Looking for the best hair dryer for curly hair? We got you. See the best affordable, professional, bonnet, diffuser, and luxe hair dryers for curly hair in our shopping guide, plus learn what to look for when buying one.
Starting Your Search for the Best Hair Dryer for Curly Hair
When you have curly hair, you’re used to special hair care needs and routines. Your curls may require a little more effort to tame, enhance, and define.
But they make up for it by crowning your head with feminine, cascading ringlets that make you the envy of every straight and wavy-haired woman in the room. That’s the general deal, isn’t it? You take good care of your curls and they repay you by making you look beautiful.
But if your curls aren’t holding up their end of the bargain, your current hair dryer may be to blame.
If you’re not using a hair dryer that is specifically designed and engineered for curly hair, you’re probably already paying for it with frizzy, dull, and misshapen curls. If you have straight or wavy hair, any hair dryer with adjustable heat settings can do the trick.
But that’s not the case for curly hair, which is more fragile and tends to be drier than other hair types. Women with curly hair need to look for a hair dryer designed with curls in mind.
With so many different dryers on the market, it’s hard to wade through all the marketing gimmicks and product claims to find the diamonds in the rough. To make it easier, we did the research and testing for you.
In this shopping guide, we’re sharing the 5 hair dryers for curly hair that passed our tests and boast special features for curls. We’ll talk about the features and specifications you should look for in a hair dryer for curly hair and answer some frequently asked questions.
And to tie it all together, we’ll end with a few special considerations to take before you hit “Add to Cart”. Ready to take a look? Buckle in, because these curl-perfecting dryers are really going to blow your mind!
Best Hair Dryer for Curly Hair: Our Top 5 Picks
We’ve tested and researched all the top hair dryers to find out which models are the best for curly hair. If you want to bring your curls new life, bounce, and body without frizz, you need a quality dryer that sets and enhances your curl pattern.
Any of the dryers on our list will do the trick. We searched for the best dryers in a few categories for this shopping guide:
- Professional hair dryers for curly hair
- Bonnet hair dryers for curly hair
- Diffuser hair dryers for curly hair
- Affordable hair dryers for curly hair
- Luxe hair dryers for curly hair
Keep reading to see our top choice for each category. You might find your life-changing dryer right here on this list!
1. Best Professional Hair Dryer for Curly Hair: Drybar Buttercup
- Tourmaline ionic technology
- Powerful 1875 Watt motor
- Dries hair 20% faster
- Smooth, shiny, frizz-free finish
- Costly at around $200
- No diffuser included, but can purchase separately
- Airflow may be too gentle for some users
Anywhere there’s a list of the best hair dryers for curly hair, you can be 100% sure that the Drybar Buttercup Hair Dryer is on the list. This iconic ionic canary-yellow dryer definitely stands out from the rest visually and in technical specifications.
It actually helps seal the cuticle layer of your hair while drying for the shiniest, smoothest curls. And it’s proven to dry your hair 20% faster than similar professional dryers! The aptly-named Buttercup dryer has a 1875-watt motor for a fast and non-damaging blow dry.
It uses a unique wave heater to distribute heat evenly across curly hair, eliminating hot spots. Tourmaline coils (not just tourmaline-coated) and negative ion technology help it heat up quickly to dry your curls to a smooth and unbelievably shiny finish without frying your hair.
Choose from 3 heat settings and 2 wind speed/power settings to customize your drying session. Switch out the nozzles (wide and narrow airflow concentrator nozzles are included) to focus on large or small sections while you dry.
Take note that the Buttercup is not cheap (around $200) and does not come with a diffuser, which is a dryer must-have for most curly-haired women.
Drybar does sell an amazing diffuser for the Buttercup on their website for around $30 and it gets great reviews. But if you’re looking for a luxury, professional-quality dryer that comes with a diffuser, check out the Dyson Supersonic on our list.
2. Best Bonnet Hair Dryer for Curly Hair: Gold N Hot Professional Ionic Soft Bonnet Dryer
- Hands-free drying for shiny, frizzless curls
- 4 heat settings
- Multiple uses - dry, set, and enhance conditioning treatments
- Easy to store with bonus storage features
- Affordable and convenient to use
- Hose is a little short, so you’ll need to stay put while using
- Reviewers say medium and high temperature settings are too hot
- Louder than other models on our list
If you’ve tried several traditional handheld hair dryers and are looking for something different, we really love the Gold N Hot Professional Ionic Soft Bonnet Hair Dryer.
This hands-free bonnet dryer literally does all the work for you. And if that’s not enough, it’s packed with useful and curl-enhancing features that will change your relationship with your mane.
For starters, this bonnet dryer uses ion technology to give you smooth, shiny, frizzless results every single time on any heat setting. Choose from cool, low, medium, and high heat to perfectly dry and shape your curls.
The hands-free bonnet means you won’t need to touch your curls while they dry. Since touching curls increases frizz, this type of dryer is excellent to combat frizz and get shinier, smoother curls.
It’s a little underpowered compared to other dryers on our list at just 800 watts. But if you’re avoiding extreme heat to protect your curls, this isn’t really a bad thing. The soft bonnet is comfy, according to reviewers, and adjusts to fit any head with jumbo drawstrings.
The cord retracts into the body and there’s a convenient retractable carrying handle for storage.
Overall, it’s great, but not the best hair dryer overall. However, it’s the best hands-free bonnet option we’ve found. If you’re looking for a hands-free dryer for curly hair, this is the one you should try.
3. Best Diffuser Hair Dryer for Curly Hair: Bed Head Curls in Check Diffuser
Another great dryer option for curly hair is the Bed Head Curls in Check Diffuser Hair Dryer. There’s a lot to say about this power-packed diffuser hair dryer! It certainly looks unique, but if you’re searching for a great hair dryer for curly hair, this one fits the bill.
The Curls in Check diffuser/dryer is gentle on curly hair, has a range of customizable features, and uses tourmaline ion technology to ensure a fast, frizz-free blow dry every time. The main feature to pay attention to here is the removable diffuser.
It’s perfect for delivering gentle warm or cool airflow to curls to preserve their pattern and dry them with the perfect shape. But while the diffuser is the main event, know that it can be popped off to quickly dry large sections.
And the overall size of the head is big enough to enable super-quick drying for even the thickest head of curly hair. Keep in mind that the handle is larger to support this extra-wide diffuser head, so it can be awkward to hold and maneuver it.
This dryer has 3 heat settings and 2 wind speed settings so you can adjust for the most frizz-free, damage-protected blow dry. It’s not as quiet as some of the other dryers on our list and some women may be put off by the bold purple and yellow/green color scheme.
But if you want powerful-yet-gentle drying technology that leaves your curls shiny, bouncy, and frizz-free, this is an excellent and affordable option.
4. Best Affordable Hair Dryer for Curly Hair: Revlon Infrared Heat Hair Dryer
If you’re always on the hunt for updated beauty tech that doesn’t cost a lot, you’ll love the Revlon Infrared Heat Hair Dryer. This dryer actually fuses 3 dryer ionic technologies into one tool with infrared, tourmaline, and triple-coated ceramic coils.
The infrared heat it generates is proven to dry hair faster and more gently than other forms of heat. That’s perfect for curly-haired women who want to prevent heat damage!
Choose your heat and power setting (there are 2 settings for each) to customize your blow dry for your curls’ needs. Pop the included diffuser on to reduce the airflow to make it gentle enough to dry and set curls sans frizz.
Finish your style with the cool shot button and direct additional airflow right where you need it with the included concentrator nozzle. Did we mention this dryer is under $25? It’s honestly a steal for such a powerful dryer for curly hair.
Two important “cons” to note about this dryer. First, when you open the box and take your first look, it’s going to look a little cheap. The body is plastic and it just doesn’t look like a high-end dryer, though it does perform really well.
Second, the control buttons are on the back of the dryer handle. This is the first dryer we’ve seen with this setup, and while it’s kind of odd, we didn’t hate it.
5. Best Luxe Hair Dryer for Curly Hair: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
- Temperature sensors help prevent damage
- Includes magnetic diffuser, nozzle attachments
- Comes with bonus cooling mat and hanging loop
- Quietest and most powerful dryer on our list
- Most expensive dryer on the list at $400+
- Air intake on handle makes handling more difficult
- Doesn’t get as hot as other dryers
Curly-haired ladies who live for luxe products and pride themselves on owning the best of the best, look no further than the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer.
This high-end hair dryer utilizes the latest in dryer digital motor technology to run whisper-quiet with supremely powerful airflow. Of all the dryers on our list, it’s both the quietest and the most powerful. Oh, and the most expensive.
But what else would you expect from Dyson? This brand is synonymous with luxe quality and cutting-edge tech. The Supersonic is the ideal hair dryer for curly hair because of its powerful airflow, magnetic diffuser attachment, and auto-adjusting heat that prevents damage to hair.
While strong airflow is generally the enemy of curls, Dyson makes it work by coupling the powerful V9 digital motor in this dryer with 3 adjustable wind speed settings.
Attach the incredibly cool magnetic diffuser with a single touch and use it to diffuse gentle heat and airflow (or cool air) over your curls. And if you’re worried about burning or frying your hair with excessive heat, fear not.
Dyson engineered this thing to the max with temperature sensors that constantly check the heat output and adjust it to protect your hair from heat damage.
That’s not only heart-warming (thanks, Dyson) but it’s a great feature to combine with the diffuser. Auto-adjusting heat means you can diffuse each section until it’s dry without torturing your curls with infernal heat!
Yes, it is crazy-expensive for a hair dryer ($400 and up for kits with bonus accessories), but it’s also on a whole different level than other dryers. If you can swing the price tag and you have curly hair, we think it’s worth the investment.
If you love high-end products but balk at spending $400 for a dryer, opt for the Drybar Buttercup. It’s similarly effective at half the price. Read our complete review of the Supersonic here: Dyson Hair Dryer Review | Pros, Cons, & How to Save Big.
Picking the Best Hair Dryer for Curly Hair
Still got a few burning questions about hair dryers for curly hair? Check out some of the most frequently asked questions on the subject and our answers below.
What hairdryer is best for curly hair?
Of all the options on our list, you really can’t beat the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer when it comes to curly hair. It’s one of the most expensive options, though, and there are excellent alternatives at a much lower price point.
Overall, the Drybar Buttercup hair dryer is our best all-around pick for curly hair. It’s professional quality so it’s not cheap.
But it’s half the cost of the Supersonic. The only real downfall is that it doesn’t come with a diffuser, so you should plan on purchasing one (around $30) if you decide to get this model.
If you’re looking to spend as little as possible but still want to treat your curls to a great blow dryer, try the Revlon Infrared Heat hair dryer. It’s under $25 and still gives you less frizz, shinier hair, and smoother curls.
What should I look for when buying a hairdryer for curly hair?
In general, people with curly hair should look for hair dryers with curl-specific features and attachments. Look for dryers that have at least 2 of the following features:
- Use negative ion technology, which eliminates frizz for shiny, smooth curls
- Come with a diffuser attachment to direct gentle airflow over curls
- Have adjustable temperature and power settings to prevent damage
- Allow for hands-free drying for smoother, less frizzy curls
Any of the dryers on our lists will fit these specs and come with these features and attachments. Choose the one closest to your price point and you could start seeing improved curls after your first use!
Are hairdryers bad for curly hair?
Dryers overall aren’t bad for curly hair, but cheap or poorly designed hair dryers are. Curly hair is more fragile and drier than other hair types, so you need to choose your dryer carefully to avoid damaging your curly hair or causing breakage.
If you have curly hair, you can’t just buy the first dryer you see or one that’s on sale. You need to pay special attention to the features and design of the dryer to ensure it won’t cause damage to your locks.
Look for dryers with negative ion technology, which gives curls a smoother, frizz-free finish and increases shine. Using a diffuser attachment with curly hair can also help you mitigate damage by directing a gentler airflow over your curls with less chance of heat damage.
Should I diffuse my curly hair with hot or cold air?
Both. You should use a combination of hot and cool air to diffuse your curls with your dryer. Start with low heat never high to begin drying your curls and getting rid of excess water. Don’t start with cool air, which isn’t hot enough to remove water from your hair.
Alternate with cool air to avoid overheating your strands while diffusing, and make sure you always finish with the cool setting. This will help seal the cuticle layer and give you shinier, less frizzy curls.
How do you dry curly hair without frizz?
Once you’ve gotten a shiny new hair dryer for your curly hair, you’ll want to make a few tweaks to your usual drying routine to help eliminate any trace of frizz. If you want to dry your curls without frizz, try these tips:
- Dab wet hair with a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel to soak up excess water before drying to cut down on drying time and heat exposure
- Apply leave-in conditioner, anti-frizz products, and curl-enhancing products while hair is still wet
- Avoid separating natural curl groups to enhance and define the natural pattern
- Use a dryer for curly hair with negative ion technology to reduce frizz
- Dry your hair on the lowest heat setting using the diffuser attachment
- Don’t touch your hair with your hands while you dry it to reduce frizz
- Air dry your hair when possible to give it a break
Things to Consider
We’ve looked at the 5 best hair dryers for curly hair, what makes them stand out, and covered some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic.
Before you click Add to Cart, there are a few more things to consider to ensure you make the right purchase for your curls’ needs:
- Improve your curly hair care across the board. If you’re willing to invest in a hair dryer to perfect, de-frizz, and gently dry your curls, you should be willing to make a few more changes for your curls’ sake. If you’ve been using the same products since high school, it’s time to take a look at how much curly hair care has changed. There are so many helpful products that you can start using in combination with your new dryer to get healthier, softer, shinier, and better-defined curls.
- Always, always, always use heat protectant. Seriously. It doesn’t matter if you’re only blow drying for a minute or if you’re using the lowest heat setting. You absolutely must use heat protectant every single time you use your hair dryer, especially if you have curly hair. A quick mist of a good heat protectant spray will protect your curls from heat damage and prevent damage at temps up to 450 degrees. Talk about saving grace!
- Avoid using your dryer too often. Even the best hair dryers for curly hair can still cause cumulative heat damage if you use them too often. If you have curly hair, you should be washing your hair 1-2 times per week up to 3 times per week if your hair gets oily or you’re exercising a lot. If you can limit your dryer usage to 1-2 times per week, your hair will be much healthier and better protected from damage.
- Keep budget in mind. Dryers for curly hair are available at every price point, from low to high-end. There’s really no reason to go outside of your budget to get a great hair dryer that works well on curly hair. While the more affordable models (like the Revlon Infrared dryer) don’t boast as many features as the Buttercup or Supersonic, if they made our list, they’ve passed muster and are great options for curly hair. Stick to your budget and the models on our list, and you’ll end up with a new dryer that will become your favorite hair tool.
So, What’s the Best Hair Dryer for Curly Hair?
Let’s recap. You’ve got a list of 5 great dryers for curly hair to research further and choose from. We’ve covered the pros and cons for each dryer and talked about some of the best features that come with each.
We answered some of the most frequently asked questions about dryers for curly hair and covered a few additional considerations to take before you buy one. With everything you’ve learned about hair dryers for curly hair, you can now make the most informed decision. Which hair dryer caught your eye?
Whether you’re looking for something basic and affordable or fancy and feature-filled, there’s an option for you in this guide. Want to see how we tested and analyzed some of the dryers on our list? Check out We Test the 8 Best Hair Dryers next.