I traded my hair dryer for a hot air brush — and I’ve not looked back

The Revlon One-Step Volumizer Original Hair Dryer and Hot Air Brush
(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to styling our hair, we’re always looking for quick and convenient methods. That’s why we often rely on the traditional hair dryer and hair straighteners to get the job done promptly. Alternative tools have been introduced that promise the same convenience, but with salon-style results; the Dyson Airwrap is an example of this. However, it’s rare that such a performance can shake or replace our trusted appliances. But, one such tool did this for me, and I’ve been using it ever since. 

I tested the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer back in January 2022. While I was indeed impressed with the results, I never assumed it would take a permanent place in my vanity desk. But, the more I used it, the more I came to appreciate it. And now over a year later, I don’t even give my hair dryer a second glance. Here’s why. 

What is a hot air brush? 

A women drying and styling her hair using a hot air hair brush

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A hot air brush typically features a large, barrel-shaped brush head which vents hot air to dry and style your hair at the same time. You brush it through your damp hair to create both body and volume, while reducing frizz. Think of it as combining a low-powered hair dryer with a rounded brush. 

The idea of this appliance appealed to me from the start. I naturally have thin and frizzy hair. So, even if I use the nozzle attachment to direct and focus the hot air of a hair dryer, I look like a dandelion soon after it’s dried. If there was any way to style it that would last, while avoiding the heat damage of the straighteners, I was all for it. 

I’ve tried using other quick-fix solutions to control my hair, such as leave-in heated curlers and straightener brushes. But, these usually take too long to get successful results, especially when compared to my standard straighteners or curling tongs. I’ve also got access to the Dyson Airwrap, but even that takes its time, so it only comes out for special occasions.  

About the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer 

REVLON One-Step Volumizer Original 1.0 Hair Dryer and Hot Air Brush, Black

(Image credit: Amazon/REVLON)

I initially tested the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer due to its popularity alone. It was, and still is, widely searched for online — especially around the holidays as a potential gift. It’s often considered as a budget alternative to the Dyson Airwrap — although these aren't the same products by any standard. The Dyson Airwrap is capable of much more, including curling individual strands of hair.

The Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer is widely available online ($42, Amazon). In fact, it’s been so successful that new models have been released in varying sizes with additional heat settings. There’s even copycat brands with a very similar design. 

The model I tested is fairly simple and straightforward. There’s no additional accessories, such as a travel case — it’s literally just the brush, with three settings; cool, low and high, which you adjust using a wrap-around dial near the base. So all you need to do is plug it in, set the setting and start brushing, curling your hair in the way you want to style it.

Initial thoughts 

Drying hair with the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer

(Image credit: Future)

It admittedly took practice at first to style my hair with this tool, particularly to curl under the ends. I also noticed that one side often looked better than the other — a natural consequence of being right-handed. But, straight off the bat, it was much smoother and less frizzy after drying. And while my hair frizzed a little after I’d finished, it was nothing in comparison to how the hair dryer leaves me. 

I shower at night, so I sleep on my hair once dried and then straighten in the morning. But after using this hot air brush, the results were still visible the next day. The best way to describe the appearance is partially straightened, but with more body and a more natural finish.    

I initially switched back to my good old-fashioned hair dryer once I’d completed my review. There were a couple of reasons for this. First, this brush needed longer to dry the hair versus the hair dryer — for the Revlon brush, it was about three times as long. It was also more effort to style the hair as I dried it, versus blasting it with the dryer. 

But, when I stumbled on the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer again, and remembered the pleasing results, I decided to give it another go.

Why I left my hair dryer behind 

The Revlon One Step Hair Dryer on a cabinet next to a mirror

(Image credit: Future)

I realized that while the hair dryer was faster, it was costing me time to further style my hair with the straighteners the following morning. With the hot air brush, I could get away without straightening everyday, and not have to worry about the additional damage from styling.  

On top of this, the hot air brush is lighter and more maneuverable, so it doesn’t strain my arm so much during drying. Being a less-awkward shape, it’s also easier to store versus the hair dryer. And the more I’ve used it, the better I’ve become at styling my hair, creating an even appearance. 

There are some negatives to hot air brushes to be aware of though. While some designs may claim to reduce damage, it’s still applying heat to your hair, potentially more so than a hair dryer because your hair is in such close contact. Although, skipping the hair straighteners will save some damage too, so this problem depends on your routine as well as the exposure — you can use lower settings for a more gentle application. So far, my hair has shown no extra damage versus my original method, so for myself, there’s little difference.  

But, one thing to note is that this hot air brush won’t completely dry your roots in use, not to the extent that a hair dryer can. This is only natural when you consider its drying method. Even when I directly brush over the roots, there’s a dampness which remains. This hasn't been too noticeable over the hot summer, but I may have to switch back to the hair dryer over the winter when the temperature drops.

Ultimately, it’s nice to skip the straightening routine once in a while. Of course, if I need polka-straight results, my trusty tools still come out. But, a hot air brush provides a natural and yet styled look which the hair dryer just can’t achieve, not as easily in any case. This tool suits my hair type, but I appreciate that because of the time it takes it won’t work for everyone. Those with especially thick or long hair might not have the patience.

More from Tom's Guide

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.