Are those expensive heating styling brushes actually worth it?
Who doesn't love the look of a smooth, voluminous blowout? But heading to the salon every time you want one gets pretty pricey, which is why it's worthwhile to perfect your at-home technique. Wielding a hairdryer in one hand and a round brush in the other can get complicated, though, especially if you're not all that coordinated.
That's why heated styling brushes have become so popular. With a single handheld styling tool, you can dry, smooth, and add volume to your hair, which can save you major time and hassle in the morning.
But a styling brush isn't necessarily for everyone. That's why it's essential to understand the differences between a traditional hairdryer and a styling brush if you want to figure out which tool is the best fit for your styling routine.
If you decide on a styling brush, it's important to note that there's a difference between pricier brushes and budget-friendly models. Here's everything you need to know.
What's the difference between a hairdryer and a styling brush?
A hairdryer's primary purpose is drying wet hair. You can also use it to smoothe, volumize, and even curl, but that requires running a round brush through your hair while you direct the hot air from the dryer at each section. Not only can that tire your arms, but it can also lead to tangles.
A heated styling brush has the round shape you need for styling and smoothing, so you don't need a separate round brush. It also generates heat, which allows it to dry your hair at the same time that you're styling. You're able to combine the two steps in one to save time -- and prevent arm fatigue.
But heated styling brushes don't provide the same heat that a hairdryer does, so they can take much longer to dry thick or curly hair. In fact, you may need to use a dryer to pre-dry your hair before finishing it off with a styling brush. So if you're just looking for a tool to dry your hair, a dryer is usually the better option.
Best styling brushes at all price points
Chiicol Blower Brush: $31.99 at Amazon
A styling brush that won't break the bank, this model features ionic technology to smooth and nourish your hair. It offers a mix of bristles, too, which can help detangle your locks but also provides a good grip for styling. We like that it can be used on both wet and dry hair.
Conair INFINITIPRO Hot Air Spin Brush: $40.75 at Amazon (was $59.99)
Want a styling brush that's perfect for smooth, bouncy curls? This model from Conair not only dries your hair, but it also rotates to create curls. Its barrel is made of tourmaline ceramic and generates ions to cut down on frizz and boost shine, too.
Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer Hot Air Brush: $59.99 at Ulta
This heated styling brush has 1100 watts, making it as powerful as many standard hairdryers. It has three heat and speed settings, too, but it helps you get major lift at your roots to boost volume. Your locks won't get damaged either because it has an ion generator and ceramic coating.
Hot Tools Professional Charcoal Infused One Step Blowout: $69.99 at Amazon
Really want to protect your hair? This styling brush features 24K gold technology in its barrel to distribute heat more evenly and consistently. Its bristles are infused with charcoal, which is perfect for freshening up second-day hair. It also has variable temperature controls and three speed settings for perfect styling every time.
BaBylissPro Nano Titanium Rotating Hot Air Brush: $79.95 at Ulta
This spinning styling brush is another great pick if you want the option of curling your hair as you dry. It boasts nano titanium and ionic technology to protect your hair, prevent frizz, and add shine. Best of all, it's easy to use thanks to the push-button forward/reverse controls.
AMIKA Blowout Babe Thermal Brush: $100 at Sephora
Want a perfect blowout every day? This styling brush can create big, bouncy volume that'll make you feel like you just stepped out of the salon. It has a thermal ceramic barrel and uses infrared heat and negative ions for the smoothest, shiniest locks around.
Drybar Double Shot Blow-Dryer Brush: $150 at Nordstrom
If your goal is major lift at the roots, this styling brush from Drybar is for you. Not only does it make it easy to boost volume, but it also helps smooth the hair and cut down on frizz with its ionic technology that seals the cuticle. It also has perfectly placed vents to maximize airflow, so you can dry and style your hair more efficiently.
Dyson Airwrap Complete Styler: $549.99 at Amazon
This versatile styler from Dyson can do it all. It can dry and style your hair simultaneously, and it includes a firm smoothing brush, a soft smoothing brush, a round volumizing brush, and two barrels for creating waves and curls. Each attachment clicks on and off the barrel with ease, and the handy storage case lets you keep everything in order.
How do expensive styling brushes differ from affordable models?
These days, there are so many styling brush options to choose from that you can find one for any budget. As with most products, though, you tend to get what you pay for, so pricey brushes usually have features and benefits that cheaper models don't.
The first usually comes down to materials -- budget-friendly brushes often have a metal barrel that can do real damage to your hair, particularly if it's fine or thin. High-end styling brushes, on the other hand, typically have a ceramic or tourmaline coating with ionic technology that conducts heat more evenly and limits heat damage for healthier, shinier hair.
You'll also get more features from a higher-end styling brush, like variable temperature options and bristles in different lengths for quicker styling and smoother hair.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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