Philips Hair Dryer

© Philips / Hair Dryer with Moisture Protect Infrarot Sensor

Who doesn’t know this: “Just a quick shower, drying hair, then we can go.” Very few people have time today to have their hair dried by a hairdresser. Nevertheless, we can not and do not want to give up a chic hairstyle and a dry head. Fortunately, the beauty industry has also recognized this and brought devices onto the market that promise exactly that. The enormous price differences make it clear that a hair dryer is not just a hair dryer.

1. The Crazy Story of Hair Dryers

The hair dryer as we know it today has a long and exciting history. The first models looked more like devices for space travel. Apart from being huge and made of metal, it sometimes took them up to two hours to dry their hair. Besides, they weren’t made for home use. At that time, the primary goal was to blow the hair into the desired shape. Today, the practical aspect is more important. Especially in colder climates the hair dryer is a real time-saver. However, it is also used more frequently and can therefore attack the hair.

Good hair dryers should therefore be fast and gentle. Most devices have a long service life and accompany their owners for years.

2. Functional Principle of a Hair Dryer

Philips HP8280 Hair Dryer

The basic principle of drying hair with heat and airflow has not changed. However, the current hair dryers come with much improved and more technology. The heat generated in this way also helps to manipulate the hair structure and bring it into the desired shape. The mechanism is relatively simple. The motor and a fan are driven by electricity. The motor draws air into the hair dryer by centrifugal force, which is then heated in the appliance via heating coils and a warm air flow is generated at the other end.

It’s actually relatively simple, but if you find yourself in front of the endless shelves today, you’ll quickly notice that the choice is huge. There is the mini-travel hair dryer and then those that are so big that they come with a small suitcase. Some of them even come with the inscription: healthy. One of the innovations that has revolutionized the hair dryer market is ionic technology.

3. Ionic Technology – the Advantages for the Hair

This new technology relies on the cleavage of ions. As already mentioned, the frequent use and the warmth cause problems for the hair. Hair dryers using ionic technology emit negative ions in the air stream. These split the positively charged water molecules and thus allow them to evaporate more quickly. This definitely results in a shorter drying time and is therefore “healthier” for the hair.

This technique has been in use in hair care products for some time. For example, conditioners have ingredients that are positively charged and therefore stay longer on the hair. Some of the brand-new hair dryers now claim that these ions give hair protection and care. As already mentioned, the molecules do not affect the hair directly, but the water and any care products. Ionic hair dryers often work with higher quality materials such as ceramics, which heat up faster and thus shorten the drying time even further. This doubles the benefits and saves hair, money and time.

4. Important Features and Purchase Criteria

4.1 Performance

In the area of hair dryers, a distinction must be made between volts and watts. The first unit stands for the energy consumption of the device, the latter for the performance. A higher power means a shorter drying time and in most cases also a longer service life. Experts speak of an air-heat ratio. A too high heat with not enough air leads to a long drying time, during which the hair is toasted rather dry. That this can’t be good for the hair is out of the question. Similar to the choice of a shampoo, you should pay attention to the condition of your own hair when buying a hair dryer. Fine hair is more sensitive to heat and thick hair needs more strength. Furthermore, the frequency of use is a decisive factor in the purchase decision. If you blow-dry your hair at least twice a week, it is better to choose a hair dryer with more power and better features.

4.2 Setting Options

Almost all hair dryers have a heat setting. With this function the hair can be dried individually. When the hair is almost dry, a low level is usually enough to bring it into the desired style. In addition, you can choose between cold and warm air for most units. This is particularly important in the area of styling. It is always advisable to blow-dry the individual areas of hair after warming and to blow-dry them cold again. This means that the desired shape, for example a wave, lasts longer. “Warm air created, cold air cemented.”

4.3 Dimensions & Weight

Panasonic Hair Dryer

The differences are also great in size and weight. They range from collapsible mini appliances that fit in your handbag to professional hair dryers that can weigh over a kilo. Weight is another decisive factor in the purchase decision. Who has tired arms at the end, will not cope with the dream hairstyle. As a rule, the larger the device, the more powerful the motor. For home use, a hair dryer of about 500-700 grams is usually sufficient.

4.4 Overheating Protection & Automatic Switch-Off

Hair dryers usually have a built-in safety mechanism. If the voltage is too high, the unit switches off automatically. This prevents the scalp from burning and the engine from running too hot and burning out. The motor can only be switched on again after the unit has cooled down. Especially cheaper and older models cannot be used for more than 15 minutes at a time. If you have ever had to wait for your hair dryer, you probably have a device that does not suit your individual use.

4.5 Volume

Anything that works with airflow and a fan will automatically generate a noise. Just like vacuum cleaners or even airplanes, a hair dryer generates noise. Since the hair dryer is applied directly to the head, the subject of decibels is even more explosive. Here too, technology has made enormous progress in the meantime. Almost all of the somewhat higher quality models have reduced the noise level to a minimum.

4.6 Accessories

The better ones among the hair dryers come with accessories. This helps to make the appliance suitable for the respective hair type and to create different stylings. The diffuser is particularly suitable for curly, thick hair and provides additional volume. The air is distributed and can thus better reach the individual hair areas. The so-called nozzle always helps when working with a brush. This can be a large round brush for waves or a straight brush to straighten hair. It is important to note that the hair dryer should always be directed downwards and should not touch the hair directly. A comb attachment is always advisable if the hair structure is very firm or frizzy (for example Asian hair). The hair is straightened directly during blow-drying.

5. Well-Known Manufacturers

The following brands have established themselves on the hair dryer market in recent years. The major manufacturers are always up to date and produce devices that are perfectly adapted to their customers.

5.1 Philips

Philips hair dryers are very reliable and have low power consumption. These two models are the stars of the brand. They help with the daily routine and are also true artists in the field of styling.

5.2 Braun

Braun, based in Kronberg in Germany, is also one of the old hands in the hair dryer business. The assortment ranges from small travel hair dryers to models suitable for hairdressing salons.

5.3 BaByliss

BaByliss is becoming increasingly popular in Europe. The company was founded in 1961 and is mainly active in the American market.

5.4 ghd

“Good hair day, every day!” That’s the motto of ghd. ghd devices are in the mid- to upper price segment of the market. Fans and hairdressers swear by the products!

5.5 Remington

The television series of the same name, Remington Stell, also made the Föhnwelle known to us in the 1970s. However, the brand and the series have only the cult status in common. Remington was founded in 1936.

6. How to Use a Hair Dryer

Panasonic Hair Dryer with Diffuser

A good hair dryer should have at least two heat and speed settings. Care and styling products should always be evenly massaged into wet, combed hair before drying. Only when the hair is up to 90% dry does styling begin with a brush or attachments. Never hold the hair dryer completely against the scalp and always point downwards. Always blow-dry each batch cold for another five seconds after moulding. The shape holds better that way.

6.1 Diffuser Attachment – It Is Used for This Purpose

Especially curly hair benefits from a diffuser. It distributes the air evenly. It also prevents frizz and provides volume in supple curls. The diffuser can also conjure up a wavy look or even curls on straight hair.

6.2 Heat Protection for the Hair – That’s How Important It Really Is

Since hair dryers, no matter how highly developed, still dry out the hair, protection with regular use is enormously important. Especially when the hair dryer is used together with attachments, the hair is exposed to high temperatures. The heat protection acts like a sun protection on the skin. Our hair doesn’t behave much differently than our skin. They need moisture, dry out in the sun or heat and benefit from vitamins and oils. Good products can do just that.

7. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are There Also Battery-Operated or Battery-Powered Hair Dryers?

Yes, there is. They can be practical when travelling or camping, but in most cases have a shorter life span.

The Hair Dryer Smells Unpleasant – Is That Bad?

Air is drawn into the engine at the rear end. In order not to suck dust particles or similar into the unit, there is a grille in front of the motor. However, this can become clogged over time. Result, the hair dryer smells. Good hair dryers have a removable grid. With regular cleaning the smell should disappear. This is also good for the engine and durability.

Do I Need a Special Hair Dryer for Curly Hair?

Curly hair is almost always thicker. Therefore, it is better to choose a device with a rather high wattage. Otherwise a diffuser is a real helper and almost a must for curly heads.

Who Invented the Hair Dryer?

Hairdresser Alexandre-Ferdinand Godefroy applied for the first patent for a hair dryer in 1888. However, these gigantic machines were more comparable to prehistoric drying hoods and had little in common with the high-tech equipment of our time.

Which Hair Dryer Is Used in Desperate Housewives?

The hair dryers used in the TV series are from MGG. The models can be found under the name MGG HC29 Desperate Housewives. However, the models seem outdated and therefore no longer available, at least on the UK and German market.

Lena Bergmann

Lena Bergmann, Editor

Lena is a freelance editor and part of our team. She is interested in the latest beauty and fashion trends and thanks to her small family with her dog "Eddy" she is our expert in the categories household, leisure and drugstore.