Hair Dryer 101 with Conair

Conair SilverBird Hair DryerHow well do you know your hair dryer? Conair, makers of some of the best hair dryers on the planet, answers some frequently asked questions about our favorite hot air blowing friends.

What is the difference between a professional dryer and a standard dryer? How can you tell if you are getting a dryer built for a pro?
While many dryers have the title “professional” or “salon” in their description they may not be true professional appliances. A professional appliance has several features that allow it to withstand the stress of daily salon use. The three main features are:

  • True professional dryers have an AC motor. This type of motor has a longer life than the motors found in consumer dryers.
  • The design of the unit will usually feature a narrow barrel to help increase airflow.
  • The cords are typically heavier and longer than those found on consumer units.
  • In addition they will generally not have an ALCI plug as they normally are not used near water.

What is the cool shot button really for?
The cool shot is used to set the style in place at the end of drying/styling. The change to colder air temperature helps lock the style in place.

What do I use a concentrator nozzle for?
The nozzle attachment is used to concentrate and direct airflow, giving greater control during styling. The narrower the vent on the nozzle, the faster the airflow. Concentrator nozzles are generally used to create sleek, smooth styles. Faster, concentrated airflow dries hair fast and fights that frizz!

What does the rear filter do?
The rear filter will trap dust and hair, keeping it out of the dryer. To maintain optimum performance and prolong the life of the dryer, the filter should be removed and cleaned frequently. Remember a clean filter leads to a happy hair dryer.

What is a diffuser attachment used for?
A diffuser attachment is generally used on permed or curly hair to dry hair without removing the curl or creating frizz. They are not suitable for short hair unless they have “fingers”. Volumizing diffusers have long “fingers” that help direct the heat to the roots to create extra volume. Conair suggests all diffuser attachments should be used on the low heat setting unless otherwise instructed.

Conair hair dryers are probably some of the most recognized professional tools on the planet! Hair dryers like the Yellow Bird, Blackbird and Silver Bird are the industry standard in salons across the country, for good reason, they are long-lasting and provide professional results time and time again. Thanks Conair!

-StraightBelle

StyleBell’s Top 5 Favorite Flat Irons

People love to corner me and ask me lots of flat iron questions, and I’m always happy to answer them. Being one of the lucky few who gets to test drive almost all of the hair straighteners on the market, I have acquired a lot of street cred in the hair appliance market, and with curly hair like mine, I really put every flat iron to the test.

In the flat iron world, not all flat irons are created equally and everyone’s hair straightening needs differ based on hair type and texture – yep, we’ve written about this before in our Flat Iron Buying Guide 101.

But, if you really want to use the benchmark my friends use – “if this flat iron can straighten your curly mop, it can straighten mine!” – my top five flat iron picks would have to be:

1- GHD MK4 1-inch Flat Iron – pure Ceramic power and technology – this iron gets my hair the GHD Flat Iron mk4straightest it can be and frizz is no longer an ”issue”. It also creates really believable curls if you practice. It’s a little pricey, but I love the bells and whistles: Dual voltage, stronger cable, auto shut off ‘sleep mode’. Everyone knows I rave about the GHD MK4 iron – it’s THAT good. (Read a review)

2- Babyliss Pro Nano-Titanium 1-inch
Flat Iron – state of the art technology and a super smoothing Babyliss Flat Ironsurface to kill my curls and add lots of shine – the perfect combo! The Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium is actually longer than most flat irons and you’d think it would be hard to handle, but just the opposite, it smooths faster than ever and the shine is unbeatable. Bonus: It’s at a great price point and offers a killer 4 year warranty. Really, how can you go wrong? You can’t.

3- Maxiglide Flat Iron– Ok, I’ll start by saying this flat iron is not for everyone. It’s Maxiglide Flat Ironlarger than any flat iron you are probably used to and has these tiny detangling pins that take some getting used to. That being said, if you have thick, unruly, hard to straighten hair you know that using a flat iron will take some finesse. Once you master the Maxiglide, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. This iron gets my thick massive mop silky. Yep, silky. (Read a review)

4- FHI Platform 1-inch Flat Iron – Another iron on the pricier side, but I think the FHI 1 inch Platform Flat IronFHI Platform is worth every penny when you see the results. Sleek with a capital S and the Ceramic Tourmaline and Titanium Technology eliminates toxins in the hair and really brings out the shine. Style sighting: This iron has also been spotted backstage at a lot of fashion shows too.

5- HAI Convertable 1-1/4 inch Flat Iron – My stylist loves this iron – mainly Hai Flat Iron Convertablebecause she can straighten my hair fast and I don’t have to sit there forever! One of the best flat irons for transforming my hair from curly to super straight, the Hai Convertable manufacturers also just increased the warranty to 3 years – SWEET!

Knowing Your Hair’s pH Level Makes All the Difference

Understanding your hair’s pH level is important for proper hair care. During the changing seasons our hair can sometimes take a while to adjust to the change in temperatures, but it can also take some time to adjust to the new products we are using on our hair.

Sometimes the products we have been using on our hair for months no longer work and our hair either becomes too dry or too oily. It can sometimes be very difficult to find the right balance. But if you want to learn how to restore your hair’s natural pH level, its really quite a simple process once you understand your hair. The natural oil that our hair secretes is a natural oil called sebum. Sebum maintains the moisture and balance in our hair. The hairs natural pH balance is between 4.5 and 5.5 scale. But what is most important is that we understand how to measure our hair’s level of Alkaline or Acid. The scale is from 0 (strongly Acidic) to 14 (Strongly Alkaline). Having a level of 7 represents neutrality.

In order to understand what products you should be purchasing, you need to understand what the right level is for you and your particular hair type. If you are using products that have a high pH level, than you are stripping your hair of its natural essential oil. In this case our hair becomes much too dry, making it prone to breakage and further damage.

The key to healthy hair is to understand the needs of your hair and taking the time to know what your hair really needs.

-Janice Johnson, founder of the Curly Hair Salon and editor of the Curly Hair Guide

P.S. Many hair care brands state the pH levels on their products – Davines and Abba to name a couple.

What is Paraben Free Hair Care?

You should consider paraben free hair care products for a few reasons. Researchers in England have recently discovered paraben in breast tumors. Research has shown that parabens act like estrogen in the female body. Since breast cancer responds to estrogen, the research makes sense.

There are several types of paraben: Methylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Benzylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben. They are often used as preservatives in hair care and cosmetic products. When you start reading the labels, you will be amazed at how many products contain one or more parabens. If you want paraben free hair care products, you will have to get good at reading the labels on all the products you purchase.

Once you have identified which products are paraben free, you can begin to experiment to find your favorites.  There has been a huge increase in people interested in organic and natural beauty products. Several major companies are releasing paraben free hair, skin and cosmetic products. Many reputable studies have demonstrated the negative effect of paraben and other chemicals in our bodies.

The CDC has found evidence of over 100 toxic chemicals in the blood and urine of people from all cultures and ethnic groups. As people become better educated about the potential dangers, they go looking for safer alternatives.   

-Janice Johnson, founder of the Curly Hair Salon and editor of the Curly Hair Guide 

P.S. If you’re looking for Paraben Free Hair care, StyleBell’s top five picks are: Jason Naturals, Kiss My Face, Aubrey Organics, Aveda and Yes to Carrots – available nationwide in drugstores and salons.