Keep fine hair soft, shiny, and free from damage with these gentle hair dryers suitable for fine hair
A powerful hair dryer can style hair quickly and efficiently, but raw power isn’t always suitable for all hair types. Fine hair – where the individual strands are thinner than normal – tend to be more delicate and prone to breakage, so a high heat that strips the hair of moisture is not what you need. While air drying is one way to avoid damage from excessive heat, if you’re strapped for time or want a more professional look, a hair dryer that’s suitable for not just your stylistic needs but also your hair type is the solution.
The best dryers for fine hair use clever technology to allow for efficient drying while at lower temperatures. Ceramic and ionic technology keep damage to a minimum and will promote a smooth and healthy-looking finish, while adjustable temperatures and airspeeds let you dry more gently.
We’ve rounded up our favourite hair dryers for drying fine hair gently, keeping it soft and shiny and allowing for a beautiful finish.
How to choose the best hair dryer for fine hair
What is classed as fine hair?
Fine hair is thinner than average, in terms of the width it grows out of the follicle. Note: it is possible to have both thick and fine hair. To test the natural texture of your hair simply pluck a strand and roll it between your fingers – if you can’t feel it then your natural hair texture is fine. Naturally blonde hair is generally finer than black, brunette, or red hair, so if you’re a nordic blonde then you may find your tresses are fine-textured. Hair texture heavily relies on genetics so, if you’ve inherited hair that grows fine, there’s not a lot you can do to change that – although you can temporarily thicken the hair using volumising haircare and styling products.
Fine hair is more easily damaged as, by its very nature, there’s less of it to withstand any tension, so breakage and split ends are common. A gentle dryer can help preserve moisture in the hair, keeping it healthy and therefore encouraging folicles to strengthen.
What features should I look for in a hair dryer for fine hair?
Heat levels are one of the main features to consider when choosing a dryer for fine hair. Hair dryers that offer lower heat settings will be less damaging to fine and brittle hair.
The best dryers allow you to select from a range of both heat and airflow settings. Ideally, these controls should be separate from one another so you can rough dry on a higher speed without increasing the heat, before switching to a lower speed for gentle styling.
Rather than a high-powered, high-wattage hair dryer, look for one that favours fast airflow over heat to dry the hair without damaging it. The latest “digital motors” (also known as electronically commutated, or EC, motors) allow for increased air velocity with reduced heat, so you don’t need a high wattage to experience powerful results on a lower temperature setting.
Look for dryers with elements coated in ceramic or tourmaline as it encourages even heat distribution with no damaging hot spots. They also generate infrared heat that dries fine hair quickly and seals the hair cuticle, giving a soft and shiny finish with fewer flyaways.
Ionic technology is also a good feature to look for in a dryer for fine hair – negatively charged ions break up the water molecules in your hair, allowing ionic dryers to dry your hair quickly and seal in moisture for shiny and hydrated hair. This in turn leads to less breakage and healthier-looking hair.
How we test hair dryers for fine hair
At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. As such, we personally test all the hair dryers we review, either at home or at a salon demonstration. We test hair dryers for fine hair by drying locks using the recommended heat and speed settings – for fine hair, that usually means using lower heat – and, where applicable, the attachments supplied with each model.
We record the length of time it takes a hair dryer to take freshly washed hair to fully dry; and while doing so, evaluate the overall ease of use, plus the finish and feel of the hair immediately after drying and after a typical day of wear. Finally, we confirm the weight, dimensions and power rating of each model.
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The best hair dryers for fine hair you can buy in 2023
1. Remington Keratin Protect Ionic Dryer: Best for a shiny finish on fine hair
Price: £35 | Buy now from Amazon
Remington’s Keratin Protect hair dryer is a great mid-range option with flexible heat and speed settings that allow you to choose gentle options for finer hair. The name comes from the keratin protein and almond oil micro-conditioners infused into the dryer grille, which Remington claims adds strength and softness to hair as you dry – perfect for keeping fine hair hydrated and reducing breakage. The dryer has three heat and two speed settings, independently controlled on separate switches, so you can choose the combination that best suits your hair, plus a cold shot to set your chosen style.
The Keratin Protect also comes with a good range of accessories – a slim nozzle for styling, a wide nozzle for fast drying, and a diffuser to add volume. The 2.5m long cable is a decent length for most bedrooms; and the dryer weighs less than 700g which makes it feel lightweight and easy to manoeuvre around the head.
Key specs – Heating element: Ceramic/ionic; Temperature settings: 3; Speed settings: 2; Cold shot button: Yes; Power: 2200W; Cable length: 2.5m; Weight: 665g; Accessories: 2 concentrator nozzles, diffuser attachment
2. Revamp Progloss Hydro Shield X Shine hair dryer: Best for dry and fine hair
Price: £120 | Buy now from Revamp
British haircare brand Revamp has just launched its newest dryer, the Progloss Hydro Shield X Shine. This sleek but powerful 1,800W hairdryer features a ceramic grille infused with Revamp’s signature Progloss formula – a combination of keratin, argan and coconut oils – to strengthen and condition the hair as you dry, as well as jets of both positive and negative ions to reduce frizz and hydrate the hair for a smooth and glossy finish.
The Hydro Shield X Shine has four heat settings and three airflow speeds, selected independently on separate switches, so you can choose the gentlest heat for your hair. The dryer also has a clever sensor that monitors airflow temperature to ensure that you’re always drying at the healthiest heat for your hair. The 3m cable makes finding a place to plug in easy, and it comes with two different sized concentrator nozzles for sleek styling, along with a diffuser attachment for gentle drying.
Hair feels soft and healthy after drying, with a glossy, frizz-free finish and no flyaways. A good styling tool for fine hair that’s on the slightly drier side.
Key specs – Heating element: Ceramic/ionic; Temperature settings: 4; Speed settings: 3; Cold shot button: Yes; Power: 1,800W; Cable length: 3m; Weight: 410g; Accessories: 2 concentrator nozzles, diffuser attachment
3. GHD Air Professional hair dryer: Best professional dryer for fine hair
Price: £95 | Buy now from Look Fantastic
Since GHD’s first hair dryer, the Air, was first sold ten years ago, it has become an electrical beauty classic – sturdy, well-made, and both fast and gentle when it comes to drying. The Air has two heat and two speed settings, on separate controls to give flexible drying options, plus a cold shot to seal the finished style. The 2,100W motor is surprisingly quiet in use, and the powerful airflow means you don’t need to crank up the heat to dry the hair – perfect for combating dehydration and damage to fine hair.
The Air comes with just one concentrator nozzle in the box, but the combination of nozzle and airflow does a great job smoothing the hair and keeping it frizz-free. If you prefer to use a diffuser, a separate GHD diffuser attachment is available to buy.
Key specs – Heating element: Ceramic/ionic; Temperature settings: 2; Speed settings: 2; Cold shot button: Yes; Power: 2,100W; Cable length: 3m; Weight: 1,540g; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle (diffuser attachment available separately)
4. BaByliss Hydro Fusion dryer: Best mid-range dryer for fine hair
Price: £40 | Buy now from Argos
BaByliss’ Hydro-Fusion hair dryer uses Advanced Plasma Technology – a combination of negative and positive ions to break up water molecules – which allows the hair to dry more effectively at lower temperatures. This means you can dry your fine hair quickly but still gently and safely. After drying the hair feels soft, without any crispy ends or frizz. The two speed and three temperature settings can be adjusted separately, allowing plenty of versatility in the way you style your hair. The dryer also has a cool shot to finish your style.
The Hydro Fusion dryer comes with a concentrator nozzle to direct air onto the hair for a sleek finish when styling with a brush, and a diffuser to volumize fine hair. The attachments slip on easily and stay in place well. Fast but gentle, the Hydro Fusion creates a soft and glossy finish on fine hair.
Key specs – Heating element: Ionic; Temperature settings: 3; Speed settings: 2; Cold shot button: Yes; Power: 2,100W; Cable length: 2.5m; Weight: 570g; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle, diffuser attachment
5. Dyson Supersonic: Best luxury dryer for fine hair
Price: £330 | Buy now from Dyson
The futuristic-looking Dyson Supersonic – with its unique, hollow cylinder shape – has a fantastic array of four heat settings and three speed settings, meaning you can easily select a gentle, low heat to keep your fine hair hydrated and healthy while drying. Thanks to the V9 digital motor, the higher speed settings are powerful enough to dry by themselves, without needing to turn up the heat – great for drying quickly without damage to delicate hair.
The Supersonic ships with a number of different comb and diffuser attachments that fit to the dryer using magnets. Along with the usual diffuser attachment and concentrator nozzle, it comes with a Flyaway attachment to smooth down hairs for a sleek finish, and a Gentle Air attachment with a wavy edge that diffuses the airflow more evenly – perfect for drying fine hair gently. Dyson’s intelligent heat sensors monitor the temperature constantly to prevent accidental overheating and keep hair healthy.
The Supersonic is the highest priced dryer on our list, but if you blow-dry your fine hair regularly then being able to use efficient airflow rather than high heat, to minimise damage and keep your hair healthy, makes this a worthwhile investment.
Key specs – Heating element: Ionic; Temperature settings: 4; Speed settings: 3; Cold shot button: Yes; Power: 1,600W; Cable length: 2.7m; Weight: 690g; Accessories: Concentrator nozzle, flyaway smoothing attachment, diffuser attachment, wide-tooth comb, gentle air diffuser
6. Cloud Nine Airshot Pro: Best for a soft and sleek finish on fine hair
Price: £200 | Buy now from Boots
Cloud Nine’s Airshot Pro is another salon-style dryer that uses airflow rather than heat to carefully dry delicate strands. The dryer’s Eco-Precision motor digitally monitors airflow speed, promising to halve the length of your drying time while using less energy and keeping hair strong and healthy. There are two heat settings, both of which are cooler than those typically foundon dryers with slower airflow. The ceramic heating element is also infused with both sericite and tourmaline to maintain even heat distribution over the hair and lock in moisture for a shiny finish.
In our tests, the Airshot Pro dried shoulder-length hair quickly with a nice, soft, and glossy finish, and the style lasted well through a typical day of wear. The nozzle is longer than usual, which takes a little getting used to, but the Airshot Pro is light and easy to move around the head when styling. A premium product with a premium price tag, but the fast and gentle drying makes this a good choice for fine hair that tends to break easily.
Key specs – Heating element: Ceramic/Tourmaline; Temperature settings: 2; Speed settings: 3; Cold shot button: Yes; Power: 1,600W; Cable length: 3.03m; Weight: 480g; Accessories: 2 concentrator nozzles, carry case
7. Panasonic EH-NA98 Nanoe: Best hairdryer for fine hair that tends to frizz
Price: £180 | Buy now from Boots
Panasonic’s Nanoe blow dryer uses water atomising technology to hydrate and condition the hair and scalp, which is great for fine hair that also tends to suffer from static, frizz, and split ends. The Nanoe system jets tiny water particles directly into your hair as you dry, leaving you with impressively shiny and smooth results. It dries quickly but without needing high temperatures, which is ideal for saving delicate fine strands from heat damage. The Nanoe’s Double Mineral ionic technology also reduces damage and boosts moisture.
If your scalp is a little dry and flaky, you may well enjoy the innovative scalp mode which gently dries at 50˚C, helping reduce irritation and minimising damage to the roots for strong and healthy hair. The Nanoe also has an alternating hot and cold mode, which blasts hot air to flatten and style, followed automatically by cool air to seal the cuticle and set the style. If your fine hair has a tendency to become frizzy over the course of the day, the Nanoe’s hydrating technology may be just what you need to seal in moisture and keep things glossy. Not to mention, it also features a folding handle which makes it an ideal, compact, travel companion.
Key specs – Heating element: Ceramic/ionic with Nanoe technology; Temperature settings: 4; Speed settings: 3; Cold shot button: Yes; Power: 1800W; Cable length: 2.7m; Weight: 578g; Accessories: Styling nozzle