly Hair

Shark SpeedStyle for Curly and Coily Hair

 

PROS

  • Diffuser is totally adjustable

CONS

  • Sold out quite often

Take a super powerful hair dryer that uses a negative ion generator to mitigate heat damage and pair it with a slew of attachments designed for curly hair, and you get this version of the Shark SpeedStyle. Use the QuickSmooth Brush made with boar bristles to dry, volumize, and smooth your hair, the DefrizzFast Diffuser with retractable and extendable prongs to define your hair, and the RapidGloss Finisher post-drying and styling to smooth any flyaways.

Ionic technology? Yes

Glowing Customer Review: "This blower is by far the most amazing hair blower ever. Its size will have you fooled about its power, but I promise you will not be disappointed. I have a lot of hair that is full and in-between the textures of wavy and curly, so it takes some work to blow out or flat iron my hair. I was amazed at how fast and how well this blower not only dried my hair but blew out my hair to the point that it looked as if I had used a flat iron afterward."

Best Hair Dryer for Curly Hair Health

Zuvi Halo Hair Dryer

 

PROS

  • Basically as healthy for your hair as air-drying

CONS

  • Because it's so unique it may take a bit to get the hang of

CGM person or just like your curls best when they're air-dried? Say hello to the Halo Hair Dryer that uses "technology to dry the surface of your hair, protecting hair moisture within the hair shaft." Translation: By only using light, only the water droplets on the surface of your hair are dried without drying out and damaging your strand's internal moisture.

Ionic technology? No* (*but uses light technology for a smoother, healthier dry)

Glowing Customer Review: "I absolutely love my new Zuvi hair dryer. I have curly, long hair but it's never a problem to quickly dry my locks with this 🙏😇 I never worry about how dull or dry my hair gets. Yes, it's a chunk of money, but I'm very comfortable with what I have invested in. I feel very good about my hair and that it's being very well taken care of."

How to choose the best hair dryer for curly hair

Consider the diffuser

When shopping for a hair diffuser, you should consider its airflow, prong length, and diffuser size. "The size or diameter of the diffuser determines how much surface area of the head will be covered," hairstylist Leigh Hardges has told Cosmo. "The cup size of the diffuser is an indicator of how much hair it can hold while drying." To sum it up: If your hair is long, you need a diffuser that has a bowl that is bigger, wider, and deeper.

"The airflow is determined by the placement and number of holes on the diffuser, which determines how quickly your hair dries," Hardges told Cosmo. If you have thick hair that takes a while to dry, a diffuser with lots of holes should be your go-to. Thinner, quicker drying hair? Fewer holes will be just fine.

Make sure it has ionic technology

Quick little chemistry lesson for you: There are little ions, which can be both negative and positive—i.e., invisible particles—floating all around us. Positive ions don't love our hair and can cause static, flyaways, and frizz. A hair dryer with ionic technology emits negative ions to cancel out the positive ions. The result? Hair dries quicker because these negative ions break up water molecules, and they even smooth your hair cuticle so you have less frizz and flyaways. In short, if you have curly hair, get a hair dryer with ionic technology.

Meet the expert

Leigh Hardges is a top hairstylist at the Maxine Salon in Chicago, IL. She specializes in coloring, cutting, and styling all curl types, from types 3a to 4c, and is considered an expert in type-4 hair. Hardges recently spoke to Cosmo regarding hair diffusers for curly hair.

 

Why trust Cosmo?

Siena Gagliano is an associate editor at Cosmopolitan, and has four years of experience writing about beauty, fashion, and lifestyle news. She’s an expert at researching and writing hair stories, like the best curly hair gels and the best curl creams. She regularly works with the industry’s top hairstylists and curl experts to assess new products and brands.


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