Ionic hair dryer vs. non-ionic

Updated November 21, 2016

Ionic hair dryers claim to boost shine, save drying time and decrease frizz and fly-away strands of hair. There are technology differences between ionic hair dryers and their old-fashioned, non-ionic cousins as well as differences in performance.


Old-fashioned, non-ionic hair dryers work by simply heating air. Ionic hair dryers combine warmed air with negatively charged ions that are intended to shrink water molecules on the hair and lock in moisture.

Dry Time

Manufacturers of ionic hair dryers claim the dryers speed up drying time over non-ionic models due to the delivery of both warm air and negatively charged ions. However, in a study undertaken by the Good Housekeeping Institute, no significant difference in the drying time of ionic and non-ionic hair dryers was found.


Ionic hair dryer makers also claim to their dryers will boost shine because they use less heat and cause less damage. Most reviewers, including the Good Housekeeping Institute, agree that ionic hair dryers do boost shine more than the non-ionic models do.

Frizzy Hair

When there is more shine to the hair, there is naturally less frizziness because the hair shaft is smooth and flat. Most reviewers agree that ionic hair dryers create less frizzy and fly-away hair than non-ionic models.


Hair dryers come in a wide range of prices. Generally, ionic dryers are more expensive than non-ionic ones. "Good Housekeeping Magazine" compared several models and found that although some were as expensive as £195, its favourites were in the £13 to £16 range.

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