If you’ve spent even five minutes on TikTok in the last few weeks—and, based on our current isolation situation, there’s a good chance you have—you’ve probably seen the viral hair-dryer brush that supposedly gives people crazy-good blowouts really, really quickly. And because we on the Cosmo beauty team are skeptical by nature, but also very much like the idea of getting an easy at-home blowout—without needing both a blow dryer and a round brush—we went ahead and tested out the Revlon One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer (aka the internet's freaking baby) on three different hair types to see how well the whole hot-air brush thing actually works.
But first: What is a hair-dryer brush?
K, yes, good question—WTF we lookin’ at here? A blow-dryer brush is a round brush and a blow dryer smashed together, resulting in a corded brush that blows heat from the inside out to dry your hair. So rather than you needing to point a blow dryer down at a section of wrapped hair while maneuvering a round brush, you just brush and twirl your hair with the single hot-hair brush while it does its thing.
Though the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer is the most popular hot air brush on TikTok and Amazon, it’s certainly not the only one—or even the first (similar models have been around for decades). They all work similarly, but with different weights, bristles, and heat/speed settings. I’ve tested a few, and if you want some ~options~, these are my favorites:
Are hair-dryer brushes good?
Depends on who you ask, but for the majority of people who aren’t exactly skilled in the hair department, the resounding answer is “YES.” Obviously, though, the results and experience will differ depending on your hair type, which is why we tested the Revlon One-Step Dryer on fine/curly hair, thick/wavy hair, and straight hair. Behold the rankings:
The Revlon One-Step Dryer for CURLY hair: ⭐ 3/5 rating
A post shared by Chloe Metzger (@chloe_metzger) on Jan 29, 2020 at 1:36pm PST
So my hair is 2c/3a curly and fine, meaning it can be blown out relatively easily, but it’s also super prone to frizz and puffiness. Out of the three Cosmo editors who tested the blow-dry brush, I was the only one who wasn’t in love with it. And it’s not because it didn’t work—it technically did—it’s because the results just weren’t as good as the results I get from blowing out my hair the regular ol’ way with my blow dryer and round brush.
Here’s why: The brush head is kinda big and clunky, making it hard to get close to my scalp and really build up the volume along my flat roots (a requirement for my blowouts). And even though the dryer brush had no problem straightening my curly hair, it also didn’t leave me with a super-smooth, silky finish—mostly because it’s hard to avoid some level of frizz when hot air is blasting the underside of your hair up and out, versus blasting it down and under like with a traditional blow dryer. I mean, there’s a reason you usually do a blowout from the top down, not from the underneath, you know?
Granted, I’m pretty good at giving myself an at-home blowout, so I don’t exactly need this brush. But I wanted something easier! And quicker! And better! But for me, even though it was faster (it dried my hair in 15 minutes, versus the usual 20-25 minutes) and somewhat easier, my blowout only looked…fine. Exactly fine.
The Revlon One-Step Dryer for WAVY hair: ⭐ 4/5 stars
Cosmo’s op-ed editor Jess Goodman not only uses the blow-dry brush on the reg, but also demo’d it for the TikTok world to prove that it’s seriously not that hard.
“My hair usually dries frizzy, poofy, and wavy unless I add some heat to it,” she says. “Like growing up, I had to blow-dry and then also straighten my hair, which is a huge time suck and also terrible for your hair. So I like that this brush is only one tool and really fast—I just spray my hair with a heat protectant, usually Drybar’s Prep Rally, section and clip it, then dry section by section. It’s honestly idiot-proof and takes 20 minutes to fully dry my long hair.”
But she agrees it’s not perfect—at least, not for frizz-prone hair. “I don’t love that it leaves some flyaways around my crown, and that it’ll sometimes look frizzy around my part and hairline, but I don’t really mind it,” she says. “I’m not someone who knows how to ‘do hair,’ so those cons are really minor in comparison to the pros.”
The Revlon One-Step Dryer for STRAIGHT hair: ⭐ 4.5/5 stars
If you’ve got straight-ish or flat-ish hair, you know the goal with a blow-out isn’t to make it straight—it’s to give your hair some freakin’ volume and shape. And for that purpose, hair-dryer brushes are pretty excellent. “With the blow-dry brush, I can dry my hair to a point where it’s completely straight and I don’t even have to touch it with a straightener, so it's a huge time-saver," says Emma Baty, Cosmo's associate entertainment editor.
Please don't get distracted by this photo of Emma with Elizabeth freakin' Warren—focus instead on Emma's sleek, shiny bob—the result of the hair-dryer brush. The only thing preventing her from giving it a full 5/5 rating, though? How bulky it is. "It's so huge and heavy that it makes it almost impossible to travel with," she says. "Like I just can’t justify bringing something that big on a three-day weekend, for example, when i’m only washing my hair once that whole time."
So should you try it?
If you’re already pretty good at blowing out your own hair, I’d say nah—not going to change your life. But if you’re a beginner, you suck at heat tools, or you’re just tired of doing your hair the same way every single day, then I would 100 percent recommend trying a hair-dryer brush. Just remember that it’s still a heat tool, which means it’s just as safe for your hair as any other blow-dryer situation. So always use with a heat protectant spray and try not to overdo it. Now go forth, my soon-to-be-smooth-haired child.
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