A man I know with an impressive pompadour recently had an "aha" moment when he upgraded his crappy $20 hair dryer to a salon-grade number from a professional beauty-supply store.
"It takes me literally half the time to get ready now," he says. "I used to put in some product, blow-dry. Put in more product, blow-dry. It took forever."
Beyond the speedier drying time, he also found that even when he used his roommate's drugstore pomade (after he ran out of the nicer stuff), it held his style all day—though when resorting to it in the past, his hair usually fell flat by lunchtime.
Oh, what a difference pro tools can make. While many men are comfortable with investing in their wardrobe, they may still be hesitant to splurge on their grooming routine. A $1,000 suit? Ring it up. But a $100+ hair dryer? What do I need that for?
For some, the blame for a less-than-stellar hairstyle lies in not using a hair dryer at all. "Most men vigorously towel dry their hair," says Robert McMillen, head barber at Blind Barber, "which can potentially lead to damage and splitting, given the hair is in its most vulnerable state when wet."
A better plan? "Pat dry after getting out of the shower, then set your dryer to a low heat and guide it along your hair for your desired style."
But for those with cheap blow-dryers already in their bathroom arsenal, what's the incentive to splurge on a high-end model? One word: power. A quality model will dry your hair in less time, meaning less heat damage to your hair.
Alli Webb, founder of The Drybar, a blow-dry-only salon chain, agrees. "A professional dryer can make a huge impact on your hair. It will do the job quicker, add shine, and cut down on frizz, all of which are important for women and men."
"There have also been huge technological advances in the past few years, such as the use of Nanolonic minerals and negative ions." The first hydrates your hair; the second naturally cleanses and freshens it, meaning the quality gap between your hair dryer at home and the ones stylists use is as wide as Donald Trump's combover.
Still can't bring yourself to blow your budget on this grooming tool? "If you feel silly buying a high-quality blow-dryer, you can always get one for your wife or girlfriend, and you could just happen to use it," Webb suggests. Score thoughtful-partner points and a perfect part? Sounds good to us.
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These three dryers all got a thumbs-up from our experts:
Twin Turbo 2800 Dryer; $130
Drybar Buttercup; $190
—Megan Collins writes the men's blog Style Girlfriend.
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