I’ve never been able to master a great at-home blowout, despite having the best hair dryer and smoothing hair products known to man. Moments into the process, a) my super curly hair frizzes in protest, or b) I give up when my biceps and delts can no longer handle the burn. That’s why, when I want to go sleek, I am a devotee to hair dryer brushes, which combine the work of round brushing and blow drying hair into one foolproof step, perfect for people like me who "can't dry their own hair."
That's why I love the Dyson AirWrap, which transforms my mop of thick, curly hair in a silky smooth sheet in 15 minutes flat (heh) — but it comes with a whopping $550 price tag. Now, I know what you're thinking: There's no way I'm spending that much money on a hair tool. And that, my friends, is where the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer comes in.
The insanely popular hair dryer brush is a best-seller on Amazon (and always sells out in all of our gift guides). It boasts over 84,000 reviews (nearly 66,000 of which are five-star ratings), and it claims to achieve smooth blowouts in half the time. Its namesake volume is thanks to the ability to easily place the dryer close to the scalp, beneath the hair, for that swingy, salon-coiffed look.
"The smart design of the brush is what makes this tool unique," says Sabina Wizemann, Senior Chemist at the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab. "The oval shape allows for two different types of brushes to work together simultaneously: The longer, flatter side acts as a hair-straightening paddle brush, while its rounded corners lift the hair from its roots and create volume like a round brush does."
Reviewers are freaking out over this thing, too. One says it took her blowout time from 75 minutes to 8 minutes, and another raves, “my hair looks like I went to the hair salon” (honestly, it’s worth checking out her before and after photos).
Does the One-Step Hair Dryer Work?
It’s definitely bulkier than the sleek Dyson, but I was shocked at how easy to hold and intuitive the One-Step Volumizer is to use, despite its wide construction. For reference, there’s almost no learning curve if you’ve ever held a round brush before.
Its smart elliptical design means smooth swaths of hair with minimal tugging, and the combination of nylon pin bristles detangle while tufted bristles smooth. Since the 1.8-pound dryer combines both a brush and a dryer in one package, that means you can go more than five minutes of styling without tapping out due to tired arms and/or a sweaty neck. The cool tip at the top of the brush gives an ergonomic place to grab with your opposite hand, which keeps the tension while styling and mitigates the weight of the tool.
The one downside: Its heat settings. The brush comes with two predetermined settings, low and high, which means high speed/high heat, or low speed/low heat. The high setting is powerful and quite hot, so "it may be a little harsh on shorter hairstyles, where the tool will be lingering closer to the scalp," warns Wizemann.
That combination of high heat and boar-style bristles means a totally smooth result that doesn't require touch-ups with a flat iron — which is both good and bad. The good: My hair looks amazing in truly one step. The bad: It could potentially damage my hair over time.
"Water causes hair to stretch and swell, putting a strain on the entire fiber," explains Wizemann. "Wet hair — especially soaking-wet hair — is more prone to cracking or breaking, and friction caused by a dense bush can snap cuticles off," resulting in breakage and damage. One critical reviewer agrees, warning that the styler can singe and thin hair over time since you can’t “control distance and heat exposure.”
That's why so many stylists recommend gently detangling wet hair with a wide-tooth comb or gentle Wet Brush, and rough-drying hair sans brush until hair is about 80% dry to prevent damaging wet hair. If you're worried, wait for hair to air-dry partially before styling, and make sure to use a hair-strengthening leave-in conditioner — then, prepare for shampoo-commercial-gorgeous hair at home, in half the time (and sweat) of traditional blowouts.
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