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Hair Dryer Diffusers For Curly Hair

Updated on August 2, 2011

I've had curly hair since junior high school. None of the women in my immediate family have curly hair, so I had to figure out how to manage it on my own, which was not easy, given how much hair I have and how thick (and heavy) it is. It didn't take long, however, to figure out that regular blow-drying was not going to work; something I'm sure every woman with curly hair learns fairly early on.

You'll see all kinds of advice all over the internet, advising this and that product. I'm not going to discuss actual styling today (though I might do in the future) but I can tell you that nothing -- nothing -- created for curly hair has ever impressed me. In fact, it's usually been quite the opposite. The same goes for styling tips. Dry your hair upside down? Not if you have as much hair as I do, thanks. Not unless you want to look like an idiot when you stand back up, anyway.

But, I digress.

Today we're just going to talk about hair dryer diffusers. We'll look at the best and the worst. There are really only 3 basic kinds and the brands are totally unimportant, do not fall for that crap. All you need is the right style for your hair. And please note... if drying your hair with a diffuser creates frizziness or an afro, you're probably either using the wrong kind of diffuser, using the right diffuser incorrectly, or have the wrong style cut for your type of curls.

The Best

Finger picks are meant to be used IN the hair -- you don't just hold the dryer a few inches away and expect something magickal to happen. You want to gently weave them into your hair until they touch your scalp and lift your locks as they dry. Obviously, you shouldn't be holding it in one place long enough to have it get too hot against your skin, or start to damage your hair. On a medium heat setting about 20 seconds in each section will probably be sufficient. It's a lot longer than it sounds.

Not all finger pick diffusers are made like this one, as you can see in the pic below. You want the picks spread out so you don't create unecessary frizz each time you slide them in and out of your hair. The closer together they are, the more difficult it is to dry without mussing your curls up to some degree. Also, if you have long hair, or just a lot in general, the wider the better, as it dries a larger surface area at a time. You want picks that stick out far from the base -- the longer they are, the more lift you'll be able to create.

Cost: About 10- 20 bucks.

Meh, It's Adequate

These are kind of a pain in the backside because you really can't get much lift out of these with all the prongs so close together. Also, the area it spans is smaller. You can't dry big sections at a time with this one, which is what you want to do to prevent things getting frizzy. The more you have to go over and over your curls, the more frizzy they will become.

Cost: About 20 bucks.

Totally Useless

These are completely useless unless you have curls that look like Shirley Temples no matter what you do to them. Using one of these is, essentially, the same as sticking your head under one of those bubble dryers. That's just air drying, as far as I'm concerned -- you will not get any lift whatsoever with this thing.

It will also take a long time to dry your hair if you have a lot of it, as this will only dry the surface. The finger picks actually inject air under your hair, giving you lift and helping you dry it more quickly.

Cost: About 20 bucks.

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