I am an African-American female, with super thick, shoulder length hair. My hair has been the bane of my existence for much of my life. I do relax my hair, but it doesn’t do anything to reduce the amount of hair I have… it just straightens it. And I have A LOT of hair.
I have spent thousands of dollars going to the beauty salon at least once a week because I couldn’t face blow drying it myself. It used to take me an hour or more to blow out my tresses. I even had a hairdresser complain once that her wrist hurt because she had to spend so much time maneuvering the dryer.
Now that I live in Los Angeles, I decided to be like every other SoCal girl, and practically live at the gym. That presented me with a problem. I would need to wash my hair a lot more, and I have neither the time nor money to go to the salon several times a week. I also don’t want to give up enormous chunks of time to lengthy blow outs, so I started researching new blow dryers, and now you get to benefit!
The big buzz words now about dryers are ionic, tourmaline, and ceramic.
Many dryers are said to use negative ions, which take the moisture from the air to heat your hair, instead of traditional dryers, which take in the room’s dry air, thus frying your locs. A lot of dryers have crushed tourmaline gems in the drying chamber, which are supposed to create even more negative ions, thereby drying faster and sleeker. Ceramic coated coils are supposed to heat more evenly than metal coils, and cause less damage to your hair follicles.
Science is out on whether any of these statements are accurate, but most of the top rated dryers use at least one of these technologies, if not all.
Conair Infiniti Tourmaline Hair Designer (Wine)
This is hands down the best dryer I have EVER had!!
My hair is dry in 20-30 minutes instead of the hour it used to take with my old dryer. Not only does it dry super fast, but my hair is bone straight when I’m through. I went two months without a relaxer when I first bought this dryer.
I was using a Babybliss straightening dryer, and I saw this dryer on Amazon.com’s UK site, but I wasn’t allowed to purchase it. After much searching, I found out that Conair made the American version, and I was thrilled! It’s currently around $53 online, but I found the Infiniti Tourmaline at Bed Bath and Beyond for $15, and I used a 20% off coupon I had gotten in the mail.
This dryer promises salon style results, protect your hair’s natural luster, detangle, and control frizz. It really does. The Infiniti uses crushed tourmaline ions, as well as ceramic straightening plates to dry your hair faster, without stripping its moisture. African-American hair is generally drier than others, so anything that promises not to take the little moisture I have, is a great deal. It also has four tension settings for various hair thickness.
My biggest con is that the dryer is kind of heavy at 2.3 pounds, and I need to take a break during the process. It has two odd combs which can take some getting used to, especially for the back. But it comes with instructions that are very easy to follow. It is also a little loud. I tend to dry my hair late at night (around 11pm-midnight) and I worry that it sounds like a small vacuum cleaner.
Sedu Revolution Tourmaline Ionic TGR 4000i Hair Dryer
I have a Sedu flat iron which is just awesome, so I was in love with this dryer when I read about it. However, I couldn’t justify the price tag. This dryer costs between $140 and $270 depending on where you shop.
Many reviews online tout the fast drying time, quiet motor, high heat and lack of frizz. It also features a tourmaline ionic generator to ensure smooth and shiny hair. A big plus for all of my thick hair friends is that is it light weight. The Sedu is just over a pound, which is way lighter than the Conair.
The biggest drawback is the price. Many people also say the body of the dryer gets really hot, so that’s something to watch out for.
Solia 1875W Thermal Ionic Ceramic Hair Dryer
I was interested in this dryer as well, while I was shopping around. Solia is a well known Italian brand that is famous for its fantastic hair tools, from flat irons to dryers. Some say it is even better than Sedu or Chi.
This dryer costs anywhere from $80-$160. It is pretty lightweight, and uses the same ionic technology as the above brands, as well as ceramic coils for even drying. Users say it makes thick hair pin-straight, but if your hair is already thin or straight, then this isn’t for you. It also has a cool shot button to help hold styles. I always flat iron my hair after drying, so I have never researched if it is efficient.
The Solia doesn’t come with a comb, but rather two different sized nozzles to control air flow. If you’re like me, and incapable of using a brush or comb while manipulating the dryer… stay away. But if you’re more coordinated, then this may be a viable option for you.
I know a couple of professional Solia users who have had their dryers for close to a decade, so this dryer having a removable filter is a huge bonus in case hair or lint gets trapped over time.
T3 Tourmaline Professional Featherweight
This dryer has hundreds of raving reviews online, and was also tops on my list of possible purchases. But again, the hefty price tag kept me away. It retails for around $200, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. However, according to reviews, if I did buy it, I wouldn’t have buyer’s remorse.
The T3 weighs less than a pound, which is astounding, considering how much power it has. It uses the same tourmaline ionic technology as the Conair and Sedu, which promises sleek, salon results in very little time. It only has two heat settings however, so that is something to take into consideration. Another thing to note… the company doesn’t recognize purchases from non-authorized resellers, so if your dryer breaks, it isn’t covered under warranty.
This dryer also comes in a travel size with the same 1,800 watts, so that may be an option for gals on the go.
Last but not least …
Farouk Chi Rocket Low EMF Professional Hair Dryer GF2100
The Farouk Chi is lightweight, at just over a pound, and uses ceramics, low electro-magnetic frequencies (EMFs), as well as infrared and ionic heat to dry your hair. It sounded so techie that I was initially scared off. Until I started researching dryers, I had no idea they all emit amounts of EMFs, which could be bad for our health. Again, this is something science is debating.
I realized after I started my search, that the salon I go to in Beverly Hills uses this dryer exclusively from what I have seen. I have to say, my hair always looks fantastic when I leave. Of course, my stylist is awesome too, so I don’t know how much is the dryer and how much is him.
As with the T3, Farouk’s warranty doesn’t recognize purchases from discount websites like Amazon, Folica, or eBay. To get the warranty, you’ll likely have to purchase it from a salon. This dryer can cost $130-$300, so it’s an investment for sure.
Since I have been on the receiving end of this dryer, I can say it is a little noisy, but probably quieter than my Conair.
Because of the ceramics, the dryer heats up faster than metal coiled units, which is great if you’re pressed for time.
It weighs less than a pound, has a one click cool shot button and comes with a concentrator nozzle and comb attachment. Because it uses ionic technology as well, it promises to get your hair frizz free.
These are the five dryers I liked while searching for one to use on my thick, African American hair. I chose the least expensive one, but I love it. I have also had the most expensive one used on me. I love it, too.
The things I looked for were ease of use, weight, drying time, and technology. You may want to do the same while choosing your perfect dryer/straightening tool.
Good luck and good drying. And as always, please comment with your thoughts and tips to tame your thick tresses,