The Revlon One-Step Volumizer Hair Dryer feels like a child’s idea of how a grown-up gets ready for work. It is an accessory from a Barbie dream home made life-size and then some: It has a round brush that plugs into an outlet, hot-pink accents, and a handle that is a few times as thick as a regular brush. It sucks in air through the bottom of the handle, heats it up somewhere inside, and blasts it out through vents alongside the bristles. After using it a couple times a week for six months, I can report that it works incredibly well at drying and taming my unruly hair—especially for something that costs $59.99, the price of one single blowout at Drybar in New York (plus tip).
Sophisticated-yet-practical people agree with me that the One-Step Volumizer—sorry, I swear this is not an infomercial—is a marvel. I first I learned about the brush/blow dryer from Forever 35, a podcast that has no problem recommending face serums that costs dozens of dollars an ounce. Reviewers have tested the One-Step Volumizer against the Dyson styler (a whopping $500, though it does also come with curling attachments) and found that hair looks either about as good or even better with the drugstore version. The Volumizer now has multiple look-alike knockoffs, as one YouTuber who swears by the device for shiny hair discovered. “This is the exact same thing,” she reported of one, aside from the fact that “it smells so weird.” The Volumizer is so brilliant it’s copyable.
The achievement of this thing is glaringly obvious: It combines the hot-air element of a blowout and the brush element of a blowout into one sleek tool. If you have frizzy hair, the brush element is key if you want to blow-dry your hair without making it into an even frizzier mess. (I know there are curly-frizzy-haired people who swear by diffuser attachments, but these also just make my own hair a frizzy mess.) As the brush pulls the hair taut, air blasts out causing it to dry in that position, somewhat straight. Though “blow-dry with a round brush” has been blithely dispensed by many a women’s mag and hairstylist, it requires a massive amount of two-handed coordination for a mortal to do properly, and it is harder to do on one’s own head. I have a physics degree and am medium-handy with tools; I have never been able to figure “blow-dry with a round brush” out to any results that I would want to leave the house with. Until I discovered the Volumizer, of course. Sometimes while I’m using it, I use the other hand to scroll through Twitter.
You might be tempted to get the sister version of the Volumizer, the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Styler, which looks more like a paddle brush, is easier to store or put in a suitcase because it’s not totally covered in bristles, and is cheaper. Don’t. (Yes, I bought both versions with my own money to experiment on my own time, before I had this assignment.) In my experience, it doesn’t grip hair very well, making it hard for the device to live up to the “Styler” portion of its name. Cue almost the same frizzy mess that a regular hair dryer engenders.
The one quip one may have is the Volumizer is that, while it doesn’t make hair mid-2000s-lifeless-straight, it’s not necessarily great at volumizing, as reviewers note. I have a ton of hair, so that’s good for me—the thing actually helps reduce the mess of space that it takes up. The Volumizer also will not generate a wave or curl, the way that a skilled “blow-dry with a round brush” practitioner can, which means that sometimes I stop mid–blow dry and put my hair in a bun so that it ultimately dries with more wave to it. But the Volumizer is not for participating in trends involving hair that artfully bends one way or another. It doesn’t make my hair crazy-shiny or make me feel like I’m in a shampoo commercial. It is for getting out the door looking basically polished, with minimal effort and cost. And at that, it is fantastic.
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