In our never–ending quest to achieve the shiniest hair possible, we’ve learned that a good hair dryer goes a very long way. And if you want to take your at–home blowout to the next level, a few pointers from the pros can’t hurt. So we turned to Jill Engelsen, senior stylist at Ted Gibson Salon, to get the scoop on shopping for the best professional hair dryers.
“Hairdryer wattages vary from about 1200–2000,” she explains. “General rule: more wattage, stronger airflow. Less wattage, weaker airflow.” Those with thick hair looking for extra smoothing should shoot for wattages at around 1875: “The stronger air flow will give you the heat and tension that you need to smooth out that hair and lock in shine for a long-lasting blowout.” Those with finer hair (assuming it hasn’t been colored) can get away with a lower wattage level.
With wattage out of the way, it’s time to consider the best technologies for your hair type. For even heat distribution, look for a ceramic dryer. “Ceramic prevents the hair from over drying,” says Engelsen, “But often the parts aren’t actually 100 percent ceramic—they’re just coated—so be sure to check that out when choosing the best price.”
Another must for smooth hair is an ionic hairdryer. Negative ions impart enviably smooth texture—plus, they seal in moisture and reduce static. Engelsen is also a big fan of infrared technology, which dries hair evenly and thoroughly. Her best tip? Keep an eye out for tourmaline, a semiprecious stone that acts as both an ionic and infrared generator, allowing you to dry hair faster.
Click through the slideshow above to shop our top picks—all based on Engelsen’s hair wisdom. Whether you’re in the market for high wattage or tourmaline tech, we’ve got you covered.