Here are the best hair dryers and diffusers for curly hair. Because air drying isn’t for everyone and finding the right hair tools can be tricky. Diffusing wavy and curly hair will give you the best shape, definition, root lift and volume. No matter what length or curl pattern your hair is. But the type of diffuser you get can really make a difference to the finished look and style. And there are some things to look for when purchasing a hair dryer and diffuser.
What to look for
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your hair dryer and diffuser, or you’ve never owned a hair dryer before but might like to try diffusing. My first advice is to start with a good hair dryer. Most of the time, the diffuser that comes with it is no good. So here’s what to look for when you’re purchasing a hair dryer to give you a smooth, shiny and frizz-free finish.
- Multiple heat and speed settings – diffuse on low to medium heat and a medium speed for best results. But it’s better to have multiple setting options available.
- Cool shot button – this provides a burst of cool air that seals the hair cuticle, tightens and sets the curl pattern, adds shine and makes hair appear smoother.
- High wattage – higher wattage means stronger airflow and faster drying time.
- Lightweight – because diffusing can take a while, and is often done at different and sometimes awkward angles. Look for hair dryer that’s easy to hold and lightweight.
- Long cord – especially important if you have wavy or curly hair with all the moving about we do when diffusing!
- Ion technology – negative ions give an anti-static, frizz-free effect. Smoothing the cuticle to seal in moisture and add shine. Preventing frizz and flyaways and making your hair look full and bouncy.
- Ceramic tourmaline – harnessing the benefits of the crystal tourmaline to help boost the performance of your hair dryer. There’s many benefits such as less heat damage, even heat protection. More even heat distribution, faster drying and sealing in moisture for a frizz-free, smooth and shiny finish.
Best Hair Dryers for Curly Hair
I’ve tried lots of different hair dryers and diffusers over the years. If you invest in a good hair dryer, so long as you don’t wrap the cord around the dryer, it will last you for years! This isn’t going to be a long list of hair dryers, because the hair dryer isn’t as important as the diffuser you use with it. But here are the two of the best hair dryers for curly hair that I use, love and recommend. With a mini review and the pros and cons of each, and is the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer really worth it…?
Lanai BLO Hair Dryer
The Lanai BLO Hair Dryer is the best hair dryer I’ve used and definitely my favourite! Proudly Irish, but made in Italy – a lot like me! It’s an amazing hair dryer – but don’t bother with the diffuser, it’s not great. The quality of the hair dryer though is outstanding. It’s light weight and incredibly powerful. At 2400 watts, this dries my high density, high porosity, long curly hair fast. Just as fast as the Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer! My hair strands are fine, but I’ve got a lot of them – aka high density. High porosity means it holds onto water, taking longer to dry than low porosity hair.
The Lanai BLO has all the features I’ve outlined above in “what to look for.” The cord is the longest I’ve come across. I can fully dry my hair in around 20 mins on medium heat and high speed. One of my favourite things about the Lanai BLO dryer is that it fits all my favourite diffusers – even the ones that aren’t designed to be universal like the Xtava Black Orchid Diffuser. It’s available in a few colours, and you can get it personalised.
For any professional hair stylists reading this, they have a PRO version, which is even more lightweight! The only downside to this hair dryer is that it’s currently only available in Ireland, the UK and Sweden. However, you can purchase Lanai BLO from Brown Thomas, who ship worldwide. But apart from that, I can’t fault it. So if you’re in the market for a really great hair dryer and not sure which one to go for, I highly recommend the Lanai BLO. Click here to shop. Even if you’re considering getting the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. Which brings me to my other hair dryer recommendation for curly hair…
Lanai BLO Hair Dryer overall score: 10/10
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
Now I totally understand the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is outrageously expensive and not in everyone’s budget. The diffuser isn’t the best, unless you have short hair or you don’t mind “hover diffusing” – more on that later. But there are a few reasons why I still use and recommend the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. Firstly, the voltage here in the UK and EU is 220 volts. Much higher than it is in the USA and Canada where it’s just 120 volts. This means it takes much longer to dry/diffuse the hair.
So if you really want to cut down and save time diffusing, then I’d recommend the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. I don’t think it’s worth the investment if you’re outside the USA or Canada, but it does dramatically reduce drying time if you are. It’s still fast in the UK and EU, but only has 1600 watts compared to the 2400 watts of the Lanai BLO. It’s also incredibly quiet, great if you have sleeping babies and young children when you’re doing your hair.
The Dyson is also the most light weight hair dryer I’ve ever used. So if you’ve got any kind of back, neck or shoulder injuries or weaknesses. Where holding a dryer and diffusing at awkward angles or for any length of time. Then the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is great as it’s both light weight, easy to hold and fast drying time. Which are the same reasons it’s perfect for young children. Whether they won’t sit still long enough for your to dry or diffuse their hair. Or if you’re teaching them how to diffuse their own hair. It’s much easier and lighter for them to hold, especially without a big cumbersome diffuser.
I’ve just had over 5 inches of hair cut off, but when it was really long it was almost waist-length. And when I was diffusing my hair, other sections were so long they were getting caught in the fan at the back of the Lanai BLO dryer if I wasn’t careful. But because of the design of the Dyson, the fan is at the bottom of the handle, so I never had that issue when using the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. It’s also the perfect weight and size for travelling too!
However, it’s worth noting the heat generated from the Dyson is excessive! I would never be able to use it on high heat. I can only use it on the medium heat setting for a short amount of time. I’ve heard some reports that it dries out the hair after a while, but I didn’t find that. Due to the high heat and speed, it does dry and set the curl really fast though. Due to the location of the heat and speed settings, it’s not easy to switch between them whilst diffusing either. Click here to shop the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer at Sephora. Or click here to purchase it at Boots in the UK and Ireland – pick up those Boots Advantage Points!
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer overall score: 8/10
Best Diffusers for Curly Hair
What to look for:
Diffusing wavy and curly hair will give the best shape, definition, root lift and volume. The heat damage from diffusing isn’t nearly the same as using heat styling tools, such as straighteners, flat irons, wands and tongs. Diffusing is also better if you have high porosity hair, over moisturized hair or you live in a cold and wet climate. Even just for health reasons alone! I’ve got a weak chest, asthma and high porosity hair. So I diffuse my hair every washday other wise I’d be constantly poorly and unwell. Here’s what to look for when purchasing a diffuser. And the best diffusers for curly hair.
- Deep bowl – this is to keep the heat and air flow inside the bowl. This reduces frizz and flyaways, enhances curl definition and speeds up the drying process.
- Universal attachment – most of the diffusers that come with hair dryers aren’t great. So you want to get a good diffuser with a universal attachment so it fits your hair dryer securely.
- Grips/prongs – look for a diffuser with little grips and prongs inside. Good for definition, but especially great for root lift and volume.
- Air flow holes – you want small, evenly distributed holes for even and diffused air flow. Too much air flow causes frizz and flyaways, not enough and it will take ages to dry/diffuse your curly hair.
Top Tip: avoid diffusers with shallow bowls and long prongs – they just blow the air right through the hair, causing lots of frizz and volume.
As someone who’s got a design degree, I can see why it the diffuser that comes with the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer was designed the way it was. The shape and size design is led by how it looks and feels in the hand and on the dryer. Instead of designing it with functionality and purpose as a priority. To me, it’s apparant that no one with curly hair was involved in the design process of this diffuser. There are a few Dyson x Diffuser Hacks, I tried one recently with the Xtava Black Orchid Diffuser which you can read more about here.
If you have short to medium length hair or fine hair. Or root lift and volume aren’t priorities for you, then the Dyson Diffuser is fine. Although the bowl isn’t that big, or deep – it does a good job at diffusing the air flow from what’s a powerful hair dryer. Which is great at reducing frizz, especially when diffusing.
Another pet peeve with the Dyson is the attachments. You get all available attachments when you purchase the Supersonic Hair Dryer. But if you want any attachments that come out after you’ve purchased, its an added expense – and (of course) they’re not cheap! The wide tooth comb attachment looks great for root lift and volume, and afro or coily hair. And the new flyaway attachment is meant to be great for smoothing down halo frizz and flyaways.
Dyson Diffuser overall score: 6/10
Diva Pro XXL Universal Diffuser
The Diva Pro XXL Universal Diffuser is hands down the best diffuser for curly hair on the market! I’ve been using mine for well over a decade. The bowl is deep and absolutely huge! Thanks to the soft rubber grips, they lift the hair to give the best shape, definition, root lift and volume. The air flow is diffused and evenly distributed to prevent frizz, but also dry the hair fast. Click here to shop if you’re in the USA. Or click here to shop if you’re in the UK or EU.
It’s truly universal and has fitted all the hair dryers I’ve had over the years. So although it’s a little bulky for travelling, you could bring it knowing it’s going to fit whatever dryer is available. It’s amazing quality, super durable and doesn’t break, get too hot or slip off when diffusing, no matter what angle. It’s great for all hair lengths and really affordable! This is the diffuser all my professional hair stylists use, because it really is the best. So if you’re going to buy any diffuser, make it this one!
Diva Pro XXL Diffuser overall score: 10/10
Xtava Black Orchid Diffuser
I really like the Xtava Black Orchid Diffuser, but it’s not truly universal. It didn’t fit any of my previous hair dryers, but it does fit the Lanai BLO. And it fits the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer with this hack I tried. The Xtava Black Orchid Diffuser is great if you want fast drying, and lots of root lift and volume. It’s especially great if you have a looser wave or curl pattern, or fine hair. Perfect for medium to long hair, but you won’t get the maximum benefits of it if your hair is quite short. Click here to shop if you’re in the USA. Click here to shop if you’re in the UK or EU.
The design and quality of the bowl is good, but it’s quite pricey and the attachment part isn’t the best. It’s slipped out quite a few times whilst I’ve been diffusing and I’ve had to superglue it back together. I’ve heard other people say they’ve experienced the same. The air flow is stronger as it flows through this diffuser, so I’ve found I get a little more frizz when I use the Xtava Black Orchid Diffuser than I do with others. It’s not enough to make me stop using or recommending it though.
Xtava Black Orchid Diffuser overall score: 8/10
Gama Universal Super Diffuser
The Gama Universal Super Diffuser is the best diffuser if you have really long hair and you want maximum definition! It’s not quite as universal as the Diva Pro Diffuser, because of the longer attachment nozzle. But it fits most dryers I’ve had, including the Lanai BLO. Another one made in Italy, the Gama Diffuser has the deepest bowl and longest prongs, which makes it perfect for long to really long hair. However, the prongs don’t come all the way up. So I wasn’t able to get the same root lift of volume with it as I can with the Diva Pro or Xtava Black Orchid Diffusers.
Often hard to find, but available at House of Curls in the UK, The Gama Universal Super Diffuser is the most expensive one I’ve used, but the quality is really good. It’s well made, durable and has never over heated, or showed any signs of wear and tear. The air flow is a little stronger than the Diva Pro – which I found gave me a little more frizz – but only slightly. The drying time was the same because it’s so deep and holds so much hair. When my hair was waist length, I’d often use the Gama Diffuser to diffuse the ends and mid lengths. Then use the Diva Pro to diffuse for the best root lift and volume.
Gama Super Diffuser overall score: 9/10
Babyliss Pro 3 in 1 Universal Diffuser
The Babyliss Pro 3 in 1 Universal Diffuser is best budget option diffuser I’ve found on the market – and you can get 20% off at Look Fantastic using code CURLMAVEN. It’s good quality, well made, universal, durable and has three interchangeable head attachments. I’ve never seen this before in a diffuser, but it’s a great option to have. One attachment has soft rubber prongs similar to the Diva Pro Diffuser. Another attachment has rigid prongs similar to the Gama and Xtava Black Orchid Diffuser. Then the third attachment has no prongs at all, just an open air flow grid. Which would be more suited to short hair, hover diffusing, or tight coily and afro hair.
Apart from the Dyson Diffuser, the Babyliss Pro Diffuser is the smallest and lightest diffuser mentioned in this post. Making it ideal for travel. The air flow is really strong, due to the size and number of holes in the attachments, so it does create more frizz. But for the price, it’s a great budget option. Babyliss PRO is a great range in general and I’ve used their heat styling tools for years. Get 20% off Babyliss PRO at Look Fantastic using code CURLMAVEN.
Babyliss Pro Diffuser overall score: 7/10
I know there are collapsible diffusers, which are great for travel. But the air flow is too strong, the metal gets too hot and there’s no depth to the bowl or prongs for root lift and volume – so it’s a no from me.
I really hope you found this blog post helpful and feel more confident about what to look for when it comes to the best hair dryers and diffusers for curly hair. Let me know if you have any questions by commenting below and I’ll answer them as best I can. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar enough with hair dryers in the USA to make more affordable recommendations to the Dyson.
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