Best Hair Dryer for Normal and Thick Hair

The temptation with thick, coarse hair is to heat it quickly and at high temperatures. That's not necessarily wrong, if done in moderation. However, here’s the takeaway truth! Regardless of your hair type: Keep higher heat to a minimum and make the duration of any heat exposure as short as possible. By choosing the best hair dryer for your hair type, daily styling can be more effortless and more efficient, saving you time and reducing stress for your hair and your nerves.

Lucky you with lots of locks! There are options galore for those with normal or thick hair. You can check out pictures of hairdos, updos, even "no-dos" without envy. And those racks of barrettes, hairbands, pins, clips and clip-ons were made just for you. Those with fine hair often avoid the barrette aisle completely, because most of these products won't work well with their hair type.

Three diverse, beautiful women with normal to thick hair.

But the grass is always greener, right? When it comes to drying normal or thick hair, you've got a time disadvantage compared with your fine-haired friends. You might skip a wash or two or even forego a swim because you don't have time to dry those tresses. We think that's just not fun.

With your thicker strands, bad-hair days can be difficult to solve on the fly. Frizz, curls, kinks and bedhead disasters might take some work to resolve, especially if you don't want to start over with a shampoo and all-over restyle. Let's check out some hair dryer options that can save you time, won't harm your hair, and maybe get you back to the swimming pool.


What Makes Thick Hair Hard to Style?

Every head of hair has a story, and yours is unique. While the hair follicle or root contains your DNA, there's more to the story than just genetics. Let's stick to how you've treated your hair over the last weeks, months or years. Thermal styling and hair products can also affect the condition and look of your hair.

Depending on your natural color and thickness, each hair shaft has up to 3 layers. Thick hair is likely to have an inner layer called the medulla (with the exception of blonde hair). Thick, normal and thin hair include a mid-layer called the cortex. All hair types have an outer layer – the cuticle – which gets the most attention from styling products.

Beautiful woman with normally thick hair using a hair dryer.

Hair dryers can have an effect on all layers of your hair. The type of heat (yes – there are varying types), the intensity of heat and the amount of time the heat is applied to your hair can make or break your look and the health of each strand.

Thick and natural hair, by its very nature, will take more time to dry than other types of hair. Drying sessions for thicker, longer hair often go into overtime, putting a lot of wear and tear on your locks, your hair dryer, and even your elbows and wrists. Consider a durable, yet lightweight dryer, such as one with an AC motor, for longer dryer life, faster drying time, and a little more time for you.

InfinitiPRO by Conair® 3Q® HeatProtect Electronic Brushless Motor Styling Tool (3QMS)

InfinitiPRO by Conair® 3Q® HeatProtect Electronic Brushless Motor Styling Tool (3QMS)

As mentioned before, the natural tendency with normal to thick hair is to heat it quickly using high temperatures. That philosophy can lead to parched and damaged hair if you’re not careful. Don’t forget the cardinal rule: Regardless of your hair type: Keep higher heat to a minimum and make the duration of any heat exposure as short as possible. Start with lower temperatures and see how your hair responds. Gradually increase the temperature until you get the results you’re looking for.

Healthy hair is resilient, resists breakage and has some bounce and shine. Even kinky, curly or coarse hair can be managed in a healthy way. The right dryer, along with the right technique can help keep your hair fit and strong.

Conair has dryers that work well on all hair types. Some models have just what you need to get out the door quickly and beautifully – without damaging your luscious locks. If you have normal to thick hair, look for a dryer with the characteristics listed below (we'll show you why later).


Best Blow-Dryer for Thick Hair – Features to Look For

  • Ionic technology / conditioning
  • Ceramic technology
  • AC motor
  • High-torque DC motor
  • Cool shot option
  • Medium to high heat settings
  • Variable speed settings
  • Moderate to high wattage (1875 watts)
  • Concentrator nozzle attachment
  • Diffuser attachment

InfinitiPRO by Conair® 1875 Ion Choice Styler (490)

InfinitiPRO by Conair® 1875 Ion Choice Styler (490)

Heat Technology: Ceramic, Tourmaline or Ionic for Normal to Thick Hair?

Ceramic and Tourmaline Ceramic are organic compounds with a wide range of thermal properties. Ceramic technology provides even, uniform heat. A hair dryer using ceramics emits gentle infrared heat waves, creating warmth with less damage. Infrared heat technology can protect the outside cuticle layer from dehydration and other thermal stressors. You can't see the heat, but you will notice the difference.

Thick hair has plenty of cuticle or surface area. This outer layer is made up of overlapping scale-like cells. The shine and smoothness of your hair is attributed to the condition of this layer. When crushed tourmaline is added to the ceramics you get the benefit of gentle heat along with ionic conditioning. Heated tourmaline naturally emits negative ions for very positive results with your normal to thick hair.

Blow-Dryer Heat Technology Recommendations for Normal to Thick Hair: Ionic Technology


Medium Heat/Medium-to-High Speed for Efficiency and Control

You need heat and plenty of airflow to dry your abundant mane in time for…well, in time for life to proceed beyond the mirror. Damp spots and overdried patches are not an option. Technology, technique and the right tools will help tress-time become your time.

Normal hair can be treated well with medium heat settings. To move things along, try a higher speed at the beginning of the blow-dry to get the air flowing along your wet locks. Reduce the speed once styling begins.

Unless you have all day, a head of thick hair needs a medium heat setting with an occasional short blast of high heat. Air velocity is your friend while drying, so try the high-speed setting at the start. A dryer with variable warm-to-hot temperature settings, driven by mid-to-high wattage is best for you.

Recommended Minimum Settings for Normal and Thick Hair: Minimum of 3 heat and 2 speed settings. 1875 watts.

InfinitiPRO by Conair Black Titanium AC Motor Styling Tool (model 461R)

InfinitiPRO by Conair® Black Titanium AC Motor Styling Tool (461R)

Cool Shot Button to Give You Shiny Hair

Coarse and thick hair looks great when cooled at the final stage of drying. The best time to cool it down is when the hair is 75% to 85% dry. This is the point where most of the styling gets done and you run the greatest risk of overdrying your hair. Using a cool temperature eliminates that hazard.

Take advantage of the cool shot feature of your hair dryer by separating your tresses into chunks and giving each a shot from top to bottom while you style. If you've already completely dried and styled your hair, you can still get that top layer looking smooth by giving it a cooling once-over before you run out the door.

Look for a DC motor dryer with a Cool Shot button, or an AC motor dryer with a Cold Shot button. You'll see and feel the difference.

Conair Cord-Keeper® 2-in-1 Styler (223CR)

Conair Cord-Keeper® 2-in-1 Styler (223CR)

Concentrator Nozzle to Direct Heat and Airflow Where You Need It Most

A concentrator nozzle directs the heat and airflow exactly where you want it. It gives you precision and control.

Even thick and normal hair may need more volume. Aim the concentrator nozzle at the roots while lifting the hair and you'll see the boost. Found a damp spot but don't want to blow out the surrounding area? Use the concentrator nozzle to focus your drying to that one area.

Concentrator Nozzle for the Conair 1875-Watt Tourmaline Ceramic Chrome Dryer (295NP)

Concentrator Nozzle for the Conair 1875-Watt Tourmaline Ceramic Chrome Dryer (295NP)

Get the Best Hair Dryer for Thick Hair and Natural Styles

You have a wide variety of choices when shopping for a hair dryer. We think longevity should be a consideration along with the right features for your hair type. Even on a limited budget, you'll find many great Conair hair dryers with the elements you need to get dry and get style.

For more hairstyling insight, click over to Styling Tools and Tips for Thick Hair and Natural Styles.