If you want a quality hair dryer that’s surprisingly powerful and leaves hair dry in record time, the BaByliss 3Q is the model for you
- No frills
- No diffuser
- Matte finish marks easily
In recent years, hair dryers have taken a new form, with many new models offering fancy features that come at exorbitant prices. The BaByliss 3Q hair dryer cuts through this cluttered market and offers simple, effective styling in a neat, stylish package.
However, with a price of over £100, can its styling power justify the cost? During tests, the 3Q performed impressively, drying my hair in record time – and offering faster speeds than other, more expensive dryers that come with higher-power motors. The only letdown is the lack of a diffuser attachment, so if you have curly hair then this model isn’t for you.
BaByliss 3Q review: What do you get for the money?
On first sight of the BaByliss 3Q hair dryer, I was struck by the simplicity of its design. Its shape doesn’t stray too far from the ordinary, but the sturdy matte black plastic casing is contoured, giving it an elegant and smooth look – you wouldn’t think twice about leaving it out on a vanity table, or hanging up in view using the loop at the base of the handle. Pop the matching concentrator nozzle onto the front-facing grille and it blends almost seamlessly onto the dryer.
The 3Q’s handle is contoured to fit comfortably in the hand, with three control switches located on one side of it. Comfort levels in use are further bolstered by the hair dryer’s light, even weight distribution, which means your wrists won’t be straining to support the unit when drying your hair. At 768g with the cable, this model is far lighter than other dryers that deliver similar drying speeds; the Remington Proluxe You hair dryer weighs in at a whopping 897g, for example.
In terms of styling power, the BaByliss 3Q hair dryer packs a punch. Its 2,200W digital motor produced speeds of up to 21.6m/s in tests, which rivals those speeds produced by dryers with bigger and heavier 2,400W motors. I also measured a maximum temperature of 50.2°C using a metallic testing surface, which is fairly average. Higher temperatures can result in far more heat damage to the hair, so this mediocrity is actually a good thing.
Despite the fast speeds it delivers, the 3Q hair dryer is actually quieter than other models we’ve tested. On its maximum speed setting, sound levels reached 93dBA from 15cm away. Although not whisper-quiet, this is half the noise level of the similarly priced ReVamp Progloss 5500 hair dryer.
The three switches on the side of the handle are for controlling the cold shot feature, temperature and speed. Unlike most dryers, the cold shot switch is lockable, which means you don’t have to hold down the button continuously to blast locks with cool air. The other two buttons comprise a temperature control with three heat levels, and a button with two speed settings; this button also turns the dryer on and off.
One of the BaByliss 3Q’s only downsides is that it doesn’t come with a diffuser attachment, which means you’ll need to purchase a diffuser separately, at additional cost, if you need one.
Similar to most high-end dryers, the BaByliss 3Q hair dryer uses “ionic” technology to remove static and frizz, while also featuring a quartz-ceramic coating on the front-facing grille to promote shine. It’s widely accepted that these technologies produce good results, but it isn’t possible to test these claims scientifically. As you’ll see from reading further on, however, the hair dryer produced soft and shiny results, even with a quick blow-dry.
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Babyliss 3Q review: What’s it like to use?
Having measured the speed and temperature of the BaByliss 3Q hair dryer before testing it on my hair, I had high hopes in terms of how quickly it would dry my hair. When blasting my wet hair using the fastest, hottest settings, the 3Q managed to dry my hair in under five minutes – which is impressively fast considering the length and thickness of my hair. In addition, considering I used a rather rough-and-ready technique here, my hair was surprisingly smooth and shiny after a quick brush through.
The real test of styling power was using the hair dryer to create a bouncy blow dry with a round brush and the concentrator attachment. I will qualify this by saying that I didn’t use any styling products in my hair to prolong the style – only heat protection spray to protect my hair from heat damage – to ensure the testing process for all the hair dryers remains consistent. As such, if you want to achieve longer-lasting results, I’d recommend using a styling mousse or hairspray.
Having rough-dried my hair to about 80% dry, the concentrator nozzle delivered streamlined airflow to easily style my hair around a round brush. Typically, I struggle with achy arms during the blow-dry process, but because the BaByliss 3Q is so evenly weighted, light and quick at drying, this wasn’t an issue.
Thankfully, the controls here are intuitive. Personally, I’d prefer the cold shot to be a button, rather than a lockable switch, because this would make it easier to switch it on and off during styling. However, there are advantages to both options. With regards to how quickly the cold shot emits cool air, it took only two to three seconds to deliver a cool stream of air, even when using the highest heat setting. This is hugely impressive.
A minor issue I experienced with the control panel is its position on one side of the handle; if I switched hands to style the other side of my head, the controls became more difficult to use one-handed.
Overall, though, the BaByliss 3Q hair dryer produced impressively smooth, sleek results in record time. Typically, it would take around half an hour for me to blow-dry my hair; with the BaByliss 3Q this time was cut to just over 20 minutes. This impressive performance makes it easy to overlook the 3Q’s few downsides.
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Babyliss 3Q review: Should you buy it?
In every respect, the BaByliss 3Q hair dryer is a minimalist’s dream. Rather than throwing in flashy features for the sake of it, BaByliss perfects those necessary to deliver excellent and fast styling results. For those in the market for a great quality, lightweight and powerful hair dryer, the 3Q is an easy recommendation.
However, if you regularly use a diffuser to style your hair, then we suggest you look elsewhere. It’s likely you’ll see the best results from a diffuser that’s purpose-built for a particular dryer – which means even with a universal diffuser attachment, you might be disappointed with the 3Q. Instead, consider an option from our roundup of the best hair dryers for curly hair.