Tourmaline hairdryers are a popular styling tool. These hairdryers are considered to be better for the hair than standard dryers because they use negative ions and infrared heat to zap moisture from the tresses. Due to their popularity, tourmaline dryers are available at a range of price points.
A tourmaline hairdryer contains internal components that are infused with tourmaline, a precious stone hailed for its ion-emitting and infrared-generating properties. Tourmaline is crushed into microscopic bits and infused into the materials that make up the dryer's internal parts. Some brands infuse the motor with tourmaline bits; other high-end brands infuse all of the dryer's parts with tourmaline, even encasing the dryer's exterior body in a tourmaline coating.
When the dryer is powered on, the tourmaline in the internal mechanisms naturally emits a constant stream of negative ions and infrared heat, which are distributed to the hair shaft as they are forced out of the dryer's nozzle.
One of the main benefits of tourmaline dryers is that they are less damaging to the hair. Heat styling can take its toll on the hair shaft. When drying hair, the constant forced heat on the hair can cause strands to weaken, leaving them more prone to breakage. High heat also roughs up the cuticle of the hair shaft, resulting in dull-looking hair. Tourmaline dryers emit negative ions, which break down water molecules at a faster pace. This results in the hair being exposed to damaging heat for a shorter time, leaving it less vulnerable to damage.
Negative ions also close the cuticle of the hair, resulting in shinier locks. Heat makes the cuticle more porous, giving hair a rough, almost frizzy effect; negative ions smooth out the cuticle so that hair lays flatter, appears smoother, and is shinier. Blasting hair with the cool-shot button on the dryer once all hair is dry also helps to close the cuticle.
Tourmaline dryers operate in a different manner than standard dryers. They use infrared heat, which penetrates the hair shaft to dry hair from within. Infrared heat does not warm the exterior of the hair shaft, resulting in less surface damage. You may not notice a difference because infrared heat travels deep into the hair, making hair feel hot to the touch, as it does with a standard hairdryer.
Price and Performance
Tourmaline dryers can run very expensive. The average price for a high-end tourmaline hairdryer is around $200. However, in 2007 "Good Housekeeping" magazine conducted an independent study that pitted a $20 tourmaline dryer against its $200 counterpart. The study found that the $20 dryer outperformed the $200 model, due to its fast drying time and lightweight feel. The study confirms that not all high-performing tourmaline dryers are pricey; you can still get a great model for a small price tag.