With soft, fluffy hairstyles like bottleneck bangs, the C-shape haircut and the midi flick reigning supreme, it makes sense that we're keen to invest in the latest tools to keep our lengths looking their best between salon visits. TikTok is obsessed with the Dyson Airwrap, £499.99, and Revlon's Salon One-Step Hair Dryer And Volumiser, £62.99, among others. But ask any stylist and they'll likely tell you that not much beats the humble hairdryer.
Now it's autumn, air-drying season is officially over. Whether you're a dab hand or not, with a powerful hairdryer (and the right brush) you can wave, curl and volumise just as well as the aforementioned handy tools. Add in all the attachments, such as a diffuser for curly hair, and it's clear that hairdryers are better suited to enhancing a wider range of textures.
One hairdryer in particular has revolutionised hairstyling: the Dyson Supersonic. Depending on the tool you go for — a limited edition colourway or the gift box version — it can set you back anywhere from £329.99 to £429.99. But if you read the reviews, you'll discover that it's well worth the hype (and the price tag). As someone with very thick, wavy hair that's prone to frizz and flyaways, it's been a game-changer. I'd never experienced anything like it. Other hairdryers I'd used in the past felt like rattling, medieval contraptions compared to this one, which cut my drying time by more than half, made my hair sleek and easy to style, and didn't leave my ears ringing. Now, there's another buzzy hairdryer vying for the top spot.
If you're an R29 regular, you'll know that I'm a fan of Hershesons' London salon. I attribute my Italian bob haircut to Hershesons stylist Neale, and swear by the brand's £12 styling cream for enhancing my natural waves on a budget. A hair tool was the obvious next step for the brand — and it's probably like nothing you've ever seen before.
At 110,000 RPM (revolutions per minute), The Great Hairdryer in all its cobalt glory is top of the leaderboard when it comes to fast drying time. Many other popular hairdryers on the market are currently in the 20,000s — that's a serious difference. At 78 decibels, it's also one of the quietest and so won't wake up your entire household. What swayed me, though, is how it looks: sleek, stylish and very Instagram-worthy.
As a beauty director with a graveyard of forgotten hairdryers under my bed, I jumped at the chance to see whether this would live up to my expectations and I can confirm that it exceeded them. What initially struck me was how lightweight it felt in my hand; you can forget about uncomfortable arm aches, especially if your hair is long or thick. To really put it to the test, I decided to use it in various different ways.
First, rough-drying. Usually, this can take me 15 to 20 minutes and my hair slowly but surely expands into a ball shape that's hard to style afterwards. Without the nozzle, this took just under five minutes (yes, I timed it). With the nozzle it was a tad longer as the airflow is more concentrated. Each time I was taken aback by how smooth and glossy my hair looked and felt afterwards. That, says Hershesons, is all down to the 'oxy active' technology. In a press release, the brand explained that the dryer "emits active oxygen with an anti-bacterial effect, which increases shine, protects the elasticity of your hair and keeps your colour looking vibrant for longer". I don't understand it, but I like it.
I'm cack-handed but I wanted to see if I could attempt some sort of a style with The Great Hairdryer considering how featherlight and compact it is. Using a round barrel brush and Arkive The New Form Blow Dry Spray, £13, I wrapped my outgrown bottleneck bangs around the brush and concentrated the highest power and heat to the bristles, unravelling and re-wrapping to create a blow-dried effect. Lo and behold, my hair was as swishy and shiny as if it had been professionally styled. I'm lazy when it comes to styling so I left the rest and simply curled my ends under for more of a polished feel.
The Great Hairdryer comes complete with two nozzles for concentrated airflow (helpful if you're styling or straightening) and a large diffuser, which is perfect for curly hair. When I want to bring out my waves, I scrunch in some Almost Everything Cream, £12, a little Hairstory Undressed Texturising Spray, £42, and use mine with a 'hair sock' diffuser (a material diffuser, which reduces airflow and works a lot like air-drying). I'm very much taken by the cute storage case, too.
The only (and biggest) catch is the price. A new hairdryer probably isn't at the top of your list of priorities, what with costs rising left, right and centre. At £295 it's cheaper than the Supersonic but more expensive than other hairdryers I've spotted experienced stylists using in London salons, like the ghd Helios Professional Hairdryer, £179 (currently on sale at Lookfantastic for £143.20), and the much more affordable BaByliss Air Pro 2300 Dryer, £99 (on sale at Boots for £49.99). They're very, very good but neither is as lightweight or quiet as The Great Hairdryer.
If you're after a similar model to The Great Hairdryer but you have less to spend, you might like to try the Beauty Works Aeris Hair Dryer, £180. I've found that the good thing about well-made hairdryers (like all of the above) is that they last for many years if looked after properly, so the return on investment is good. But that involves some cleaning.
Often, the vents at the back can become clogged with hair, dust and product. This can block airflow, causing your hairdryer to overheat and, over time, not work as well. With your hairdryer unplugged (a must), simply unscrew the filter and give it a wipe with a clean, damp cloth. Make sure the filter is completely dry before twisting it back into place. I've also been told by stylists not to twist the wire around the base of the dryer when storing it as this could cause damage in the long run.
Refinery29's selection is purely editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items we love! As part of our business model we do work with affiliates; if you directly purchase something from a link on this article, we may earn a small amount of commission.