Between the Covid salon restrictions and the ~impending~ winter season, there’s honestly never been a better time to invest in your at-home hair routine. And if you plan on doing any deep conditioning or heat styling in the coming months, I say it’s time you finally get that bonnet hair dryer you’ve been eyeing all year. But if you aren’t totally sure which bonnet hair dryer is best for your texture and concerns, you’re in luck. Ahead, Jasmine “Jazzee” Santiago, a New York City-based hairstylist and texture expert, weighs in on everything you need to know about bonnet hair dryers, plus the best ones to shop right now.
How do you use a bonnet hair dryer?
There are actually two types of bonnet hair dryers: soft and hard. According to Santiago, soft bonnet hair dryers are especially great for deep-conditioning treatments (they sit nice and flush to your scalp, so they help open your hair cuticles and lock in hydration), whereas hard-top dryers are best for heat styling (they give you enough room to dry your hair without creating frizz or flyaways). Here’s what to keep in mind before you try either:
Soft bonnet dryers:
Soft bonnet dryers are best for enhancing your deep-conditioning routine. Santiago suggests loading up on your favorite treatments and oils while your hair is soaking wet, throwing on a plastic cap, and sitting under your soft bonnet dryer for 20 to 30 minutes. You’ll want to follow by rinsing your hair clean, shampooing, and, ofc, layering on your go-to leave-ins.
BTW: Santiago says this is especially important for anyone with 4C hair who plans on heat-styling their hair this winter. “The easiest way to prevent heat damage is to make sure your hair is really softened and moisturized before applying any direct heat,” she says. “Prepping your hair by deep conditioning with a soft bonnet dryer is a great option for anyone wanting the versatility of a blow-dried or flat-ironed style without the fear of heat damage.”
Hard-top bonnet dryers:
If you plan on using a hard-top dryer for heat styling, Santiago says the process is pretty self-explanatory. Unlike blow dryers or diffuser attachments, hard bonnet dryers make it easy to dry your hair evenly without any frizz. “Your hair isn’t blowing around as much with a bonnet hair dryer, so it’s easier to get a really good set that lasts two or three days,” she says. Plus, since bonnet dryers don’t come into direct contact with your hair, there’s a lot less room for heat damage, since there’s a bit of space between you and the hot air. All you do is hang out under your hard-top dryer until your hair is totally dry and your style is set (think: 15-30 minutes depending on the length and thickness of your hair). Easy enough, right?
What is the best bonnet hair dryer?
Welp, that depends entirely on what you’re trying to do with your bonnet hair dryer: heat styling or conditioning. Still not sure? Keep scrolling for the seven best soft and hard bonnet dryers on the market RN, plus tips and tricks for using ’em properly.
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Best Soft Bonnet Hair Dryer Attachment
Eleganty Soft Bonnet Hood Hairdryer Attachment
The thousands (yes, thousands) of glowing reviews don’t lie—this soft bonnet hair dryer attachment is a legit godsend for deep-conditioning treatments. All you do is attach your hair dryer to the hose (it comes with a velcro strap for easy access), set your dryer to low or medium, and let the cap fill up with warm air and steam for 15 to 20 minutes. And thanks to the teeny ventilation holes in the cap, you’ll get super-even heat distribution throughout your treatment.
Best Hard Bonnet Hair Dryer
Conair 1875 Watt Pro Style Bonnet Ionic Hair Dryer
This hard-top bonnet hair dryer is loved for its two heat and speed settings, adjustable height, and compact storage (even though it’s on the larger size, it still packs up nicely when it’s not in use). If you’re looking to heat style your hair with minimal damage, you can’t go wrong with this bb.
Best Ionic Soft Bonnet Hair Dryer
Gold ‘N Hot Professional Ionic Soft Bonnet Dryer
Don’t feel like plugging your hair dryer into your bonnet? This soft bonnet dryer comes with an ion generator that’s got four heat settings: cool, low, medium, and high. Even better, the bonnet has an adjustable drawstring that makes it v easy (and comfortable!) to fit over your head. TL;DR: You get lots of control with this guy.
Best Hard Bonnet Hair Dryer for Gentle Heat
Kiss 1875 Watt Ceramic Tourmaline Salon Bonnet Hair Dryer
Reviewers note how gentle this hard bonnet hair dryer is, which is chalked up to the four heat settings and soft airflow (aka it’s perfect for those with finer hair textures who are particularly worried about heat damage). It also uses a ceramic tourmaline technology that helps cut back on frizz and enhance shine.
Best Affordable Bonnet Hair Dryer
Tepenar Bonnet Hair Dryer Attachment
Bonnet hair dryers don’t have to be a major investment, as evidenced by this top-rated—but super affordable—option on Amazon. It comes with everything you need for deep conditioning (i.e. a ventilated cap and a long hose that attaches to your dryer with ease) for a very reasonable $10.
Best Soft Bonnet Hair Dryer for Traveling
Hair Flair Soft Hood Deluxe Hair Dryer Attachment
Even if your version of traveling these days is walking from the couch to the kitchen (me), you can’t deny the pure freakin’ convenience of this soft bonnet hair dryer. Not only does it come with a large cap and long hose, but it also packs down into a cute little bag for easy storage.
Best Professional Bonnet Hair Dryer
Nova Microdermabrasion Professional 1300W Adjustable Hooded Floor Hair Bonnet Dryer Stand Up Rolling Base
K, this definitely isn’t the most practical bonnet hair dryer on the market right now, but if you’ve got the space (and, like, dedication), you’ll get legit salon-level results. The bonnet is adjustable for all hair lengths, the temperature is easy to control and customize, and the wheels make it nice and easy to move around. Consider your heat styling handled.
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