The blow-dryer has been a staple styling tool for just about a century – in fact, the first ever household handheld dryer appeared on the market in 1920. And the technology has come a long way in the intervening years. Hair dryers are now speedier, lighter and quieter than ever before. They also far more customizable, catering to any hair type, texture or desired styling result. And on top of that, certain brands are pushing hair tool boundaries and driving innovation in less conventional — alright, we'll just say it, weirder — ways.
Weird how, you ask? One of them is inspired by an Italian luxury sports car. Meanwhile, another has a channel running through the nozzle so you can use it to sandwich your strands with the hot air as you're styling. And the best part of these odd new innovations is that they're all designed with the goal of making it even simpler to achieve professional, salon-worthy results at home.
Ahead, we've rounded up four of the coolest, weirdest, most innovative new blow-dryers that are changing the DIY blowout for good. Study up!
Aria Mini Unicorn Dryer, $69.99, available here
Not only is this shrunken down dryer without a doubt the cutest hair tool you've ever seen, but it's also just as powerful as some of its full-sized counterparts. "Sure, they are perfect for travel being that they fit neatly into a carry-on or tote, but they are also nice dryers in general, especially for those with dry or fine hair," says Matt Fugate, a hairstylist at Serge Normant at John Frieda in New York City.
Varis Creative Energy Hair Dryer, $250, available here
There are fancy dryers, and then there are fancy dryers powered by crystals. This one is the latter version, and Spencer Pratt would totally love it. Hydroionic crystals serve a real purpose to hydrate and condition hair despite blasting it with heat, significantly reducing frizz, explains Fugate. "It may sound gimmicky, but with anything that has this crystal technology, I can definitely tell the difference on the feel of the hair," he says. "It's different in the way that it seals the cuticle and dissipates the moisture in the hair. A lot of dryers blow the water out of the hair, steaming it which can be quite damaging, while this dryer manipulates the water molecule, spreading the moisture outward." The air coming out of the dryer also feels softer. "Similar to how you might feel hot air coming out of a tail pipe in a car, I can feel the difference in the air that the dryer is producing. It's hard to say unless you have worked with blow-dryers all day long, but there is a noticeable difference which translates into a highly reflective, glossy blowout," he adds.
Revlon Salon 360 AC Styler, $59.99, available here
It looks like someone sliced the nozzle of this hair dryer right down the middle, and that's precisely what makes it so special. The vertical drying mode — which requires you to feed your hair into the cross-section of the dryer so it's hit by heat from both the front and the back — results in significantly smoother blowouts. What's more, you can accomplish them in in less than half the amount of time they'd normally require. "I love the idea of being able to run this dryer down your hair shaft and hit the hair from all angles," says Fugate. "It's fantastic for girls with super long hair because they can drape their hair in the heat chamber and pull hair through it." He also recommends it for those with curly textures and suggests using it almost like a diffuser to avoid breaking up the coils: "Put it on low power and use the prongs facing upward to stick up into the hair — this will scrunch without disrupting the curl pattern." For an under-$100 tool, that kind of versatility is majorly impressive.
BaBylissPRO Rapido, $189.95, available here
BaByliss teamed up with Ferrari (as in the ultra-fancy Italian sports car manufacturer) to create a blow-dryer — does it get any more badass than hair tool with a Ferrari engine? No, no it does not. This chic black design is crazy lightweight (it clocks in at less than one pound) and also incredibly quiet. "It makes its own unique high-pitched sound that's different from any other dryer I've ever used... a high-end sound, like it's built to last," says Fugate, who in addition to crafting everyday hair magic, also had his hands in the car industry growing up. So it's no wonder he's a fan. "The dryer has a turbo shot button that revs up the airflow, so you can easily pinpoint cowlicks or bangs. It also holds nicely in your hand and is ergonomically friendly, making for a more comfortable grip while you blow-dry."
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