How often should you replace your hairdryer?

The hairstyling tool has come a long way in the last decade, but when was the last time you thought about giving yours an MOT?

Is your hairdryer in need of a service?
woman blow-drying her hair Is your hairdryer in need of a service? (Alamy Stock Photo)

The humble hairdryer has a place in every home. But have you noticed how much they’ve evolved?

It wasn’t long ago when we all had a pretty standard piece of kit to dry our tresses with on hair-wash day. The average price of a decent hairdryer was around £30 and replacing them only seemed to happen if they blew up or started getting really hot.

We are probably more safety-savvy these days, but many of us still keep our hairdryers for a very long time. And now that they’ve skyrocketed in price, it’s a hardly a surprise. Pop into your local Boots or Superdrug, and you’ll see an array of hairdryers ranging from £30 to £300 – with even more options available below and above those price points. It’s a wonder we know where to start.

How have hairdryers evolved?

“The technology has changed, so the sizes have become more portable, they’re cordless and a lot lighter to hold,” says

Kliff Stephanou

, creative director, holistic hairdresser and educator for the House of Keune By Bloom London. “They’re also designed not to overheat, and the heat is evenly distributed.”

Michael Douglas, hairstylist and founder of mdlondon, believes it’s only in the last few years that significant changes have come about, noting hairdryers always used alternating current (AC), which is the type of electricity that feeds into it. “It’s quite a simple device, really,” he says. “But trying to make them small is quite difficult, because it generates so much heat. If you make them small, the inside can start to melt, so traditional hairdryers have always been very big and bulky.”

Thanks to advances in technology, however, direct current (DC) – a different type of electricity, which is essentially more powerful – could be used within hairdryers, Douglas continues: “So that’s what really changed – the brushless DC motor. It can suck in more air more efficiently, and therefore blow more air out efficiently. And that meant the hairdryer could get a lot smaller.”

Douglas also says the nozzles and attachments have become a lot more important: “Back in the 80s and 90s, nobody used a nozzle on a hairdryer,” he states. “Now, people get in touch with me asking how to get rid of frizzy hair, or they’ve got flyaways or flat hair. They want body or shine and they’re all asking for a shampoo – but they just need a good blow-dry. Every single one of those problems is solved with a hairdryer, a brush and a nozzle.”

What should we be looking for in a hairdryer?

(Alamy Stock Photo)

According to Remington’s marketing manager, Rebecca Veal, the tech we should all be looking out for in a new hairdryer includes ionic conditioning (“this disperses millions of negative ions onto the hair, to neutralise static that can be caused by heat styling,” she says); a cool or cold shot to set a style in place; customisable heat and speed settings, so you can find the right setting for your hair type; heat sensors to prevent the air temperature reaching extremes and therefore protecting your hair, and styling attachments for creating the look you want.

But Stephanou says it really depends on your hair type, your usage, and what you want to get out of it as a styling tool. “If you’re drying your hair every day, or you have fine hair, you want to minimise that heat, so I would invest in a really good hairdryer – probably a Dyson or maybe a Shark,” he says. “If someone has very coarse or hard-to-manage hair, I would say a Parlux or a ghd – those dryers are quite good, too.”

How much should you spend?

Veal says: “The price range is typically driven by the motor type and inclusion of additional features. The more features and technology the dryer has, the higher the price. With basic dryers, the airflow will not be particularly powerful, making drying time longer, and it will just dry your hair. These dryers usually have two dry settings (low and high speed) and include just a concentrator attachment.

“Under £150 dryers usually feature DC, HTDC or AC motors and are suitable for everyday use. Over £150 dryers typically use a new generation of motor called BLDC – these motors are extremely powerful, use less heat and are also lighter weight.”

Stephanou stresses you don’t need to spend too much on a hairdryer, but again, it depends how often you’re blow-drying your hair. “If you’re drying your hair a lot, you probably want spend a little more money, but there are other brands, like BaByliss, that can give you great results.”

And don’t forget, you don’t always have to blow-dry your hair, he adds, referencing the social media videos where people have wrapped their wet hair in a dressing gown belt, gone to bed and woken up with big bouncy curls, so heat styling isn’t always the answer.

How often should you replace your hairdryer?

In good news, all our experts agree you shouldn’t need to replace a hairdryer very often, but you do need to look after it.

“It’s really just cleaning the filter at the back of the dryer,” says Douglas, adding that some designs now have ‘self-clean’ functions. And how often you clean it depends on how often you use it – and how clean your house is!

“Let’s say you blow-dry your hair four times a week, it then depends how hot you use your dryer, how thick your hair is, how long it takes to dry – there are quite a lot of variables there,” he adds. “And then, one of the most interesting things is, how dusty is your house? How new is your carpet? And whether you have pets. How much dust is getting sucked into the back of it?

“If you’re maintaining it pretty well, though, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get five to eight years out of it.”

5 of the best hairdryers

1. Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer, from £279.99

2. Remington ONE Dry & Style Hair Dryer with Diffuser, £66.65, Argos

3. MD London BLOW Hair Dryer Casal Blue, £195

4. BaByliss 2300 Styler Dryer, £67.50 (previously £90)

(Russel Chant)

5. Shark SpeedStyle 3-in-1 Hair Dryer, £199.99