“ Brand: Boots / Type: Hair Dryer „
Since I've artificially coloured my hair for several years, I feel that blasting it dry with a hairdryer probably isn't the greatest aid to its condition. For this reason I've restricted using a hairdryer to just drying my fringe as it's short. The rest of my hair is well past my shoulders so can become extremely dry. I don't want to negate the benefits of my conditioners, so I usually leave it to dry naturally.
Unfortunately, I've been feeling somewhat bored with my hairstyle recently and have been experimenting with different styles which require blowdrying. I'm quite hopeless when it comes to using a separate hairdryer and brush and I've always opted for a hairdryer with the round brush that slots on to the end. This way I can style my hair using only one hand.
But times have changed and so have hairdryers. Last year I found an interesting article on the latest hi-tech features that modern hair dryers come equipped with. One of the features that caught my attention was an ionic function.
~~~Why Use Ionic?~~~
When drying your hair using an ionic hairdryer, a steady stream of microscopic, negatively charged ions of water are released into the airflow and directed into the hair shaft. This helps lock moisture into the hair while minimising damage and promoting shine. It should also help prevent problems such as splitting and frizzing while eliminating static.
~~~Features of the Boots Shine On 2000W Ionic Hairdryer~~~
I decided it was time I learned how to dry my hair professionally, with a hairdryer in one hand and a brush in the other. After all, everyone else seems to manage OK. I took myself off to Boots where I knew they'd have a decent selection and one by one I examined the features on the latest hairdryers on sale.
The main requirements for my new hairdryer were that it should contain an ionic function, not too heavy or bulky and it must have a cool setting. Oh, and I didn't want or need a whole load of extra features that would only serve to push the price up.
The Boots Ionic hairdryer seemed to fit the bill. Its main features are:
* Concentrator nozzle
* Air diffuser
* On off switch and speed control (2 speeds)
* Heat selector switch (3 heat setting: cool, medium and hot)
* Cool shot button
* Air inlet grille
* Cord length: 2m ]
* Weight: 300g
* Ionic generator
* Internal thermal cutout (in case of overheating).
After lifting up and holding various hairdryers in the store and inspecting their credentials, I felt that the Boots Ionic offered an extremely competitive model, particularly when up against the big brand names such as Toni & Guy, Remmington and Nicky Clarke which were a lot pricier. The hairdryer is comfortable to hold as it's a real lightweight at only 300g and it's not at all bulky. It looks smart, is black in colour and shiny.
While other hairdryers offered a profusion of extras, the only extras provided with the Boots model was the diffuser and concentrator nozzle. A diffuser is mainly suitable for those with curly or permed hair. It works by holding sections of hair while diffusing the airflow, providing volume and defining curls. Since I have straight, non-permed hair, I don't need the diffuser.
The concentrator nozzle is useful for supplying a more direct flow of air onto certain sections of hair. For instance, if you've wound a section of hair around a curling brush, the concentrator nozzle directs the airflow more precisely.
I was looking forward at getting to know my new hairdryer as well as reacquainting myself with the 2-handed approach to hairdrying. My last hairdryer was purchased over 8 years ago and it's only about 1000W.
All the controls for the dryer are to be found on the inside of the handle. At the top is a blue cool shot button which my thumb can rest on while I'm drying. Underneath the cool shot button are the speed and heat setting switches. These are flat, slightly corrugated switches that you slide up or down according to the setting you require. For the cool setting you can either slide the heat setting button to the lowest setting. Alternatively, you can leave the setting on whichever heat you are drying your hair with and simply press the cool shot button at the same time. This has the effect of overriding the heat to provide cooler air.
~~~Speed and Noise~~~
I first used the dryer without any attachments. After towel drying my hair, I plugged the dryer into the wall and switched the dryer onto the first speed together with medium heat. I was amazed at the power which totally outblasted my previous dryer. It's quite noisy and drowned out the voices from my television. Experimenting a bit, I turned the speed setting up to the highest and noticed quite an increase in power and a higher pitched noise. As the first speed setting produces a high intensity blast of air, I don't feel the need to use the highest speed setting.
The highest heat setting is far too hot in my opinion. In fact, the medium heat setting is quite hot enough and burns my hand if I don't aim correctly. It's best to hold the dryer a good 10 inches away from the hair anyway while drying.
The cool shot is something I use a lot. The best way to ensure your style stays in place is to style with a hotter setting then use the cool shot to set the curl. The cool shot button on this hair dryer is extremely easy to use without any manipulation of my hand. By holding my thumb down on the cool shot button, the air takes about 3 seconds to cool down to a sufficiently cool temperature. It works very well.
~~~Ions - Are they worth it?~~~
Of course, it's impossible to see these magical ions jetting out of my hairdryer. I can only assume they are there and doing their job. I can, however, definitely say my hair has a different feel to it in that it feels quite soft in comparison to the drying results from my old dryer.
~~~Ease of Use~~~
Being such a light dryer, I don't find it a problem holding the dryer for any great length of time. It's easy to change direction when using the concentrator but I find I need to twist this around when swapping sides. The cord is long enough at 2m and although it isn't specifically a swivel design, I do twist and turn the dryer a lot while drying and it never becomes tangled.
One feature I'm not happy with is the switch for changing the settings and switching on and off. It's very flat and I find it difficult to slide it up or down while I'm drying my hair. It's designed so you can slide the switches up and down with your thumb. However, it doesn't slide easily and tends to stick and often I need to hold the dryer in one hand while moving the switch with the other. This kind of defeats the purpose of being able to control the dryer one handedly. It's a real shame and I feel it's a bit of a design fault. If the switch was either easier to slide up and down or the switch was larger, it may work better.
The concentrator is easy enough to slot onto the end of the dryer. You just need to push it onto the end of the dryer until it clicks into position. The same applies for the diffuser. When you no longer require them, you just pull them off the end.
One thing to watch out for is putting the dryer down while it's still on. When I'm styling my hair, I need to use two hands to section pieces of hair for winding around the styling brush. When I do this, I tend to put the hair dryer down on the table while it's still switched on as it's only for few seconds. Unfortunately, it doesn't stay still and twice it's fallen off onto the floor. Luckily, it hasn't broken! If the on/off switch was easier to operate, I probably wouldn't be tempted to do this.
Although I'm still not good at blow drying my hair using the 2 handed approach, I am going to persevere because I've been really pleased with the results.
Overall, I think this is a very good value for money hairdryer. It's powerful, lightweight and the heat and speed settings work well. It also has the added benefit of those ions. It's extremely competitive pricewise costing around £11.50 in Boots shops at the time of writing. It only loses a star because of the problem with the setting buttons.
Features: 3 heat settings, 2 speed settings, cool shot, concentrator and diffuser.