September 10th 2021
We’re calling it, hot brushes are the future of styling for sleek, bouncy hair
April 15th 2021 / 0 comment
Salon-worthy blow-dries without the price-tag and lengthy appointments? A hot brush or hot air styler is all you need
Salon appointments are harder to come by than Glastonbury tickets right now, but if you're after a bouncy blow-dry ahead of your Pimms in a pub garden / Prosecco in the park, help is still at hand even if you can't get booked in with your stylist. Enter hot brushes. They might sound more like something you played with in your teens for flicky ends, but the new wave of hybrid brush and dryers or brush and straighteners are about to become your BFF.
We've seen an influx of new hot brushes hit the market as interest in home styling increases, including Amika's Hair Blow Dryer Brush, £70 which launches this week in the UK, the GHD Rise Hot Brush, £169 and Dyson’s latest Air Wrap attachments, and they’ve been all over TikTok too, with Gen Z displaying how effortlessly easy it is to create chic hair with a seemingly old-fashioned tool.
What type of hot brush is best for my hair?
There are three main types of hot brush.
1. The hot air brush for wet hair
A hot air styler combines your hairdryer and a round brush and can be used on wet hair and blows heat from inside, smoothing as it dries, meaning you only need to use one hand to achieve a salon-style blow-dry. You can use it to lift up the roots from underneath if it has a flatter shape or to give heated-roller type curls if it's a barrel brush. It's basically your brush and hairdryer in one, especially if you struggle with blow-drying using a drier and brush separately. They can be on the heavier side, but give an ultra bouncy blow-dry and good root lift and also save time.
2. The smoothing hot brush for dry hair
The second option is a hot brush straightener or smoother, which looks like a paddle brush but the bristles are attached to a ceramic plate. It works similarly to a hair straightener without the clamping. For use on dry hair, it doesn’t give the poker straight finish that straighteners do, but it's a great smoother and does take a lot less time than meticulously ironing hair out.
3. The barrel brush to volumise dry hair
The third option is where the GHD Rise fits it. A smaller, round brush which you use on your roots when they're dry to add oomph to second-day hair – fine-haired friends, this one is for you.
Do hot brushes damage the hair?
We’re all grown-ups here and know that any heat styling damages the hair, but hot brushes are less damaging and faster than traditional straightening irons because you spend less time and pressure applying heat to the hair.
These are the best hot brushes and hot air stylers we recommend.
The best hot brush for caring for your hair: Amika Hair Blow Dryer Brush, £70
Launching on April 15, this brush fuses the power of a round brush with a dryer for a smooth blow-dry without a salon appointment. It weighs less than 400 grams and the extra-large oval barrel lifts the roots for extra volume. The barrel itself is coated in tourmaline to help preserve the hair's natural moisture and seal the cuticle for silky hair. You can use this one on dry or wet hair, but given it's a 1000-watt dryer, we like it best for wet hair. It has three heat and speed settings, depending on how quickly you want your blow-dry done.
The best hot brush for waves and volume: GHD Rise Hot Brush, £169
The main purpose of this hot brush is to add volume to your hair – it promises to give your hair twice as much volume as normal. It should be used on dry hair; the nylon bristles separate hair fibres and make sure each one gets the attention it needs to create volume. You simply comb through your hair from the roots to style. Hold it in place for extra volume on areas you want to give real oomph to, such as the roots for a bouncy blow-dry look, or twist and hold for salon-worthy beach waves.
The best hot brush for fringes: The Dyson Air Wrap Styler, from £399
Dyson recognised the demand for hot brushes to suit everyone this summer, adding hot brush attachments for fringes and shorter, fine hair to its much-loved Air Wrap, which can be used on wet or dry hair. Rather than blowing air out like a traditional dryer, it sucks air in and can curl and straighten (read the full low down on this minimal-damage airbrush). Up until now, the Air Wrap Styler brushes and barrels have been on the larger side at 30mm and 40mm. But now, two smaller 20mm brush and barrel attachments have been launched to fill the gap, meaning you can easily style your fringe as well as create tighter curls - which we all know can be a struggle.
See below for GTG's commercial partnerships manager Catherine making the most of her Air Wrap Styler.
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The best hot brush for fast straightening: Amika Polished Perfection, £86
This paddle-like brush has two different types of bristles; plastic detanglers on the outside and mermaid scale shaped ceramic bristles to do the hard work straightening. Our tester, who has long, loose curls achieved straight lengths in less than ten minutes with one stroke per section enough to smooth out kinks. It doesn’t deliver poker-straight hair like straightening irons right away but with a little more time we can see our straighteners ending up gathering dust unused, in favour of using this speedy tool.
The best hot brush for a big bouncy blow-dry: Hot Tools Professional Volumiser, £94.69
For use on wet hair, this looks a little intimidating when you first unbox it and it’s certainly an arm work out but it truly works to deliver a bouncy blow-dry without the need to go over hair with straighteners to smooth it. It’s a hairdryer and brush in one, drying and straightening in one stroke. You can create bounce too by twirling your hair like you see the pros do, plus the non-heated tip at the end of the brush makes it easy to manoeuvre.
The best hot air brush for blow drying thick hair: Babyliss Big Hair Care Hot Air Styler, £70
Another hairdryer and brush hybrid, this has large enough bristles to tackle thick hair, taming unruly hair with the ultimate ease. What makes it even easier? The brush head rotates at the flick of a button so you have even less to do. The perfect tool for the time-pressed.
The best smoothing hot brush for travelling: Dafni Allure Cordless Straightening Brush, £120
GTG’s editorial director Victoria is a long-term fan of the Dafni brush for its easy straightening and smoothing powers and this year saw the arrival of the cordless version, making it ideal for sorting out hair that's been rain-ravaged on the way to work or manes that don’t get on well with hotel hairdryers. It has a variety of different length bristles to increase hair control and feels like a Tangle Teezer when you’re holding it, albeit a little heavier. Reviews say it makes hair straight and frizz-free in around five minutes even on curly hair. Read our review of the original Dafni brush for more info on this one's big sister.
The best hot brush for second-day smoothing: GHD Glide, £139
GHD launched this brush in 2019, designed to refresh hair the day after you’ve painstakingly styled it, detangling lengths and smoothing them afresh. It has long detangling outer bristles that are cool to touch so you can get them right into the root and short inner bristles for creating the requisite amount of tension for shaping. As with other paddle hot brushes it doesn't create poker-straight hair, more swishy smoother locks.
The best hot brush for volumising long hair: Babyliss Sheer Volume Rotating Hot Brush, £60
Designed to be used on dry hair (it doesn't blow air) this works by applying gentle tension to lengths as it rotates (you press the rotate button to make this happen). The large heated barrel and silicone bristles softly grip the hair to create greater volume and movement as it glides from root to tip. We think it’s great for long hair due to the large size of the barrel; our tester found it to be a good root-lifting alternative to straighteners, creating great bounce, body and movement from roots to ends.
The best hot brush for speed: Revlon Pro Collection One Step Dryer and Volumiser, £39.99
To be used on towel-dried hair this fits into the category of brush and dryer hybrid. It has a combination of harder and tufted natural bristles that allows the brush to move smoothly through our tester’s naturally wavy hair. The head doesn’t rotate but some might find this preferable as it leaves it up to you to decide how bouncy you want your barnet. When we tried it it took exactly 23 minutes to dry and style, much quicker than the usual 45 minutes of drying followed by straightening.