Updated May 02, 2019 by Lydia Chipman

The 10 Best Bonnet Dryers

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This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in June of 2015. Whether you're battling bedhead at home or resent paying an arm and a leg for the privilege of a "scalp massage" in a fancy salon, a dryer hood or soft bonnet is the secret to achieving professional results on a wide range of hair types from the comfort of your own bedroom or bathroom. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best bonnet dryer on Amazon.

10. Conair Pro Style Collapsible

9. Hot Tools Tourmaline

8. Pro Styler by Conair

7. Laila Ali Ionic

6. Pibbs Kwik Dri

5. Highland Venus Plus

4. SalonPro Orbiting Infrared

3. Babyliss Pro Rollabout

2. Hair Flair Deluxe Softhood

1. Pibbs Lamp

What Is A Bonnet Dryer And Why Do You Need One?

They can also help the hair take up color enhancements, letting highlights appear brighter.

Many people have seen bonnet dryers in professional hair salons but didn't realize they could have the same device in their home. A bonnet dryer consists of a large hood that sits over the hair, covering the entire head so it can evenly distribute heat. One of the biggest differences between bonnet and hand-held dryers, though, is the fact that the former gently circulates air, while the latter sends out strong blasts of it. This is not only better for one's scalp, but also increases the longevity of the product.

Bonnet dryers are not only used to dry the hair, they can also be used to help certain treatments. They help the hair better absorb deep conditioners and oil treatments, leaving your locks extra healthy and shiny. They can also help the hair take up color enhancements, letting highlights appear brighter. Since these appliances can be put on lower heat settings, they can minimize hair damage from drying, too.

One study on hair cosmetics found that because the actual heating element of bonnet dryers sits a certain distance away from the scalp, it is one of the safer methods of drying. Unlike hand-held models, bonnet dryers leave the user with full use of their hands, so they can read, type on their laptop or do other tasks while waiting for their hair to be ready. Even if the user does nothing at all while sitting under their bonnet dryer, that is better than putting continuous strain on their arm, the way they would with a hand-held model. Bonnet dryers have also been shown to reduce hair frizz more effectively than hand-held varieties, and are gentler on chemically over-processed hair.

Additional Features To Look For

If you are using your bonnet dryer to help curls set, make sure the hood is large enough to fit the rollers, while still leaving space between the heating element and your head. It's also important that the unit has a highly flexible arm, so you can adjust it to different heights, allowing you to sit on almost any surface in your home.

For ultimate versatility, look for a long and flexible air hose, so you can plug your dryer in almost anywhere you like.

Some bonnet dryers attach directly to your existing hand dryer; simply connect the hose of the bonnet model to the nozzle of the hand-held model, and the heat from the latter will be directed up into the hood. These will usually be soft bonnet dryers, in which the hood is made from non-slip silicone, and covers the entire head, staying in place via a chin strap. Soft varieties are also more compact than the plastic ones since they can compress to be nearly flat when not in use.

The thicker the hair one has, the higher the wattage they will need in their dryer so as to speed up the process. People who struggle with dry, frizzy or brittle hair know how damaging hair dryers can be. In 2000, one inventor made a hair dryer that used a negative ion generator and a corona discharger to reduce frizz. Many bonnet dryers utilize this same technology. For ultimate versatility, look for a long and flexible air hose, so you can plug your dryer in almost anywhere you like.

If you plan on using your dryer to help treatments set, make sure it's made from chemical-resistant materials; this is safer for both the dryer and the user. Another important safety feature is the timer; many bonnet dryers allow you to set a cycle from anywhere between zero and 60 minutes, to make sure you don't accidentally overheat the machine, or damage your hair.

The History Of The Hair Dryer

Before hair dryers were invented, women had to be quite inventive if they didn't have the patience for hair to dry. Some women took to attaching a hose to the exhaust of their vacuum cleaners and using the clean air that came from here to dry their hair. In 1888, the French inventor Alexandre-Ferdinand Godefroy created the most primitive version of a hair dryer. His instructions stated the device could be connected to any type of heater, and it would send heat through a pipe, into a dome that sat over a person's head. Godefroy's dryer had an escape valve that let steam out, too, so the user's head would not overheat.

Even though Armenian American inventor Gabriel Kazanjian invented a hand-held blow-dryer in 1911, between the 1920s and 1960s, hair salons everywhere were purchasing Godefroy's design. However, the first dryers were very large and noisy and could take up to an hour to fully dry hair. During the 1930s, some salons turned to gas dryers, but these created too many fumes and were very damaging to hair. Eventually, salon owner Robert Hoffman developed an electric hair drying system, which became the standard for salons until around the 1950s.

Bonnet hair dryers were some of the first models designed specifically for at-home use. The original models used a plastic cap that sat over the head and a hose that attached to a suitcase style machine, which generated the heat and air.

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Lydia Chipman
Last updated on May 02, 2019 by Lydia Chipman

An itinerant wordsmith with a broad constellation of interests, Lydia Chipman has turned iconoclasm into a livelihood of sorts. Bearing the scars and stripes of an uncommon diversity of experience -- with the notable exceptions of joining a religious order or becoming an artist -- she still can’t resist the temptation to learn something new. Lydia holds a master of arts in English from Georgia Southern University, and a bachelor of arts cum laude in integrative studies from Clayton College. Her expertise is in the areas of robotics, electronics, toys, and outdoors and computer equipment.

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