The first handheld hair dryers hit the market in the 1920s and, in the last century have become more powerful, and more creative. Hot air brushes are designed to dry and style at the same time, saving you precious minutes. Here’s what to know before adding one to your basket.

For All Hair Types

Whether you’ve got a short bob or waist-length waves, this easy-to-use brush with two heat settings will speed things up. It combines a 38mm titanium-ceramic barrel with a mix of bristles. BaByliss

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For best results, use hot air hair brushes on damp—say well towel-dried—but not wet hair. It’s also worth bearing in mind that a brush like this isn’t going to give you the same glossy smoothness that you might get from a salon blow-dry or straighteners. That’s because both a conventional hair dryer and straighteners smooth the outer layer of each hair downwards, giving a glossy finish that is harder to achieve when the flow of hot air isn’t guided in the same way.

Versatile Styling Solution

Four different attachments, including a head with retractable bristles for creating Hollywood-style waves, plus two heat and two speed settings add versatility to this clever gadget. Remington

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Make sure you know what you’re getting, these aren’t rotating round brushes, they’re static—you can get similar effects, but you’ll have to do more of the work. Hot air hair brushes great for getting volume at the crown—the bigger the barrel the more volume—and it’s very easy to create subtle flicks, or make the ends of a bob sit neatly underneath, but even with additional tools, creating actual curls takes a bit of practise. 

Extra Large Barrel

With three settings—including a cool shot to help set your style—this clever tool has a good-sized head, making it ideal for drying and styling lengthier cuts. Available in eight colourways. Aibesser

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If frizz is your number one bugbear, hot air brushes won’t get rid of it entirely—but you can look for features that might help to reduce it slightly.  A tourmaline or ceramic barrel helps to smooth the hair and reduce static, while negative ionic technology can also reduce flyaways; put simply, hair is positively charged and when two positively charged hairs come into contact, they repel each other leading to fluffiness and flyaways. Adding negative ions into the mix (with a hot air hair brush) neutralises the positive ions, resulting in a sleeker, smoother style.