It’s imperative to properly care for hair when styling it with hot tools, especially if you have wavy or curly strands. Many curly-haired people opt to dry their hair naturally, but those who choose to heat style their hair can do so gently with the best hair dryers for curly hair.
“When working with curly hair, reducing frizz is a must,” says celebrity hairstylist and consulting creative director Michael Dueñas. He mentions ionic hair dryers are key to helping achieve this, as they emit negative ions to reduce static electricity and promote shiny, bouncy strands.
There are also certain types of blow dryers equipped with infared technology that can help control flyways and other issues tied to curly and wavy hair types.
Typically, straight hair requires less heat than curly hair to get the same smoothing effect, however, Dueñas warns that excessive heat can damage curls. “Your hair dryer should get very warm, but never should it be hot, where you feel it is going to burn your scalp,” he adds. “Having access to a dryer with a cool shot button is fantastic as well.”
In addition to ionic hair dryers, Dueñas also advises using a diffuser (on a lower heat setting) or diffuser attachment, which create a more gentle flow of air than traditional blow dryers and dryer attachments. This is especially important for maintaining curly strands, which are much more elastic than their straight counterparts. “Curly locks can stretch out to almost double their length when taut,” Dueñas explains. “In contrast, straight hair typically stretches about half an inch at most.”
For the best results when using a diffuser, he suggests beginning by scrunching wet hair. “To draw a minimal amount of moisture from the hair and compact the curl more, use a t-shirt, microfiber towel or paper towel,” he says. “Scrunch very hard until no more water drips out, then place the diffuser against the curls and close to your scalp.”
And during the drying process, he stresses that patience is key. “Do not move the dryer until that section is about 95% dry to 100% dry,” Dueñas says. “The more you move curly hair when wet, the more frizz you will get.”
Keep in mind that if you have curly hair and you’re trying to style it straight, however, you should skip the diffuser or diffuser attachment altogether. In this case, hair will need to cool in the flattest position, which is when you’d want to use one of the best hair dryers for curly hair to blast it with a cool shot of air.
No matter which tool you decide to use, you should prep your curls by applying a small amount of conditioner before you step out of the shower, Dueñas says. “Do not rinse it out, but leave it in. This will give your curls the moisture they need to prevent frizz,” he adds.
Considering all this, we compiled the best hair dryers for curly hair, including styles with diffuser attachments. We featured options backed by glowing customer reviews and our own editors’ testing, as well as a few of Dueñas’ picks.
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
Best Overall Hair Dryer for Curly and Wavy Hair
Suitable for all hair types but especially great for those with curly or wavy strands, Dyson’s Supersonic hair dryer is one of Dyson’s best hair styling tools. This highly-rated hair dryer uses intelligent heat control, which measures air temperature over 40 times a second and regulates the heat. This prevents heat damage to protect your hair’s shine and keep curly and wavy hair intact.
Bed Head Curls in Check Diffuser Dryer
Best Diffuser Hair Dryer for Curly Hair
Many hair dryers for curly hair require a separate diffuser attachment, but Bed Head Curls’ device comes complete with a diffuser built in. It also features tourmaline ceramic technology that tames frizz and boosts shine.
Harry Josh Pro Tools Ultra Light Pro Hair Dryer
Loved by consumers and hair experts alike, the Harry Josh blow dryer is not only incredibly effective for drying hair, but it’s also lightweight and quiet. “I am in love with the Harry Josh Ultra Light Pro blow dryer,” Dueñas said. “It has accomplished everything I have ever needed in a small compact package.”
Infiniti Pro by Conair 3Q Hair Dryer
Best Affordable Hair Dryer for Curly Hair
The Infiniti Pro by Conair 3Q comes highly recommended by Dueñas for curly hair, too. “If you’re on a budget, the Infinity Pro by Conair 3Q is a fantastic dryer as well,” he says.
Drybar Buttercup Hair Dryer
Drybar’s iconic Buttercup hair dryer features ionic technology that seals the cuticle to reduce frizz and dry the hair in 20% less time than similar professional dryers on the market. This makes it not only great for all hair types and one of the best hair dryers for curly hair, but also one of the best affordable alternatives to the Dyson Supersonic available.
DevaDryer and DevaFuser
DevaCurl’s patented DevaFuser was created specifically for curly hair. It helps give natural curls shape, definition and volume. The DevaFuser also provides 360-degree airflow to surround curls for speedy drying time.
T3 Cura Hair Dryer
This T3 hair dryer offers three heat and two speed settings paired with a lock-in cool shot button to create a customized blow dry. For wavy and curly hair, you can use the lowest setting for a gentle flow and shiny curls.
ghd Helios 1875W Advanced Professional Hair Dryer
ghd’s Helios 1875W professional hair dryer offers a longer-lasting, brushless motor to deliver a 75-mph airflow for a quick blow dry. It features aeroprecis technology that enables intuitive styling with more precise control.
amika The CEO 360° Lightweight Powerhouse Hair Dryer
Best Travel Hair Dryer for Curly Hair
Especially compact and lightweight, the adorable and efficient amika hair dryer is great for packing on a trip. It’s an 1875-watt dryer with a patented ergonomic design and rotating dials that allow for comfort and ease of styling, too.
CHI for Beauty Gorgeous Beauty Blowout Kit
This kit from Chi comes with everything you need to blow dry your hair. Along with an infrared hair dryer to protect from frizz, you get sectioning clips, a round brush, heat protectant and more.
Hot Tools Professional Turbo Ceramic + Ionic Lightweight Hair Dryer
This Hot Tools hair dryer is lightweight and conditions your hair for a shiny finish without the frizz. It also includes three different attachments, including a diffuser that’s great for curly hair.
InfinitiPro By Conair Gold Soft Bonnet Hair Dryer with Ionizer
Best Hooded Hair Dryer for Curly Hair
One of the best hooded hair dryers for curly hair, this bonnet style from InfinitiPro By Conair will gently dry your hair by surrounding it with heat and protecting it from damage. It can also be used to heat up your hair during a deep conditioning treatment.