One of the main differences between bargain-basement and pricey hair dryers is the technology they claim to use, namely ionic and ceramic technology.
Hair dryers fall into two categories – those
marketed as simple consumer products
with few bells and whistles, and those
marketed as professional products, which
command a premium price.
fork out the big bucks, or will your discount
department store basic do the trick?
One of the main differences between
bargain-basement and pricey hair dryers
is the technology they claim to use,
namely ionic and ceramic technology.
Tracey Hughes, creative director of Mieka
Hairdressing and Hairexpo Award’s
Educator of the Year 2012, says ionic
hairdryers claim to cut the drying
process time in half and to increase
the finished shine factor.
“The ionic feature is based upon
positive and negative charges,” she says.
Ceramic technology, on the other hand,
“uses a ceramic heating unit that provides
better heat regulation. Ceramic dryers can
be a little more popular due to the costs
being slightly [lower than] ionic dryers”.
In our trial of hair dryers, the GHD
Air, which claims to use ionic technology,
dried hair quickest (tying in one case with
the cheapest hair dryer on trial). However,
while one triallist found the GHD dried
her hair in less than half the time of the
non-ionic cheapie, the others reported the
GHD dried their hair only slightly faster.
Remington Professional Aero 1800
While the Remington was the
cheapest hair dryer, three
triallists preferred it to the more
expensive Vidal Sassoon.
However, two of our triallists
said it made their hair feel dry,
rough and tangled, and a third
said her hair looked frizzy
What they said
- “It was OK for what I assume is
a low-end hair dryer. It is much
better than the [Vidal Sassoon] I
tested first. My hair looks OK, but it is
still very inferior to my own hair dryer.”
- “It is very ineffective. It is similar to the
dryers you find at hotels.”
Vidal Sassoon Studio Tools Expert Turbo Dryer
This mid-range dryer from Vidal Sassoon performed
surprisingly poorly in our user trial.
Three testers rated it as the worst
performer of the lot.
“To be honest I could not give an
explanation as to why [it did so badly],”
says Hughes. “Since it does contain
the newer technology, I can’t offer
a technical reason as to why the
performance was poorer.”
What they said
- “I don’t think I could use this early in
the morning when I usually dry my
hair as it may wake the neighbours!”
- “I couldn’t leave the house with this
blow dry. The dryer felt cheap and
nasty. It made a tinny sound, was noisy
and didn’t work well at all.”
The GHD Air easily surpassed the
other dryers in our survey when
triallists were asked to give it an overall
rating. They all said they would buy
the dryer, and were willing to pay top
dollar for it. However, although the
performance in our survey was
impressive, Lili Hopkins, freelance
hair stylist and salon owner, believes
there are better products out there
in the same price category, her pick
being a Parlux.
What they said
- “It was pretty fast considering
how thick my hair is, and my hair
didn’t feel frizzy after drying.”
- “It was hard to tell which setting it was
on, as it looks like it’s on the highest
when it’s actually on medium. But I like
the rubber stoppers on the side so
when you put it down it lands gently