How to Use Hair Dryer Brushes Safely and Effectively, According to Hairstylists

This popular styling tool combines a hair dryer with a brush, promising to give you the perfect blowout—but only if you use it correctly.

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Revlon Salon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer
Photo: Courtesy of Revlon

Thanks to the invention of the heated styling brush, you no longer need to struggle in front of the mirror with a round brush and blow dryer—these tools deliver that blown-out, bouncy look with just half the work. Their popularity is ultimately a testament to their efficacy: Since the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Styler, one of the first iterations to go viral, made the rounds on social media, a myriad of beauty experts and novices alike have stocked up.

Despite the impressive results, these tools—which are also called hot brushes or hair dryer brushes—deliver heat directly to the strands and must be used carefully, say leading hair professionals.

Hot Brush Safety 101

According to Scott Joseph Cunha, a Lecompte Salon Master Stylist, hot brushes are a safe, effective way to style your hair—and eliminate the need for curling or flat irons after you blow-dry.


Using them too often, however, can lead to damage. "Overusing a hot brush can be damaging to your hair," Cunha says, which is why he teaches his clients how to extend the life of their blow-outs. "If your hair becomes oily, use dry shampoo on the roots, or if you're working out, wear a scarf or headband to keep your blow dry in place."

While it can be tempting to touch up a sweaty crown or punch up the volume on day two or three hair, Tonya Thompson and Sharie Wilson, salon owners and co-founders of DreamGirls Hair Care, warn against using these brushes for everyday maintenance.

Heat Settings

"The majority of individuals are guilty of using heat on high settings, which causes extreme heat damage to hair that can lead to severe breakage and even hair loss," says Thompson. "I advise using the lowest setting when using a hot brush on your hair."

How to Prep Your Hair Before Using a Hot Brush

Start with Towel-Dried Hair

Don't use a hot brush on dry hair, note our experts: If your strands are too dry, you might not get the desired shine or volume. That's why Cunha advises beginning with towel-dried hair; Thompson and Wilson actually suggest waiting a while longer, and turning on your brush just as strands begin to dry. (As a general rule, avoid firing up the hot brush when hair is dripping wet; doing so will cause damage and make your strands brittle.)

Apply a Heat Protectant

Heat protectant is mandatory, affirm our experts; the product acts as a shield and lessens the drying impact heated styling brushes can have on your hair.

Section Your Hair

"Before you use the heated styling brush, section your hair so that you don't have to run it through the same area several times," says Wilson, who recommends splitting hair into four sections (the top, back, and sides). Leave the top piece—your starting point—out, says Cunha, and clip up the rest: "Start with the top section of the hair and make sure to start at the root with the brush. Go all the way to the ends," he says.

How to Safely Use a Hot Brush

Once your prep work is complete, you're ready to power on your brush. Follow just four easy steps, courtesy of Thompson and Wilson, to achieve lasting bounce and shine.

  1. Start at the top section. When using the brush, work from the root.
  2. Pull the brush all the way through to the tips for straight hair—or wrap hair around the brush to create curls.
  3. Repeat this motion all the way around your head, working through each section; do the top, back, and sides, working in that order.
  4. Finish with a product that tames flyaways. To eliminate frizz without weighing your hair down, try the DreamGirls True Essence Oil.

Mistakes to Avoid

  • Do not hold the dryer too close to your hair for an extended period of time—this will burn your scalp.
  • Do not blow dry in the opposite direction. Always go from root to tip.
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