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Do you own a hair dryer, straightening irons, and curling tongs? A hair dryer brush can replace all three, save you tons of time, and blowout your hair like we’re back in the 90’s.
Who needs a hot air brush?
Presuming you’re not a professional hairstylist trained in “pull and wrap” blowouts, this is your best option for that “just stepped out of the salon” look. It combines a large rounded bristle brush with a hot air dryer into a single tool. And it’s far easier to use compared to coordinating a seperate brush and blower.
Because the air vents get “inside” your hair, it dries much quicker than blowing air from the outside. The longer and thicker your hair is, the more time you’ll save. For me, drying from wet to completely dry takes almost half the time as previously.
So if you normally style with a hair dryer and a round hair brush, one of these gadgets should be on your shopping list.
Disadvantages of dryer brushes
You could argue that you get more control and shine with a separate hairdryer and then using individual straightening and curling tools. Is it worth the extra time and fuss? Not for me.
If you have short hair however, I’d pass on a hair dryer brush. You won’t get much of a time-saving in drying, and the large brush size is poor for working down near the roots and for tight curling.
The best hair dryer volumizer brushes
If I were forced to choose only one hair styling tool, I’d probably pick my GHD hair straightener (review). But a very close second would be the Revlon One-Step Dryer Brush. If you’ve only ever used a traditional hair dryer, you’ll be amazed at the difference a brush-blower makes.
The Revlon is my pick mainly because it works just as well as the more prestigious brands, yet at a more sensible price point.
The styling bristles are mixed materials; nylon for strength to prevent tangles, and natural boar to improve the surface shine. The longer nylon “pins” have a small plastic bulb at the end for protection. After a few years of use, none of these have broken off (although some are now a little bent).
The flat side of the oval shaped barrel is good for quick drying and straightening; the round edge for curling and waves.
There are 3 (or 4) speed settings, which adjust both the temperature and the airflow. Maximum power is 1100W – more than anyone needs. A minor complaint is that the circular dial on the base takes 2 hands to turn. I’d prefer a thumb button so it can be adjusted mid-pass. The “cool tip” is an insulated cap over the end of the brush, for guiding with your second hand for accuracy. Although the middle of the barrel can get ridiculously hot, the tip does indeed stay cool enough to hold – I never feel in danger of burning myself.
Looking at the downsides, the first one to mention is the noise. It’s louder than a normal hair dryer, and hubby walks out of the room when I’m using it.
It’s also heavier than a simple hairdryer, and feels a bit bulky the first time you pick it up. At around 1.7 lbs it is however lighter than many of the other hot air brushes. The handle is comfortable and well balanced – my arms don’t get tired using it.
For volumizing, I can’t get quite the insane levels as I’ve seen on TikTok. I’m sure this is more to do with my hair type (fine and frizzy), rather than Revlon’s products. For short hair styles, I don’t think you’d see much advantage from a combined brush blower over a traditional dryer.
Revlon Original 1.0 versus Plus 2.0
For most of us, the Plus 2.0 model is the better choice, for only a little extra cost. Specific benefits include:
|One-Step Original 1.0||One-Step Plus 2.0|
|Brush/head size (max diameter)||4.25 in||2.4 in (detachable)|
|Weight||1.8 lbs||1.6 lbs|
|Bristles||Nylon and boar||Charcoal infused nylon and boar|
|Heating technology||Ceramic + ionic||Ceramic + tourmaline|
|Colors||Black||Black, Teal, Mint|
You might prefer the Original 1.0 brush dryer if you have lots of hair, and you’re more interested in quicker drying rather than styling.
Possibly more aesthetic in both look and feel, this is very similar in design to the Revlon.
However, the heat seems somehow less brutal than the Revlon. After a long session with the Revlon there is a subtle but definite smell of burning, and the metal centre of the barrel is too hot to touch. This doesn’t happen with the Drybar brush dryer. If you’re prone to heat damage, you want the Drybar.
The most obvious drawback to this dryer is the cost – over twice the price of the Revlon. I assume you’re getting better build quality and lifespan.
Drybar Double Shot vs Single Shot
The round Single is slightly better for curling, the oval (Double) for straightening. Chose the Single for shorter hair. Choose the Double for longer thicker hair types, and loads of volume.
How to clean and maintain the Revlon blow dryer
The blow dryer brush has an auto shut-off feature to prevent overheating if the vents are blocked.
So if you are losing power mid-use, or if your brush looks like mine, it’s time to clean it!
Steps for cleaning the dryer brush:
- Turn off and unplug from the power source.
- Gently pull out the hair with your fingers.
- Lift out deeper and tighter hairs with a tool such as a wooden skewer.
- Blow across the vents. Or even better, suck the dust out with a micro-nozzle attachment on a vacuum cleaner.
- Wipe with a barely damp cloth. Do not wash in water.
Revlon advise allowing the brush to cool completely before packing it away. This prolongs the life of the bristles. Also don’t wrap the cord tightly around the handle.