You may know how to use a basic concentrator and diffuser, but there are a few other fun things you can stick on the end of your blow-dryer. Whether you want curls, waves, sleek straightness or just hair that isn't wet anymore, knowing what's available to you always makes for smarter purchases and smarter styling.
The concept of using air from a dryer is shockingly identical to that of sticking your head out the window of a moving vehicle. Take the Arnold Schwarzenegger of bathroom hand dryers, the Xlerator, as an example: air flow literally pushes the water away. Heat is optional but will move things along much more quickly.
Since we can't have the air power of Princess Vespa from Spaceballs' industrial-strength dryer, we have to settle for earthly blow-dryer models. I love my T3, but not every universal attachment will fit, so I mostly use it with its complementary concentrator and diffuser. Today, however, we're using my older-but-still-kicking Paul Mitchell Express Ion Dry v.1. (It's seven years old!)
I scoured the world (JK, the East Village) for less-basic blow dryer attachments; they use the concept of air and heat to direct the flow differently based on your needs, and are all under 30 bucks!
This tool can be used on a variety of textures. If your hair is extremely curly, use low heat and intensity while gently detangling and stretching out the curl; this "rough dry" will make your life easier if you plan on going back in with a concentrator and brush or just using this until hair is dry enough to use hot tools. For finer textures, the pic nozzle can be used to put volume into the roots with high heat and intensity without creating frizz. Volume is directed with the flow of the cuticle.
This nozzle basically hacks your blow-dryer into a handheld brush dryer for only about $6.
This seems too easy and cheap ($5) to be true, but it makes a great travel diffuser if you want to use the hotel's dryer. Simply slip this over any dryer and you can use to diffuse curls.
My own personal hack is using sock diffusers to smooth hair for perfect ponytails and buns. All you have to do is blast the hair in the direction of the ponytail you want to create. This adds polish, which then makes whipping hair into a twist or pony a snap—no baby hairs or frizz.
Japanese beauty tool company YS Park is known for their amazing quality. I had the same red rattail comb from them for over 10 years before I dropped it in the Hudson River while on set with Jane. Fortunately, Ricky's began carrying the brand in stores (online coming soon!), and now everyone can have them.
YS Park's Ion Diffuser ($30) is the best I have ever used. I like this sock jam better than the typical plastic models. I find that you don't have to worry about hair falling into cracks or getting near the heating elements; there is a clearly defined barrier in the titanium mesh.
Simply smush this up into your curls with abandon, or flip over and do it upside down. Either way, my hair dried softer and faster because you can be a lot more careless when you use this tool.
This one is so fun! I wouldn't say it's practical 100% of the time, and it takes a little trial and error to figure out, but once you do, it's on!
You can direct the air on this tool to blow curls toward or away from the face. It's like a baby hair tornado! Personally, I always aim away—curls blown off the face open up your features and draw attention to the cheeks; curls blown towards the face tend to cinch up your face and make your nose the focus. (I don't need any more attention drawn to my honk-honk.)
I would use this more often if I had time to get better at handling it. Perhaps this fall I will give it some more practice and come back thinking it's the greatest ever. I could see this being HG material for someone who hates doing brush curls and wants a tool for about $20.
Have you tried any of these? What do you think?
Photos: Maria Penaloza