In a world where pin-straight and silky smooth tresses once dominated the fashion world, texture now rules the runways.
Don’t believe us? Just take a quick look at most celebrity stylists’ Instagram pages, and you’ll be flooded with images of tousled haired actresses and models, like Jenna Dewan Tatum and Lauren Conrad. While that is great news for our curly-haired sisters, you need a few tricks of the trade for managing your mane.
With a diffuser, the air actually gently circulates around your curls. This dries them evenly, leaving them in tact and perfect. If you skip this handy-dandy attachment, the shear force of air from the blow dryer will destroy your waves.
What Type Of Diffusers Are There?
Not all diffusers are created equal. You’ll find a few different types of diffusers. The most common is the finger diffuser.
It’s looks a bit like a medieval torture device, with prongs or “fingers” jutting out from the main body of the diffuser. These fingers help grab the hair to lift and provide volume and you dry. Most diffusers that come with your hair dryer are finger diffusers.
Diffusers without fingers (sometimes referred to as vent diffusers) are basically wide, cup-like discs. Vent diffusers are typically pretty durable and can handle higher heat settings.
Probably the cheapest option is a sock or mitt diffuser, so if you’re new to diffusers and don’t want to make a big investment, this is a good starting point. Mitt diffusers are stretchy, so fit virtually any hair dryer.
But because they are stretchy, mitt diffusers will wear out more quickly than a traditional, hard plastic diffuser. Another downside is you will need to use your hands to scrunch your hair rather than the prongs found on finger diffusers.
Depending on your type of curl pattern, touching your hair too much during the drying process can create frizz. Mitt diffusers also work well if you want to try a wet roller set.
Confused yet? Fear not, my wavy haired friends. We are here to break it all down for you. Here are some of our favorite diffusers. You’ll find a little something for everyone on this list, whether you’re a fashionista on a budget or a luxury loving babe. Here is a list of the 15 best diffusers for curly hair.
Ever wish you had an extra hand while blow drying! Now you do! We realize this green hand-shaped tool looks a little bit like an alien landed on your blow dryer, but stay with us here for a just a minute. This little guy boasts 360 degree airflow, providing even coverage while blow drying.
Most diffusers simply blow air in one direction, so this really sets the Devafuser apart from the rest of the pack. The fingers provide lift at the roots, and fans of the product say it doesn’t dry out their ends, which is always a winner in our book. Some reviewers note that this doesn’t stand up well to heat, so use it with your dryer on a lower setting.
As an added bonus, if you do a great job with your blow out, it can give you a high five!
This dryer scores high marks from curly-haired reviewers. The 1875 watt motor combined with two heat settings reduces drying time, which is a big bonus. One downside to diffusing can be it’s slower than tradition blow drying. The Karmin Salon Pro creates well-defined curls.
We love any tool that offers a cool shot button. That extra little arctic blast is key to locking in your style. A common problem with diffusers is that they slip off the dryer easily. However, reviewers say the diffuser attaches easily and locks into place effortlessly.
Keep in mind this dryer is a little heavier than the average dryer. However most users report dry times of 10 minutes or less, so if a fast blow out is your goal, the extra weight might be worth it. And hey, you can save time by getting in a arm workout while styling your hair!
The Bouncer Diffuser is a favorite and sells out quickly on Amazon. It was actually designed to go with two of Drybar’s own blow dryers. However, if you want to save a little cash and skip the pricey blow dryer, you can buy the Bouncer Diffuser separately. It’s marketed as a universal diffuser, which means it easily fits most standard dryers.
The Bouncer gets especially good reviews from curly girls who like a lot of bounce in their curls. It also scores points for giving great shape without needing a lot of product. The design reduces harsh airflow and evenly distributes the air, leaving your curls defined, soft and locked into shape!
This diffuser fits most standard hair dryers, and it’s collapsible design means you can easily throw it in a purse or carry on, for gorgeous hair on the go. It’s made of a soft silicone, and you’ll quickly notice it’s a little wider than the typical diffuser.
Designers say the tool’s wide makes it ideal for smoothly drying either straight (yep, more on diffusing for straight hair a bit later!) or curly hair. The Stargoods diffuser rates high for both body and shine.
Reviewers note that the hot-pink diffuser is durable, so you can use it on any heat setting, which is a plus for gals on the go. Don’t worry if pink isn’t your thing. This diffuser also comes in black or purple, but we think the pink adds a little extra pizazz.
A ceramic disk inside this diffuser adds extra shine with your dry! The universal design allows you to use this with any standard hair dryer. You’ll notice the Revlon RV480 is a little larger than the average diffuser. The large surface dries your hair quickly and evenly.
Remember, this diffuser isn’t properly attached until you hear a “click.” Some reviewers note that attaching this can be a little tricky. The Revlon RV480 is a favorite among wavy-haired babes who really want to add more definition to their hair.
If you like more of an air-dried look, but don’t have time to let that happen naturally, then this diffuser is a good fit for you. Keep in mind if you have thick hair, the Revlon RV480 can only be used on the lowest heat setting. So if you like to blast your hair on high heat, this may not be the best match for you. So plan accordingly!
Dyson…not just for cleaning up pet hair! If luxury hair tools are your thing, you’ll love the Dyson Supersonic Hairy Dryer. Dyson rose to fame with its vacuum cleaners, but hair enthusiasts rave about this blow dryer.
Like all of the attachments, the diffuser attaches quickly and easily to the dryer via magnetic connection. The controlled, high-velocity airflow means most users can blow dry in about five to eight minutes, shaving time off your daily glam session.
Reviewers note than even though the Dyson provides intense airflow on all setting, the diffuser effectively distributes the air, eliminating the potential for frizz. The Dyson has four heat settings and three options for speed.
The Dyson locks in the style so much, that many reviewers say their blow out lasts a few days. If you’re not convinced yet, let us give you one more reason. The Dyson’s motor is quiet, so you could actually have a conversation or listen to the radio while diffusing.
Want to feel extra diva-licious while working your curls? Then the Conair Curl Fusion is for you! The Curl Fusion is a hair dryer/diffuser combo designed especially for giving you red-carpet worthy curls.
If you crave shine, this is a great option for you. Ionic technology locks in shine. The ceramic design protects your locks against heat damage, which is especially important for naturally curly hair.
The Curl Fusion only has two heat and speed settings, so reviewers note that dry time with this tool can require patience depending on just how thick your hair is. The cool shot button is great for drying the root area and for locking in your style!
Keep in mind the Hot Sock works best on blow dryers with straight nozzles. Some reviewers note it can slip on angles nozzles. Reviewers rave about how easily it attaches and just how simple it is to use. Because of it’s small, compact size, the Hot Sock Diffuser is a breeze for travel.
One reviewer noted a slight smell when used on high heat. This also works well if you want to dry blow drying a roller set. This works best for curls that can tolerate some touching.
Because the Hot Sock does not have fingers or prongs, you’ll need to use your hands to gather and scrunch your hair as you blow dry. The Hot Sock also works best with a little product to help maintain the shape.
This diffuser is a great option for thick, slow-to-dry hair. The special design allows for use on high heat settings, without damaging the tool or your hair thanks to heat resistant plastic. The Jocestyle does fit most standard blow dryers and features a wide design with smaller fingers.
The deep cup of the Jocestyle diffuser allows you to concentrate of large sections of hair at a time. Again, that’s a great feature for thick haired users. Some reviewers note that because this diffuser is large and made from such thick plastic that it is a bit heavy.
However those are the only complaints we could find about this professional grade tool.
This model boasts patent-pending Peal Ceramic technology, allowing for a salon-smooth blow out in the privacy of your very own bathroom. What exactly is “pearl ceramic” technology you ask? According the Remington, this dryer transfers “micro-conditioners” into your hair, sealing the cuticle.
The end result? Pearl-like sheen on your locks. Negative ion technology creates shine while leaving your curls soft and touchable. The motor on this baby rocks 1875 watts of power, which means dry hair 40% faster than with the average blow dryer.
Reviewers love that even though the motor is powerful, it’s quieter than the average blow dryer. The included diffuser can stand up to the highest heat setting and features prongs, increasing volume in the final result. Remington offers a three year warranty with this model.
This dryer packs 1900 watts of power, one of the strongest on our list. It’s marketed as a “high performance” hair dryer, and does well with all hair types, ranging from fine and limp to thick and heavy.
The powerful air flow can reduce drying time up to 50%. The included diffuser does a great job evenly distributing that strong air flow, drying your curls quickly and evenly.
Reviewers love how light this model is. It comes with a finger diffuser. Some reviewers note the attachments can be a bit tricky to lock on. However, once the diffuser is in place, it guarantees silky, defined curls. The cool shot button is located where the other temperature settings are, making it a snap to lock in your style!
Babybliss has long been a cult favorite among hair devotees, and this diffuser is no exception. The Babybliss features infrared technology. That means this is a good option for gals who like to blow dry quickly.
Infrared heat reduces the potential of damage while you’re styling. This is a finger diffuser and adds a lot of volume to your hair! The deep-bowl design of this diffuser allows for a lot of air flow, drying your curls evenly from different angles.
Also, here’s a friendly warning for you: Do not use this diffuser on the your dryer’s highest heat setting. Not only can extreme heat potentially damage the plastic, but reviewers warn that the diffuser can get very hot to the touch when used with high heat.
This baby is new to the market and already selling out quickly. Instead of a diffuser attachment, the diffuser is built right into the dryer. Reviewers note that the Curlipops is much less cumbersome than a tradition hair dryer with a diffuser attachment.
It’s small and manageable. The lightweight design means you won’t have to worry about arm fatigue while perfecting your hairstyle. It does come with an additional diffuser attachment, but a lot of reviewers say Curlipops works well without it.
Short hair reviewers seem to especially love the Curlipops because it can cover a lot of territory and dry pixie locks quickly. Tourmaline technology promises a smooth result and extra shine. The Curlipops model offers three two speeds and a cold-shot button to finish off your style.
This is a dryer/diffuser combo. The Xtava’s claim to fame is infrared technology. This allows the heat to penetrate the cuticle and dry your hair from the inside out. That means you don’t have to worry about the heat over drying your hair, leaving you to with damage and frizz.
The motor on this model is 1200 watts. And while that isn’t exactly super powerful, the Xtava performs as well as a 2000 watt motor. Again, you can thank the infrared technology for that! Reviewers note that this dryer/diffuser combo reduces blow dry time.
Most users report being able to blow dry smoothly in around 10 minutes or less. While this model does come with three heat settings, reviewers love that they can effectively diffuse their hair on the medium heat setting. Infrared technology makes this a great option for thick-haired ladies.
The Xtava offers a cool-shot button, which we love for guaranteeing style that lasts all day! Oh, and there’s this…users rave about the dryer’s quiet motor!
This model is designed to fit most hair dryers. The ionic design allows it to actually moisturize your hair while it works its diffusing magic. This diffuser is a good tool for those with slow-to-dry hair or with very long hair. That’s because it features 12 air outlets, gently surrounding your curls in air. Reviewers love that this tool leaves their hair shiny and soft thanks to those ions we love!
This diffuser is marketed as “universal.” However, some reviewers warn to measure your blow dryer first to make sure it fits.
And keep in mind that they part of the diffuser that actually attached to your dryer is made of a rubber. That means you won’t hear the telltale “click” when it attaches.
Final Thoughts And Tips
So you’ve perused our list of favorites…now what? First, your ideal diffuser depends largely on your hair type. Thick-haired babes should look for a diffuser that can tolerate high heat, and dry your curls quickly.
If you have fine hair, a kinder, gentler diffuser designed for low heat is your best bet. Infrared technology is also a must for babes concerned about damage. Infrared heat warms the hair cuticle from the inside out, sealing the hair and locking in shine damage free!
Do you want to invest in a hair dryer/diffuser combo? Those tend to be a bit pricier, but you’re guaranteed a perfect fit of the attachments.
If shine is a priority, be sure to purchase a model with ionic technology. Negative ions leave your hair soft and touchable with great shine. That’s what we call a great hair day! We also love the cool shot feature not just for shine, but for really locking in that style.
If you are one of the lucky ones who can get a few days out of a blow out, the cool shot is a must for you, too! It helps your curls stay bouncy and full of life, even after sleeping on your curls!
If this is your first go with a diffuser, consider buying the attachment only. It’s less of an investment, and with many diffuser-only options at budget-friendly price points, you can experiment and make sure you get the best fit for your particular curls.
However, this is key, make sure you measure the diameter of your blow-drying nozzle so you get a good fit. While many diffusers are marketed as “universal,” a quick scan of online reviews shows that not all “universal” models are created equally.
If you travel a lot, consider a collapsible diffuser. These are great options for girls-on-the-go. Their compact size makes it a snap to toss into a purse or carry on bag. Just be sure to look for a universal, collapsible design that will fit onto a hotel blow dryer.
You’ve selected your perfect diffuser, now it’s go time! Are you so excited? I know we are! Here’s how to make the most of your new tool. Start by towel drying your tresses a bit. You never want to diffuse super wet hair! For best results, skip the standard-issue bath towel for this step.
Instead, try using a cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel. That will cut down on frizz from the start. But do not rub or twist your hair while you’re towel drying. That is a common mistake that is a one-way ticket to Frizzville. Instead, gently squeeze small section of your hair.
You’ll feel the water releasing. Again, twisting and rubbing is a big no no. Wet hair is vulnerable and being too rough can actually damage or even break your hair!
Now that you’re not dripping wet, time to apply your favorite curl-friendly hair product. We like a few pumps of a curl cream rather than a mousse or gel which can add crunch.
Crunchy curls are not the end game! Gently rake the product through your hair from root to ends. If your hair is thick, a wide-toothed comb can help even distribute the product. If time allows,l et your hair air dry a bit. Even just applying your make up before diffusing your hair can give it a little time to dry naturally.
Here’s the real beauty of using a diffuser. Because it evenly distributes the air around your curls, rather than blowing them in a single direction at a high velocity (and making an unshapely mess…think of how you look flying down the interstate in a convertible #notcute), it leaves your curls defined, soft and smooth.That’s what we call a win-win situation! And who doesn’t love that?
OK,you’re towel dried and product is applied. Now is the perfect time to section the top layers of your hair with clips. Sectioning your hair allows you to really concentrate on drying each area of your hair. Diffusing can take a bit longer than traditional blow drying.
So tacking your mop one section at time can make the task much more manageable. Clipping your hair also gives it a little volume boost at the crown.
Most diffusers work best on a medium setting, so we advise you start there. Tilt your head to one side, and place the diffuser on the ends of your hair, gathering a small section into the diffuser’s cup.
Try to resist using your hands…instead let the fingers of the diffuser act as your hand. Touching the hair a lot can add frizz and disrupt the shape of your curls, defeating the purpose of a diffuser.
If you’re really into volume, you can flip your head upside down to do this. Go section by section, moving the diffuser slowly from the ends to the roots until the hair is mostly dry. This motion mimics scrunching with your hands. If you like more curl, you can linger a bit toward your scalp, locking in more shape.
For our volume lovers, use the “fingers” of the diffuser to gently massage your scalp in small circles. This provides a little extra oomph at the roots. Again, resist the urge to use your hands! Work in section by section around your scalp until hair is about 90% dry. If you still want more volume, try flipping your head over and diffusing from root to scalp again after this step.
Think diffusers are just for those blessed with natural curls? Even our straight-haired lasses can get in on the action. Yep, you can use a diffuser to create Victoria’s Secret Angel-esque beachy waves. First blow dry the top of your hair. You can use a regular hair dryer vent for this part. The key is angle the airflow down the hair shaft to keep it smooth.
After the top sections are mostly dry, it’s time for the diffuser action! Use a medium heat and flip your head upside down. Going section by section again, gather the ends of your hair in the diffuser (and remember…no hands here!), and push it toward your scalp. Repeat this until each section is dry. This motion will create those rockin’ waves, guaranteeing you’ll be the envy of every babe at the beach this summer.
Now you know what to do with exactly the right diffuser for your hair, so go forth and be fabulous! And are we missing your favorite from the list? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know!