You know it dries your hair, but do you really know what it’s doing? provides this information on all the features of your favorite styling tool.


Nanotechnology treats matter at the molecular and atomic level. Whether it imparts smooth, mirror-like shine or antimicrobial capabilities, nanotechnology claims to work on a level invisible to the naked eye to make your hair eye-catching. Nanotechnology dryers usually contain either nano titanium dioxide or nano silver that manufacturers say will remove odors and microbes, but this isn’t the case.

“The only benefit that nano dryers have is that they dry your hair,” says cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski. “The nano thing is just a marketing gimmick.” Nanotechnology isn’t worth spending any extra money on, he says, but the dryers that feature it are usually quality dryers.


Ted Gibson, a celebrity stylist in New York City and What Not to Wear’s hairstylist, gives credit to ionic dryers for their static-reducing benefits. Ionic driers emit negative ions, which combat the positive ions that collect on hair and cause frizz and flyaways.

So if you’re prone to frizz, an ionic dryer might be a good investment. For a fail-safe frizz-fighting plan, Romanowski recommends using a leave-in conditioner before picking up a dryer.


These dryers feature a ceramic heating element and are popular for their ability to prevent damage. Ceramic elements tend to disperse heat more evenly than the traditional metal coil heaters, Romanowski explains, and they don’t reach the same scorching temps as their metal counterparts. You won’t necessarily see a reduced drying time, but for anyone with fragile, damage-prone hair, a ceramic dryer can be a strand saver.


A watt is a measure of power or energy exerted in a period of time. The higher the wattage of your hair dryer, the more powerful the airflow will be. “The more powerful the dryer, the less time you will spend blow-drying your hair and the higher the price of the tool will be,” says Ni’Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist and vice president of research and innovation at Englewood Lab, in New Jersey.


Fancy bells and whistles are excellent, but how effective will your at-home blow-dry be if you get carpal tunnel syndrome and muscle spasms while wielding the thing? Recent design developments have reduced the weight and bulk of motors and insulation, so you can find options that don’t tax your biceps.

High Airflow

Most hair dryers have high and low airflow settings. If you have thick or coarse hair, the high setting can help speed the epic process of styling your hair.

Here’s how high airflow dryers work: Changing the airflow involves increasing or decreasing the speed at which the motor inside the dryer is turning. When the power supplied is low, the motor and the fan spin slowly, pushing less air through the hair dryer. With more power, the motor speeds up and the fan rotates rapidly, drawing in more air and increasing the airflow.