Get Defined, Bouncy Coils With These Hair Dryers for Curly Hair

The Shark HyperAIR is an editor favorite for a reason

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Best Curly Hair Dryers
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Curly hair takes a long time to dry — you could listen to BTS' entire discography and still have wet curls. Of course, it all depends on your hair type and length, but usually, it's best to lean on your trusty hair dryer when there's no time to air dry.

Hair dryers don't just cut down on dry time, though — they're also a vital tool for styling hair, and can help reduce frizz as well as define curls and coils when you use the right attachments. However, with so many options out there, knowing which ones actually work is a challenge in itself. So, on top of scouring the internet for the best options, we also spoke with two experts — celebrity hair stylist and founder of Veluer Creative, Michael Dueñas, and Pureology Hair Artist, Quia Querisma — to turn the heat up on what really matters when it comes to the best hair dryers for curly hair. In the end the Shark HyperAIR landed our best overall spot for its advanced technology that speeds up the drying process and keeps hair healthy.

Below, find the best hair dryers for curly hair as recommended by professionals.

Best Overall: Shark HyperAIR Hair Blow Dryer

Shark Hair Blow Dryer HyperAir

Amazon

What We Love: The advanced heat settings regulate the temperature, resulting in a quicker dry time and no heat damage.

What We Don't Love: It doesn't get as hot as other hair dryers

Fellow curly gal Samantha Olson, the Editorial Assistant at Seventeen, always picks up the Shark HyperAIR when styling her hair. "Not only does it dry my thick, curly hair quickly, but it doesn't cause any heat damage since it uses ionized air," she shares with InStyle. (A bit of science: The negative ions of the ionized air attract positive ions attached to wet hair; this then cancels out the charge to create a sleek, dry finish.) Olson praises the dryer for its ability to work with different hair types, and loves the bouncy volume it creates. You'll never have to worry about accidentally frying your curls either, because the innovative smart technology regulates the temperature to ensure zero heat damage. For all your styling needs, the tool comes with two attachments, too: A curved, multi-prong diffuser that carefully dries hair without causing tangles, and a wide mouth concentrator that tames flyaways for ultra sleek styles.

Price at time of publish : $225

Heat Settings: 3 | Colors: Stone, Rose, Matcha | Attachments Included: Concentrator and Diffuser

Best Value: Remington D3190 Damage Protection Hair Dryer

Remington Hair Dryer

Amazon

What We Love: This no-frills dryer quickly and efficiently dries hair.
What We Don't Love: It can overheat with prolonged use

When purchasing any hair tool, you may think you have to spend a lot of money to get a quality product. However, it's easier than ever to find more affordable options that don't skimp on drying power. Case in point: the Remington D3190 Damage Protection Hair Dryer. Though it's nearly impossible to completely avoid heat damage, this model has a lower wattage than most dryers and is designed to protect against serious damage thanks to the ceramic and ionic grills. Because of the protective features it might take a bit longer to dry your hair, but the shiny, healthy results are worth the extra time.

Price at time of publish : $21

Heat Settings: 3 | Colors: Black | Attachments Included: Concentrator and Diffuser

Best Splurge: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

5
Dyson

 Ulta

What We Love: This tool makes it easy to achieve salon-worthy blowouts at home.

What We Don't Love: Because the included attachments aren't intuitive, you'll need to watch tutorials to understand the different functions.

The Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is like the smart car of hair dryers: Complete with advanced tech and a hefty price tag. Sure, it's expensive, but over 2,000 five-star reviews agree that the price is justified because the results are truly unmatched. One fan includes hair artist Quia Querisma, who uses the tool because of its innovative fan speeds and advanced heat distribution. "Its automatic control system measures the air's temperature more than 40 times a second to prevent overheating, and no matter which of its four heat settings you use, it will remain cool to the touch," she shares. On top of the high-tech features, the dryer also comes with five different attachments that work with an array of hair types and textures. While we love each of the unique accessories, it's not blatantly obvious how to use them all. Luckily, Dyson has a series of easy-to-follow tutorials so you can learn how the attachments work.

Price at time of publish : $600

Heat Settings: 4 | Colors: Fuchsia, Silver, Copper | Attachments Included: Diffuser, Concentrator, Wide Tooth Comb, Gentle Air, Flyaway

Best for Blowouts: Hot Tools Professional 1875W Superlite + Quiet Ionic Turbo Dryer

Hot Tools Tourmaline Tools SuperLite Turbo Ionic Dryer

Ulta

What We Love: Lightweight mechanics make this tool quieter than most.

What We Don't Love: A traditional pronged diffuser has to be purchased separately.

Completing a blowout on curly hair can be a long process (and a full arm workout), but with a good hair dryer and the proper attachment, you can cut the time in half. This pick from Hot Tools Professional comes with a defined pick — a necessity for any coily hair routine — for straightening and detangling 3C and 4C hair. Then, the concentrator will give you that smooth, frizz-free finish you're looking for. Unfortunately, this does not come with its own diffuser, but you can use a universal head instead of buying a brand new one.

Price at time of publish : $60

Heat Setting: 6 | Colors: Black | Attachments Included: Wide Tooth Comb and Concentrator

Best for Professional Results: Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer 2000

Harry Josh Pro Dryer 2000

Dermstore

What We Love: The cord is nine feet long, so it won't be a problem if you're not near an outlet.

What We Don't Love: The tool is heavy for its size.

The bright mint green color may be the first thing about this hair dryer to grab your attention, but the professional results will keep you reaching for it again and again. Stylists love this tool for both in-salon and at-home styling. Celebrity stylist, Michael Dueñas, often reaches for this dryer when working with clients because of "the extremely cold" cold shot, which locks curls in place and reduces frizz. Plus, it has eight heat settings, so you can find the best temperature to dry your coils without frying them. This pick is a worthy investment for those who are constantly styling their hair and want to create a salon-worthy blowout from the comfort of their home.

Price at time of publish : $249

Heat Settings: 8 | Color(s): Mint Green | Attachments Included: Narrow and Wide Nozzle

Best for Short Hair: Bed Head Curls in Check 1875 Watt Diffuser Hair Dryer

4.6
Bed Head Curls in Check 1875 Watt Diffuser Hair Dryer

Amazon

What We Love: The unique design allows you to style hair without bulky attachments.

What We Don't Love: Because it has an exposed motor, hair is more likely to get caught.

Instead of finding a place to store bulky hair dryer attachments, try this curly hair dryer from Bed Head that's designed with a built-in diffuser. Made with tourmaline and ceramic technology to reduce frizz and amplify shine, this small but mighty tool features three heat settings, two speeds, and a cool shot button that will seal your style. While we love that it's super compact, you'll need to be careful while using it as hair can get caught in the exposed motor. To avoid any mishaps, stick to using this only if you have short hair or flip your hair and focus on drying your roots before styling.

Price at time of publish : $35

Heat Settings: 3 | Color(s): Purple and Green | Attachment(s) Included: Diffuser

Best for Straightening: Amika Hair Blow Dryer Brush

4
Amika Hair Blow Dryer Brush

Sephora

What We Love: This dryer brush simultaneously dries and styles hair.
What We Don't Love: If you have super coily hair, it can take a long time to dry fully

We're all for embracing your curls and coils, but also understand that sometimes you want to switch up your style — this straightening brush from amika can help you seamlessly do that. The wide bristles are great for gliding through the curliest hair, and the innovative ceramic heating system actually dries hair up to three times faster than other styling brushes — all while creating a smoother, shinier finish. That said, it will take longer for your hair to dry than if you were using a traditional blow dryer, so it's best to use this after your hair has had some time to air dry for the best results.

Price at time of publish : $160

Heat Settings: 3 | Color(s): Black | Attachment(s) Included: N/A

Best for Travel: T3 Afar Travel Size Hair Dryer

4.7
Blow Hair Dryer

T3

What We Love: The auto-dual voltage is universal, so you can use it even when you travel internationally.

What We Don't Love: The cord is a bit chunky, making it a little cumbersome to pack in your carry-on.

Rather than risk using an unreliable hotel hairdryer, stash this mini one from T3 in your suitcase. Though small, it still has features that rival full-sized hair dryers — including a lightweight design, detachable concentrator, six heat and speed combinations, a lock-in cool shot, and IonAir technology for fast drying and a frizz-free finish. What really makes it great for traveling is the folding handle and auto-dual voltage, which allows you to use the dryer anywhere in the world — just don't forget your travel plug adapters!

Price at time of publish : $180

Heat Settings: 3 | Colors: Blush | Attachments Included: Concentrator

Best for Quick Finishes: Conair Quick Styling Salon Hair Dryer

InfinitiPro by Conair Hair Dryer

 Courtesy of Walmart

What We Love: It comes in a bunch of fun colors.

What We Don't Love: Reviewers say that it's extremely loud.

In a rush? This dryer by Conair promises to cut drying time in half. Made with Ionic technology, it helps to reduce drying time and provides you with a frizz-free, sleek finish. If the technology behind this dryer is a bit confusing, take it from my personal experience instead: I was in need of a quick fix while visiting my grandmother and found this. Though I'm sure the tool was older than me, it efficiently dried my 3B curls and gave me a bouncy, salon-esque style in minutes. And at $25 to boot, it's a no-brainer investment for a dryer that can last a lifetime.

Price at time of publish : $45

Heat Settings: 3 | Colors: Orange, Aqua, Black, Burgundy | Attachments Included: Concentrator and Diffuser

Best for Everyday Use: Elchim 2001 Classic Hair Dryer

Elchim 2001

 Ulta

What We Love: It's specially designed for thick, coarse hair.

What We Don't Love: The dryer head isn't universal for other attachments

It's not uncommon to find this Italian-made dryer at pro salons, but its simple design and high speeds make it a great addition to consumers' bathrooms, too. It has an array of unique features — including five heat settings and two speeds to create a personalized drying time — but our favorite is the powerful motor that emits infrared heat to dry hair quickly and evenly without long-term damage. Though it comes with a concentrator attachment, it doesn't include a diffuser, so those with curly hair will need to purchase one separately for the best coils and waves possible. The dryer is designed to last, too, but in the unlikely event that it doesn't work properly, Elchim will cover all repair costs under its lifetime warranty.

Heat Settings: 5 | Colors: Red, White, Black, Black & Gold | Attachments Included: Concentrator

What to Keep in Mind

Attachments

Diffuser attachments on hair dryers create an indirect heating source and ensure minimal heat damage. Because curly hair is more prone to damage, using a pronged diffuser is vital for hair health. "Diffusers soften airflow and result in less frizz because it spreads the air around and dries hair more evenly than if it was concentrated in one spot," says Querisma. Before picking your dryer, make sure it either comes with a diffuser or has one available separately. Not every dryer is universal, so check for compatibility before purchasing a diffuser to guarantee a fit. If you prefer to style your hair straight, look for options with a slim concentrator attachment, too.

Process

You can have the most advanced tool on the market, but if you don't have a good technique or styling practice it might not make a difference. Make sure to find a hair dryer that'll work with your process, and if you don't have one, Dueñas has some helpful tips: First, he recommends always starting with low heat and fan settings. "Focus on drying your roots, then, bump it up to medium heat and gently scrunch the curls with the diffuser," he says. "Let gravity do the work when moving your hair around and use slower movements to not disturb the curls too much as they dry." Keep your process in mind before purchasing to ensure that your tool has everything you need for how you like to style your hair.

Technology

Advanced technology equates to more innovation in the beauty space. Hair dryers have evolved since their conception in the late 1800s. Today, most systems are made with ionic, ceramic, or tourmaline power. Ionic dryers emit negative ions to cancel out positive ions (aka eliminate static electricity and flyaways), while ceramic dryers heat up quickly and evenly, and generate infrared heat which helps to gently, yet efficiently dry hair. Tourmaline dryers also generate infrared heat, but compared to ceramic, they help to seal in moisture and fight frizz.

Your Questions, Answered

Do hair dryers damage curly hair?

Excessive heat use on any hair type, including curly, can cause damage, says Dueñas, "[Hair dryers] can damage curly hair the same as they damage other textures. It all depends on the amount of heat that you put on your hair and how often." Swiping a straightener through your strands every morning will have a different effect than using a hair dryer with a diffuser attachment every other wash day. Querisma recommends using a hooded dryer or diffuser with a hair dryer for an indirect heat source that will cause minimal breakage.

Do hair dryers make curly hair frizzy?

Hair dryers don't actually make curls frizzy. "Poor technique causes frizz," says Querisma. "To get curls with minimal frizz, apply your styling products while the hair is wet, and then don't touch your hair before it's dry."

What products for curly hair should you use when blowing it dry?

The products you use while your hair is still wet are vital to get the best curl possible. If you're going for a specific style or doing an at-home blowout, try using light spray products or creams that won't weigh your hair down and help minimize frizz (one of our favorites is the Mizani Press Agent Smoothing, Frizz Control Blow Dry Styling Serum). Always use a heat protectant like the Ceremonia Guava Rescue Spray or the Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Cream, too.

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