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Best hair diffuser for curly hair 2024: Maximise your style and make the most of your curls from £10

best hair diffuser for curly hair header woman curling her hair using a gold hairdryer and black diffuser

Treat your curly hair gently with the best diffusers to add bounce without damage

The time where ghd straighteners ruled the runways and high streets and poker-straight was the only way to wear your hair is over – curls and waves are back in a big way.

If you’re wearing curly, wavy or coily hair in its natural curl pattern after a period of straightening, you may already know that a diffuser attachment can be a curly girl’s best friend. When it comes to drying hair gently in a way that adds the right sort of volume, using a diffuser prevents ruffling the hair cuticles and introducing unwanted frizz.

A diffuser usually looks like a bowl-shaped attachment with long fingers that are used to separate the curls as you dry. Unlike a concentrator nozzle, which directs the airflow from your hair dryer into one defined stream to flatten and smooth hair, diffuser attachments are designed to do the opposite and spread out (diffuse) the airflow from your hair dryer over a wider area. This diffused airflow means you won’t blast your curls out of shape. The fingers can also optionally be used to add volume at the roots.

We’ve taken a look at some of the best diffusers designed with curly, coily and wavy hair in mind. Read on for a quick look at what’s on offer and our guide to getting the best out of your diffuser, and further below for our pick of the best diffusers you can buy.

Best hair diffuser for curly hair: At a glance

Best for fine curly hairDrybar The Bouncer Diffuser (~£29)Check price at LookFantastic
Best valueBabyliss Pro 3 in 1 Diffuser (~£12)Check price at Amazon
Best for defined curlsghd Professional Diffuser (~£29)Check price at Amazon
Best for volumeXtava Black Orchid Diffuser (~£10)Check price at Amazon

How to choose the best diffuser for curly hair for you

How does a diffuser work?

Your hair dryer works by blowing air from a fan over a heating element to create a stream of hot air that dries hair quickly. Modern hair dryers can create fast, powerful streams of air that are very efficient but can strip delicate curly hair of natural moisture and push the natural spirals of the hair out of shape.

If you’re a curly girl you’ll already know that preserving the hair’s natural moisture is key to healthy, shiny and frizz-free curls. A diffuser can help keep moisture in the hair by drying gently, dispersing the airflow to create a softer and less concentrated stream that won’t disturb your curl pattern or rough up the cuticles.

How do I use my diffuser?

There are two main ways you can use a diffuser – with the attachment closer to the head, using the bowl to gently scrunch your curls and add bounce; or further away, as you’d normally use your hair dryer but with a more dispersed airflow.

In either case, start with damp hair – wash and gently towel-dry or “plop” first (wrapping the hair into a microfibre towel to remove most of the moisture), and add your favourite curl cream or scrunching jelly.

Take a section of the mid-lengths and ends of your hair, lightly scrunch them into the bowl and bring the diffuser close to your head with the ends of the hair still inside the bowl. Leave the dryer in place for around 20 to 30 seconds, then slowly take the dryer and diffuser away.

For extra volume, you can turn your head upside down as you carry out this process, allowing the diffuser’s fingers to create volume at the roots.

Alternatively, use the diffuser when holding the hair dryer as you would normally a few inches away from your hair, to create a gentler airstream that dries hair with less dehydrating heat. This can be a good way to rough-dry curly hair until it’s almost dry, then scrunch and finish with your favourite shine or styling product.

READ NEXT: Best products for curly hair

Are diffusers good for all hair types?

A diffuser can be used with any hair type or texture. You’ll find it especially useful for maintaining bounce in natural curls and waves, but if you have dry or frizz-prone straight hair and want a gentler way to dry, a diffuser (using the second method above) can be a good way to dry without damage.

If a sleek and poker-straight style is what you’re after, you’ll need a concentrator nozzle and a paddle brush; but a diffuser can be a great tool for gently drying all hair types for a more relaxed “undone” look.

READ NEXT: Best shampoos for curly hair

What should I look for in a diffuser?

Some hair dryers will come with diffuser attachments in the box. If you’re looking to upgrade, a separate diffuser attachment will simply slide onto your existing hair dryer (if it’s the same diameter). Always check that it’s securely in place before using.

If you’re planning to use your diffuser to scrunch curls using the first method outlined above, a good depth of bowl will help you to hold your hair in place as it dries – especially if you have long or thick hair.

To keep curls separate as you dry and add lift, look for long finger-style prongs; and if you’re going for a voluminous look, longer fingers will help add more lift.

How we test hair diffusers

We test all the diffusers for curly hair we review on our tester’s mid-length curly hair, either at home or during a live product demonstration. We use the diffuser as recommended on damp hair with a curl cream applied.

When testing, we compare how well the hair dries with the diffuser and its look and feel after drying. We also note any particular features such as longer fingers, a deeper bowl or an unusual shape or material. Finally, we rate how well our diffuser-dried curls last over the course of a typical day.

READ NEXT: Best hair dryers

The best diffusers for curly hair you can buy in 2024

1. Xtava Black Orchid Diffuser: Best for volume

Price when reviewed: £9.99 | Check price at Amazon

best hair diffuser Xtava on a white backgroundThis unusually shaped diffuser from Xtava, with a deep bowl and two rows of fingers arranged around the diffuser like the petals of a flower, has a strong online reputation in the curly hair community for the amazing volume it creates on natural curly and coily hair.

Between the long fingers, the Black Orchid’s two circular rings of air vents disperse airflow evenly to keep your natural curl pattern intact without adding frizz. The deep bowl holds plenty of hair to allow for even and gentle drying – even if your curls are long and thick, you can easily drop the ends of the hair into the bowl for a softer, scrunched finish.

For a “closer-to-god” big hair look, it’s an easy job to tip the hair forwards into the bowl for extra lift and volume. The diffuser fingers on the outer edge are longer than those on the inner circle, helping the Black Orchid feel comfortable against your head if you’re bringing it closer to the scalp for more root lift.

The Black Orchid is especially popular in the afro-textured hair community, but it also gave good lift and definition to my Type 3 curly hair and works well on wavy hair too. A slightly unusual-looking, but very effective diffuser which comes with a year’s guarantee.

Key specs – Weight: 363g; Diameter: 16.5cm; Number of styling heads: 1; Compatibility: Fits 1.8in-diameter nozzles; Secure fit: Y; Colour: Black

2. Drybar The Bouncer Diffuser: Best for fine curly hair

Price when reviewed: £29 | Check price at LookFantastic

best hair diffuser Drybar The Bouncer Diffuser on a white backgroundThis diffuser attachment – unmissable in blow-drying specialist Drybar’s signature buttercup yellow – has a nice wide bowl, and fingers arranged in different lengths to lift and add volume to even the most flyaway fine hair. With its circular and lozenge-shaped air vents, the Bouncer disperses airflow from your hair dryer to create a soft, diffuse airflow that dries hair quickly and gently and is particularly suitable for fine hair that dehydrates easily.

This diffuser is great for drying hair using the drop-and-scrunch method, with the 12 long fingers creating lots of lift and separation. Drybar recommends moving the diffuser in a circular motion as you dry to encourage the hair into bouncy, frizz-free curls. The wide bowl also means that airflow is evenly diffused over the surface of the hair if you choose to dry hair gently from a few inches away instead.

The bright and colourful Bouncer is designed to lock onto Drybar’s own hair dryers, but the rubber grip around the attachment means it should fit easily onto most standard-sized hair dryers. Used with your favourite curl cream or mousse, the Bouncer creates curls that feel fresh and bouncy after drying, and even fine curls hold their shape all day.

Key specs – Weight: 308g; Diameter: 16.5cm; Number of styling heads: 1; Compatibility: Drybar Buttercup, Drybar Baby Buttercup and fits most other 2in nozzles; Secure fit: Y; Colour: Yellow

Check price at LookFantastic

3. Babyliss Pro 3 in 1 Diffuser: Best value

Price when reviewed: £12 | Check price at Amazonbest hair diffuser Babyliss Pro 3 in 1 Diffuser on a white background

This lightweight diffuser from Babyliss is fantastic value in two ways. Firstly, the price is very pocket-friendly. Secondly, it comes with three different styling heads so that you can choose between longer fingers for curl separation, soft fingers to massage the scalp and add volume at the roots and a mesh-covered air attachment for gentle drying without disturbing your curl shape.

The diffuser head twists on easily to most standard-size hair dryers, and the three styling heads also simply pop on and off the main attachment. I especially liked the rubber-covered soft finger attachment for a gentle massage that lifted hair at the roots, but the other attachments were also highly effective.

The Babyliss’ long fingers created good curl definition, and the mesh attachment gave a soft and even airflow perfect for drying curls that you’ve scrunched after washing with your favourite styling cream or mousse. Whichever option you try, curls feel fresh and bouncy all day after using.

For another super-affordable option that dries hair gently using reflected infrared heat, try the Babyliss Pro Titanium diffuser.

Key specs – Weight: 420g; Diameter: 13.5cm; Number of styling heads: 3; Compatibility: Fits most Babyliss PRO hair dryers; Secure fit: Y; Colour: Black

4. ghd Professional Diffuser: Best for defined curls

Price when reviewed: £29 | Check price at Amazonbest hair diffuser ghd Professional Diffuser on a white background

This diffuser from ghd’s blow-drying range has a wide, shallow bowl and long fingers which together mean it’s great for adding volume and definition to natural curls. The wide bowl diffuses the airflow effectively for a softer, less intense blow, even from a high-powered dryer and – if you’re using the diffuser to scrunch – the contoured fingers lift and separate curls of any length to create a defined texture.

You can add as much volume as you like by bringing the diffuser closer to the roots, and tipping the hair forward for a really lifted look.

Used together with a curl cream, the ghd Professional Diffuser created shiny, defined and frizz-free ringlets. I found that my Type 3 naturally curly hair felt soft and smooth to touch after drying, and the lift created lasted all day.

A downside with this diffuser is that it’s not a universal attachment – the ghd Professional Diffuser is designed for use with the brand’s Air and Helios hair dryers only. The diffuser fits the Air directly, and the ring attachment supplied in the box is used to fit it to the Helios. If you do have a ghd hair dryer, however, this diffuser attachment is a great investment for curly or frizz-prone hair.

Key specs – Weight: 220g; Diameter: 15cm; Number of styling heads: 1; Compatibility: Air & Helios models; Secure fit: Y; Colour: Black

5. Bellissima Italia Diffon Supreme: Best all-in-one diffuser dryer

Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at Argosbest hair diffuser Bellissima on a white background

The Diffon Supreme diffuser-dryer from Bellissima Italia is a handy all-in-one tool, meaning the days of hunting around for a diffuser attachment are in the past. The dryer’s 770W motor isn’t the most powerful on the market, but the Diffon Supreme is designed for a gentle airstream rather than a fast and powerful airflow.

The bell-shaped tool fits nicely in the hand and the wide, round bowl with 12 long fingers is ideal for dropping longer curls into. The fingers themselves have silicone tips, which means they’re soft against the head if you’re bringing the diffuser closer to the scalp.

There’s a digital heat control to avoid scorching delicate hair, ionic technology to preserve moisture, a ceramic coating for gentle and even heat and argan oil to condition the hair and reduce frizz. There are three temperature and two speed settings that can be selected independently so you can choose the right combination for your hair, and a long three metre power cord that makes it easy to move the dryer around your curls wherever your plug socket is located.

While it’s not as cheap as some of the standalone attachments on our list, if you’re in the market for a new dryer and love to dry your hair this way then the Diffon Supreme is a great all-in-one option.

Key specs – Weight: 720g; Diameter: 17cm; Number of styling heads: 1; Speed settings: 2; Temperature settings: 3; Colour: Black/gold

Check price at Argos

6. Diva Pro XXL: Best for long and curly hair

Price when reviewed: £24 | Check price at Amazonbest hair diffuser Diva Pro on a white background

If you have extra-long or extra-thick hair, then you need this supersized diffuser from Diva Pro. The wide, deep bowl – a whopping 17cm across – will easily accommodate longer styles and make gentle, healthy drying with a curly finish an absolute breeze.

The 12 styling fingers have soft rubber tips, adding comfort when styling close to the scalp. While it’s especially good for longer hair, the Diva Pro XXL can be used on all lengths, especially if you use it further away from the head to disperse airflow from a distance – which it does very effectively.

Compatible with most hair dryers, the Diva Pro XXL has a soft plastic flexi-grip at the base of the attachment which helps it lock on to your dryer head without slipping. Despite its size, the diffuser is lightweight and easy to move around the head – and with its large capacity, slashes drying time for longer hair as it can easily dry larger sections.

The large size also means you can dry hair effectively on lower heat settings, reducing the temptation to blast hair with a higher heat to get the job done. Combined with a gentle heat and airflow setting, the Diva Pro XXL leaves hair soft and voluminous all day after drying.

Key specs – Weight: 300g; Diameter: 17cm; Number of styling heads: 1; Compatibility: Fits most hair dryers; Secure fit: Y; Colour: Black

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