Buying The Right Hair Dryer

If you've ever gone to the store in search of the perfect hair dryer, you may have found yourself overwhelmed by all the styles, shapes and sizes that line the shelves.

So The Early Show's stylist to the stars, David Evangelista,

with some helpful hints on how to find the best hair dryer to meet your needs.

Evangelista says the first step is to become familiar with the different types of hair dryers so you can avoid buying something more elaborate and expensive than you need.

A few general ground rules:

  • Dryers with wattages above 1800 watts tend to work best (though there are exceptions, as you'll see below)
  • Look for a dryer with multiple heat/speed settings (4-6 is pretty standard these days), and for a cool shot button to lock hair in place after it's been heat styled
  • Make sure your dryer comes with a nozzle attachment, which will concentrate the air as you blow dry
  • If you have curly hair, make sure you find a dryer that comes with a diffuser, or make sure that you can get a diffuser that fits your dryer.


    There is a wide range of prices for new hair dryers and, while choosing a dryer because it is dirt cheap is never a good option, you can cut your costs by choosing one that has only the options that you will really use.

  • Inexpensive hair dryers ($5 to $20) can be found in almost any store. But while they may not be inexpensive when you first purchase them, they can cost you a great deal when it comes to hair damage.

    Since most inexpensive hair dryers only come equipped with one temperature setting, you can literally blast your tresses to death with the unchecked heat from one of these models. The inexpensive dryers are best for people who rarely use them. They're also OK if your hair is extremely short or if you only use a hair dryer briefly to set your gel.

    The danger in the cheaper models is that they can scorch your hair or, because they often don't have fan cages, your hair can get pulled into the fan.

  • Moderately expensive hair dryers ($20 to $80) come equipped with most of the settings that you will need for daily use. Most feature multiple temperature settings and a cool blast button for drying brittle hair or for setting curl. Most people with "normal" hair can do well with these dryers — and the good news is that they're becoming more sophisticated and developing some of the features more expensive models, like ionic and ceramic, already offer.
  • Professional hair dryers ($80 to $100-plus) can be purchased at a beauty supply store, a salon or through a professional catalogue. While these hair dryers are geared toward repeated use by professionals, they can be beneficial at home if you are willing to pay the price.

    Many of these professional dryers are quiet and feature new drying technologies such as ionic and ceramic energy to cut your hair drying time in half. They infuse moisture and only cause minimal damage to the hair cuticle. They'll usually last you a lot longer than the moderately expensive dryer. Their motors are far more powerful and well-built than the moderately expensive dryers, and with the technology they use, there's less chance of blowing out the dryer completely.

    The more expensive models are also better for women who straighten their hair on a regular basis. They have far more horsepower than their commercial counterparts, and will withstand prolonged high heat better than the less expensive models.

    Once you choose your price point, the next step is to narrow down the different models. To do so, look for some of the bells and whistles that could be highly beneficial to your type of hair.


    Ions are hot these days in the world of hair dryers. They are charged particles, each of which contains either a positive or negative charge.

    Positive charges, from the common blow dryer, cause the cuticle covering of the hair shaft to open, causing the frizzies and a dull appearance.