Cosmopolitan November 19, 2021



17 Best Hair Diffusers for Curly Hair and How to Use Them


Major volume, definition, and shine—so, you know, the holy trinity.

If you've got curly hair, you're def familiar with hair diffusers. But if you haven't found a favorite yet—or you have more questions than answers about how to use one—we gotchu. Not only do we have all the deets on diffusing your curls the right way, but we also hand-picked the best hair diffusers that are actually worth your money. So whether you're looking to add another tool to your arsenal of curly hair products, or you're on the hunt for a new blow-dryer/diffuser attachment, we've got all the answers with a little help from hairstylist Leigh Hardges of Maxine Salon in Chicago, starting with...

What does a hair diffuser do?

As a refresher, hair diffusers are bowl-shaped attachments that disperse the flow of air from your blow dryer, helping to dry your curls more evenly and gently while preventing frizz, encouraging definition, and creating major volume. So rather than your hair blowing wildly into the wind (which = tangles/flyaways/nightmares), a diffuser cups and nestles your hair in one place while it dries. And not only are diffusers used to dry curls, but Hardges adds that they can also be used to dry and set short hairstyles and updos without disturbing the look.

Which hair diffuser should I buy?

A diffuser might be universal when it comes to fitting around your blow dryer nozzle, but as far as finding the right hair diffuser to suit your specific needs, you'll want something a little more personalized. According to Hardges, there are three key features you want to check out when shopping for hair diffusers:

The size

First of all, you have to make sure the attachment is compatible with the size of your blow dryer, but you also want to pay special attention to the diameter of the bowl: “The size or diameter of the diffuser determines how much surface area of the head will be covered,” Hardges explains. “The cup size of the dryer is an indicator of how much hair it can hold while drying.” In other words, the longer your hair, the bigger, wider, or deeper the bowl you'll need.

The holes

The holes or vents in bowl of a hair diffuser control how much air will flow through the device. “The airflow is determined by the amount and placement of the holes on the diffuser, which determines how quickly your hair dries,” says Hardges. If your hair is very thick and slow to dry, sufficient airflow is key. Hardges adds that a diffuser with a lot of holes that are also smaller in size will help dry the hair faster without disturbing the curls too much.

The prongs

For longer curls, look for a diffuser with longer prongs, which Hardges says will help the curls to retain their shape. Short, nubby prongs are better for shorter hair.

What is the best hair diffuser?

K, so even though the idea of all diffusers is the same—i.e., to diffuse air—not all diffusers are created equal. Different hair types can get better results from different bowl shapes and prong lengths (ex: cropped, 4a hair has different needs than long, super-thick 2c wavy hair). So to help you parse through the zillions of options on the market, I handpicked the 15 best diffusers for wavy, curly, and coily hair, below. But lemme first give you just a lil bb sneak peak of my top favs:

  • Best diffuser overall: SindycurlsMagic Collapsible Hair Diffuser Attachment
  • Best diffuser for coils: UuColor Universal Hair Diffuser
  • Best diffuser for curly hair: DevaCurl DevaFuser Universal Hair Diffuser
  • Best travel diffuser: KingKam Collapsible Silicone Hair Dryer Diffuser
  • Best blow-dryer/hair diffuser combo: Bed Head Curls in Check Dryer

Still want more options? Good, because there's one below for literally everyone. So keep reading to find your hair’s new bestie, along with how to diffuse your hair, below.

How to Diffuse and Stretch Type 4 Hair

Most diffusing tutorials tell you to “scrunch” your curls to your scalp while you diffuse—which isn't exactly helpful if you’re looking to stretch type 4 hair or tighter coils. Here, beauty vlogger NaturalReign shows how she pushes and wiggles her diffuser along the ends of her hair to add volume until it’s about 80 percent dry, then gently stretches sections of her hair across the bowl to elongate her hair as it dries.

How to Diffuse Curly Hair

If you've got looser curls (think 2c to 3c curl types), check out this beginner hair-diffusing tutorial to follow from curl guru Jannelle O’Shaughnessy. No matter what method you try, make sure to load on your products before diffusing. My personal favorite combo? Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner on sopping wet hair, followed by Innersense I Create Hold Gel on freshly plopped hair.


Kim Kimble Celebrity Series Ultra-light 1875W Pro Hair Dryer With Diffuser

Celeb stylist Kim Kimble wasn't kidding around when naming this hair dryer "ultra-light." It weighs in at just under two pounds and is ergonomic, which will make diffusing your hair so much easier. This blow dryer comes with all the attachments you need to define your curls and stretch your hair, including a diffuser with longer prongs that snaps on easily.


Rizos Curls Pink Collapsible Diffuser

What's the point of a diffuser attachment if it flies off as soon as you turn it on? This silicone diffuser is designed with six grips inside (compared to similar models with three) to hold it in place. As long as your blow dryer is compatible with its 1.75-inch opening (very important!), this collapsible, lightweight hair diffuser will get the job done. Bonus points for the cute pink color, too.


Karii Hair Dryer Diffuser Universal

Remember: The more holes in the bowl, the more air is released, and the faster your hair will dry. If you've got fine, frizz-prone curls, you need your hair to dry slow and low. But if you've got thicker, coarser hair that takes forever to dry, or you're just in a hurry, try this fast-drying diffuser (fits 1.38-2.68" nozzles, so check your measurements first!). 


UuColor Universal Hair Diffuser

The nubby prongs on this diffuser are on the shorter side, making them especially excellent at drying shorter hair, like a curly pixie cut or recently chopped coils. Since cropped hair doesn't exactly have much to "cup," you can try alternating traditional diffusing with the hover method, which is where you literally hover the bowl over your hair, slowly moving it around to dry your coils without smashing them. 


DevaCurl DevaFuser Universal Hair Diffuser

Don’t be thrown by this absolutely wacky-looking diffuser—it’s basically a holy-grail tool in curly-hair communities. The slime-green “claw” streams air from all sides of its branches, helping dry your curls with significantly less frizz while protecting from heat damage. Rather than piling your hair in a classic diffuser cup, just slide this DevaCurl diffuser along your roots and hang out while it dries your curls.


BestTrendy Professional Universal Hair Diffuser

This diffuser for curly hair is bomb: It is pretty cheap ($19 ain’t bad for something with over 1k positive ratings), has a deep bowl for gathering your long curls in one bunch, and fits on the majority of common blow dryers, thanks to its silicone padded opening, which locks around the nozzle of your dryer without scratching it. 


Segbeauty Hair Diffuser for Curly Hair

This baby is mega and sturdy, which is exactly what you want when you’re dealing with curly hair (flimsy diffusers that pop off in the middle of a drying session? I think TF not). It has an ultra-deep and wide bowl and medium-length prongs, making it perfect for any curl length. But the coolest (really) part? Its air flow is customizable. Just twist the attachment to the left or right for a stronger or weaker blast of air, which can help you control how your wet hair will dry and form.


Sindycurls Magic Collapsible Silicone Hair Diffuser

This flexible, collapsible (!!) diffuser is made of silicone, meaning it will not only take up precisely zero room in your bag, but it can also stretch to fit around any blow-dryer nozzle that's between 1.6 to 2 inches. And, because the bowl is wide (key for longer curl types) and the prongs are short (good for shorter coily hair), this diffuser is basically the best all-around attachment to try, regardless of your hair type.


Amaxy Reviving Lotus Hair Diffuser For Curly Hair

See those super-long prongs? They’re a godsend for anyone with thick, long hair or anyone with tight, low-porosity curls, since they can easily reach your scalp without smashing the rest of your hair flat against your head. This curly-hair diffuser will fit any blow dryer with a 1.8-inch diameter, so make sure to google your hair dryer model to check its diameter before buying.


Conair Volumizing Diffuser

Ten dollars?! TEN. DOLLARS?! Yes, this diffuser attachment is really that cheap, and if you think that’d mean cheap in quality, too, you’d be wrong: It’s one of the most popular diffusers for curly hair on Amazon, and it fits most hair dryers (and all Conair dryers). Just lift and plop sections of your damp curls into the bowl and diffuse away.


Bed Head Curls in Check Diffuser Hair Dryer

If you only own a blow dryer for the sole purpose of diffusing your hair, then why not take the bulky attachment out of the equation and instead just use a dryer with a built-in diffuser? This one from Bed Head has more than 8,000 happy reviews on Amazon and for good reason: It has three heat settings, 2 speed settings, and a cool-shot button (use it in the final 3-5 minutes of diffusing to seal in your curl definition).


Hairizone Universal Hair Diffuser

This universal hair diffuser fits on virtually all blow dryers (unless you’ve got some wonky dryer whose nozzle is smaller than 1.7 inches or wider than 2.6 inches, but, like, why?), so you won’t need to buy a new blow dryer just for the attachment option. If you’re into ~aesthetics~, it comes in six different pastel and vibrant colors and, most important, has a wide bowl to scoop up and dry even super-long curls.


Dyson Supersonic Diffuser

If you don’t already have a Dyson hair dryer, I suggest immediately adding it to all your holiday/birthday wish lists right now. And if you’re already in possession of one, pick up the Supersonic Diffuser, which helps gently dry even super-thick curls with a steady stream of air to reduce frizz and drying time. BTW, Hardges is a big fan of this diffuser, too.


KingKam Collapsible Silicone Hair Dryer Diffuser

The most annoying thing about a hair diffuser, IMO, is how much freaking room they take up in your drawers or luggage. They’re just…bulky. Which is what makes this collapsible silicone diffuser so cool: It shrinks down to more than half its size and is pretty squishy and compact, so you really can fit it anywhere and use it with your travel hair dryer. Note: The prongs are pretty short, though, so this diffuser is best for fine and/or short curls.


Bio Ionic Universal Diffuser

Though this diffuser is technically made to fit Bio Ionic hair dryers, its base is a standard size, making it compatible for most blow dryers (though, like, check your measurements first, plz). And that's a good thing, because its lightweight design, 12 air vents, and mix of short and long prongs makes this diffuser truly excellent for gathering, cupping, and diffusing virtually every curl type.


Drybar The Bouncer Diffuser

Although this diffuser is technically designed for Drybar’s iconic Buttercup blow dryer, it can actually fit any blow dryer that has a nozzle diameter of 2 inches (a common nozzle size). Its staggered prongs also make it easy to catch and dry curls of any length without them slipping. Pro tip: Gather a clump of your damp curls with your hand and gently place the entire bundle on top of the bowl—rather than mashing the diffuser to your head—to help define your pattern.


Hot Sock Diffuser

Here's the deal with sock diffusers: They soften the stream of hot air coming out of your blow dryer, so the air doesn't blast your curls apart and leave them undefined and frizzy. They don't necessarily cup and tighten your curls like a traditional diffuser, but unlike a traditional diffuser, they're thin, squishy, and fit over virtually any blow dryer, making it possible to diffuse your curls regardless of the dryer you're using.