You’ll find one in virtually every American bathroom, and in some cases, you’ll find more than one. I’m talking hair dryers. The marvelous styling tool advancement that changed the way
men and women dried and styled their hair for decades. The hand-held home-use hair dryer came to be around 1920 after Alexander Godefroy created his original salon-use version in 1890. Over the century that has passed
since its creation, there have been many advances in the technology, as well as many others that are purely cosmetic and convenience-based.
The basic design of the hair dryer involved a motorized device that blows air. The airflow is directed over coiled heating elements that warm the air. This warm air is used to disperse
the moisture in wet hair, leaving it dry. Since moisture and heat both are capable of breaking the salt and hydrogen bonds in the hair, the use of airflow and hair styling tools while drying the hair allows an individual to
create new shapes and redirect the position of the hair.
While the mechanics have remained constant, advances in materials science have allowed the creation of improved hair dryers that offer better results and faster drying times for many
hair types. One such development has been the use of ceramic and composite materials in creating the heating elements for hair dryers. These newer elements provide more-even heating and reduce the likelihood of “hot
spots” during the drying process. This helps ensure that the hair is less likely to be damaged by the heat of the drying process. The even heating also means better control in the styling aspect of the hair dryer use.
An even more recent advance has been in the generation of ionic hair dryers. The ionic operation is designed to reduce the amount of static electricity in the hair as it is dried, and
helps to create a smoother, more polished finish to the hair. The use of ionic charge generation also helps to disperse moisture in the hair faster without as much heat, which makes it safer for the hair, and allows for
quicker drying and styling times.
A slightly older, but perhaps the biggest feature development for the hair dryer is the “cool shot” button. This button is usually found on the handle in easy reach and disengages the
heating element of the dryer, while allowing the airflow to continue uninterrupted. This means that during the styling process, once a segment of hair is warmed and pliable, the cool shot button can direct cooler air
over the hair in the configuration provided by the styling tool used and “set” the new style in place.
This is good for straightening and adding wave to the hair as desired. It may take practice, but most find it a technique worth mastering.
What to Look for in a Dryer
As with most things, the specific features you need for your hair dryer depend largely on the type of hair you have. There are a wide range of features and attachments that serve
different purposes and sometimes they can be more than a little confusing. Let’s take the features and factors one by one, and break down what they offer and what they are best suited to provide.
Hairdryers are available in a wide range of wattages. The wattage refers to the amount of power used by the dryer. It also indicates the strength of its output. Hairdryers with a
high wattage will blow stronger and hotter than those with lesser wattage numbers. They can be more expensive, but you generally want to get the best bang for your buck.