Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Hair Dryers

As a hairstylist, one of the phrases I hear quite often is, ” it never looks as good when I do it.” To which my usual response is,”I have the unfair advantage of my arms not being attached to your body.”

 

While I’m sure this does give me an undeniable edge, there are some other mitigating factors which greatly affect my ability to create such polished looks. Those being high-quality tools/equipment and the knowledge of how to use them correctly to achieve the desired result. Now I’m sure you can understand my reticence to sever my arms and offer them to you all in the name of beautiful hair (please say you understand 😳). So instead, here is my offering of information: everything you needed to/didn’t know about professional hairdryers and which one is right for you!

 

Things to consider

 

The main functions to consider when choosing a dryer are wattage, airflow, heat, and technology. As a rule of thumb a dryer with 1875 W of power will dry your hair well. Hairdryers with less wattage are best suited for finer or short hair or if you will only be using the dryer for small sections, like bangs.

 

 

Wattage

 

Fine, thin, or damaged hair
1200-1500

Medium/normal straight or wavy
1300-1800

Thick and curly
1600-2000

 

 

Technology

 

Without a doubt, I’m sure this is the most confusing element for most people.

 

Tourmaline
Tourmaline is a semi precious gemstone and it is by far the best ionic and infrared generator. When you heat a tourmaline hairdryer they target negatively charged sections of hair and split water droplets into smaller molecules which immediately evaporate. This causes the hair to have a faster drying time, seals in moisture and shine, and also helps prevent damage.

 

Ceramic
Ceramic hairdryers help to evenly distribute heat, preventing your hair from overheating and drying out. It will usually be used in the dryer body, as a coating on the internal parts of the dryer.

 

Ionic
Ionic dryers create negative ions. Although this sounds bad it’s not. These negative ions neutralize a positive charge that is held in the hair cause by dryness. With regular use, ionic dryers can actually make the hair less frizzy, and overall healthier. They reduce static and seal in moisture and are best for delivering super sleek looks.

 

Infrared
Infrared technology is a heating method that delivers consistent and even heat, preventing the hair from drying out or being overheated, in turn promoting healthier shinier hair.

 

 

I know, I know. It’s a lot of information and a lot of science like information to top it off. And I’m sure it can seem overwhelming knowing which elements you should focus on. So I’m going to break it down finally by hair type and which elements are best for each.

 

Dry hair
Tourmaline dryer

Fine/normal hair
Infrared dryer with temperature control

Course/thick hair
Tourmaline ionic

Curly/wavy hair
Tourmaline ionic with a diffuser attachment

Straight hair
Non-ionic

Frizzy hair
Tourmaline ionic with a nozzle attachment

A Hair Brush Primer

Having the right tool for the task can make your experience with styling your hair a nightmare or dream. Not all hairbrushes are ideal for all hair types, much like not all brushes are right for each task.

 

Sound confusing? Well it doesn’t need to be. I’m going to break down the elements of hairbrushes, what they do, and who they are best for. Consider me your Sherpa to what I’m sure seems like the Everest of hairbrush knowledge.

 

Bristle type

 

Bristles can easily be broken down into two main groups: boar and nylon bristles.

 

Boar bristles are widely favoured for their sturdiness strength and control. When used, boar bristles are usually densely packed, which makes them ideal for removing dirt and/or product from hair. The overall toughness of this bristle helps stimulate the scalp and distribute natural oils throughout the hair for moisture and shine. It also makes this type of bristle extremely effective for detangling thick coarse curly hair and straightening.

 

Nylon bristles are ideal for fragile fine or thin hair as they are able to slide easily throughout the hair without tugging or pulling at tangles. The majority of nylon bristles are flexible, thus making them gentler on the hair.

 

Technology

 

The next important element to understand is the technology of some brushes which will definitely make a difference in your styling experience.

 

Ceramic brushes
Some brush bodies are ceramic coated which increases the effects of negative ions produced by your hairdryer. Everyone’s hair carries a positive electrical charge that is caused by dryness which causes the cuticle to open and make the hair look ragged and become difficult to style. Negative ions created by the dryer can cancel out theses positive hair charges making the hair smooth again. These types of brushes help to evenly distribute heat and hold it longer which in turn can add up to a faster drying time. This means less time having to heat-style and allows for less frizz and more shine!

 

Tourmaline
This technology is like the next level of ceramic. It further enhances the benefits of ceramic technology by creating even more negative ions which means hair is usually smooth and static-free. A noticeable improvement can be seen in the overall condition of hair.

 

Body Type

 

The final major element of the hairbrush to consider is the body type.

 

Vented
This type of brush allows air to flow through its body through many openings. This means drastically faster drying time and cuts down on static in the hair!

 

Thermal
Thermal brushes capture and hold heat from the dryer, cutting down on the time needed for drying. All thermal brushes are vented, which allows airflow through the body of the brush. If you choose this type of brush with ceramic or tourmaline technology in the body or bristles you will achieve the smoothest, shiniest result.

 

Round barrel
The go-to brush for getting volume and body and creating curl. Hair type is the deciding factor with regards to whether you choose a nylon bristle round brush or boar bristle round brush.

 

Cushion
These types of brushes have a river or synthetic pad to which the bristles are secured. The amount of flexibility from the bristle is determined by the size shape and thickness of the cushion. More cushion equals more flexibility. More flexibility means the brush will be gentler on your hair, making this type of brush a great option for fine thin or fragile hair.

 

Paddle
These types of brushes are usually wide and flat. They typically have a larger surface area which makes them very effective for smoothing and straightening hair. Great for detangling and rough drying as well, paddle brushes are also great for stimulating the scalp.

 

Teasing brush
This type of brush is versatile and can be used on all hair lengths and types. The bristles are densely packed making it ideal to create major volume and also for smoothing, styling, and touch-up work. They are your best friend for any up style. Most teasing brushes have a pointy handle for backcombing at the root which can also be used to part or section the hair.

A Guide to Hair Product

Over the weekend, in the name of purging and in the interest of saving my sanity, I finally decided to tackle the job of sorting through the rather daunting stack of boxes still unopened from my move two years ago.

 

Much to my amusement (and horror) there were pictures; pictures from a dark, dark time in my life about 20 something years ago, or as I like to call it 10 years B.P. – Before Product. Fast forward to present times and the glorious mane you all see today (LOL). I am sure you were thinking, “How bad could it have been?” Well, you will have to take my word for it, as there ain’t no way I’m subjecting myself to that type of humiliation.

 

But it got me to thinking: what is the difference between then and now? Is it that there are better hair products? Perhaps. Or is it the knowledge that I have now that a 15-year-old me simply had no clue about?

 

I have always felt that it is important to know where one’s strengths and weaknesses lie, and that it is better to work with what you’ve got then to fight against it. This is especially true when it comes to hair. But in a time when we have so much choice, the task of selecting the right product can seem overwhelming.

 

It’s difficult to know what choice is the right one for you. Out of a vast sea of options, which product is the one that will save you from looking like a 15-year-old me? Well, to help you all avoid those wonderful B.P. years, I have put together a list of the most commonly used products and what hair style they are typically used for. Welcome, my friends, to your Carlsberg years.

 

1.  Anti-frizz cream

For coarse, curly, or naturally frizzy hair. Use on damp hair to keep the hair smooth and free from frizz.

 

2.  Blowdry spray

Gives heat protection and a faster drying time when blow drying. May also help your style stay longer.

 

3.  Dry shampoo

A spray or powder that absorbs excess oil from hair while also providing body and texture.

 

4.  Hair chalk

Colourful chalk used for temporary colour (usually fashion shades and pastels). Colour is temporarily sealed in by applying heat with a flat iron or curling iron.

 

5.  Hair oil

An oil that is targeted towards getting smooth, shiny hair. Can be used on towel dried hair or dry hair. Usually only a dime size amount used on hair, avoiding the root area directly.

 

6.  Hair primer

Lightweight cream that’s applied to damp hair. It helps smooth the cuticle and protects the strands to make your style last longer.

 

7.  Sea salt spray

A liquid infused with salt. Sprayed throughout towel dried, air dried, or defused hair to give “beachy” waves and matte texture.

 

8.  Styling wax

Soft hold wax used to give control and create a defined texturized look, usually works best on shorter to mid-length hair.

 

9.  Pomade

Most typically used by shorthaired clients. It’s especially helpful for flyaways and blending in shorter styles. Gives a slightly lighter hold than wax would, and gives the hair a high-gloss sheen. Pomades are great for mid- to slightly longer lengths of short hair. For example, this product would be perfectly paired with the pompadour.

 

10.  Fibre pastes and clays

A super strong, pliable product that gives a matte finish and can be used in short hair to create texture or spike and tame seriously unruly and stubborn hair by binding strands of hair together. Usually this product is very thick, resembling a dried-out wax, and has to be worked in the palm of the hand a bit for it to soften up before being worked into the hair.

 

11.  Hair paste / styling cream

Falling somewhere in between pomades and fibre pastes, these middle of the road cream-like products come in many varieties. Some mattify and some add sheen. They create texture and offer control. Depending on your needs there is likely to be one with the right holding strength and finish you desire.

 

12.  Gel

A clear, heavy, gelatinous-like product that offers unparalleled hold to short styles. Exercise caution with the amount of gel used to avoid “helmet head”. Gel is great for keeping spiky hair in place, keeping short hair flipped out, or taming flyaways. Will add definition to short curls and is the perfect product for creating the “wet look”.

 

13.  Texture powder

Can be used for many things like building body, creating more texture, and mattifying. A very workable powder that is added to dry hair at the root and gently massaged into the scalp. Fantastic when used for “up-styles”. It’s like backcombing but in powder form.

 

14.  Hairspray

A spray that has many functions, from setting the hair, to achieving volume and texture, to “slickback” or “definition” and helps create and hold an up-do. Hairspray comes in a variety of strengths or “holds”, the lighter of which are used for volume and to tame flyaways, etc. Use the stronger varieties to set a style. The strongest variety of hairspray is often referred to as “lacquer”.

 

15.  Thermal protectant

Typically a liquid in spray form (although it can also be found in a cream form). It is used to protect your hair from the high temperatures in heat styling tools that can ultimately do massive damage, causing breakage and dryness. It can also help hold ironed and sleek styles.

 

16.  Mousse

A foamy product typically used on towel dried hair, although it can sometimes be used on dry hair. Mousse is used to build volume, bounce and also hold. It can also be used to help tame and define curl. Apply directly at the roots and pull through the entire length of your hair before drying.

 

17.  Curl cream

A cream used on towel dried hair. When used on curly hair it reduces frizz and defines the shape of curl. When used on straight hair it builds texture. The best way to apply this product is by scrunching or twisting it into the hair.

 

18.  Anti-humectant

This is a moisture-blocking product applied to the hair, usually once dried. It repels moisture from your hair therefore preventing frizz and helps prevent curly hair from reanimating due to excess moisture in the air.