I hope you won't pelt me with carrots (apples are fine. They're yummier and not as sharp), for I am about to recommend a $245 hair dryer and yes, I know it's quite ridiculous.
Though... I purchase $95 palettes on a regular basis. You should really be used to this by now.
In my defense, I got the Sultra The Sophisticate Power Dryer at 20 percent off during Sephora's Friends and Family sale. It was the only reason that pushed me to venture into hitherto unknown territory. If you've been following the blog for some time, you should know that I'm absolutely useless at styling my hair, and not for lack of trying. I own a curling iron, a straightening iron, Goody spin pins, hair clips, chopsticks, all manner of hair products (volumizing, straightening, curling, blow drying, mousse, spray, you name it I probably have it) and they lay waste in a corner of my room because I am incompetent when it comes to hair, even though it's secretly my favorite feature.
In the past, I've always used drugstore hair dryers. I mean, a hair dryer is a hair dryer, right? It blows cold/warm/hot air. How much difference can a $20 one and a $200 be?
(And the answer to that question in any form is always: a lot.)
I tried three methods of drying hair: no dryer, drugstore dryer, and the Sultra dryer. With no dryer, my hair looks like the photos below.
It's a little hard to get pictures for this post, because it's hard to pick up black texture with the lighting and limited space I have. Without a dryer, my hair becomes a huge mass of flyaways and frizz. It looks messy and unkempt, though one pro is that it doesn't feel fried.
With a drugstore dryer, I can get similar-looking results with The Sophisticate. I didn't take two different sets of photos because they would look exactly the same on camera, but how my hair felt was completely different. With the Sultra, my hair takes on a lightness and a glossier sheen compared to the drugstore dryer. It doesn't eliminate all frizz (note the little flyaways in the last pictures), but I think that's as close as natural hair can get. The most important distinction between the two is my hair did not feel burnt and coarse post-drying. With the Sultra, my day-two hair looks better as well.
I don't know what they put in the dryer that makes the difference, I mean words like "Ionic and Ceramic Infrared" doesn't really make sense to me as a consumer, and a lot of drugstore hair dryers make similar claims (or at least, uses similar words). But this is one of those things that I winced at the thought of trying ($245!!) but now cannot live without. If I can take solace in anything, it's that this dryer seems sturdy enough to last me forever. And one dryer is really all I need.
The Sophisticate features three temperature settings for fine, normal, and thick hair. Two air speeds, a cool air blast, and a direction nozzle, which I've been using with a round Moroccanoil Ionic Ceramic Thermal Brush to blow-dry my hair. The results? I've known all my life that my hair is straight, but I didn't know it could be that straight.
The dryer is by no means perfect. A couple of things takes getting used to. First, the button design is not the best out there (see first picture). The air speed setting is located where I'll logically place my thumb, so when I first started using the dryer, I kept accidentally switching it off. The Sophisticate is also particularly loud. I don't ever want to confirm this, but the person who lives in the adjacent room is probably very unhappy about my late night blow-drying sessions. Here's to hoping that the walls are thicker than I thought, or he's a heavy sleeper.
Sultra The Sophisticate Power Dryer retails for $245 and is available at sephora.com. Bonus points for dual voltage!