You read on a tablet. You text on a smart phone. You measure your sleep and steps with the latest wearable device. Your photos are in the cloud. Your plug-in car’s interior resembles a computer. Yet, you are drying your hair each day with a bulbous contraption that doesn’t look too different from the hair dryers you stowed under your sink in the Eighties. Some things have changed. You’ve ditched the Noxzema and Aqua Net that were its constant beauty companions. So, why haven’t you updated that flip-phone of a hair dryer?
Perhaps you haven’t had a compelling reason to switch it up. The darn things blows air after all, right? Well, you got rid of that unremarkable high school boyfriend because you could do better. You can probably find a better hair dryer, too. Hair dryer manufacturers are catching up to modern technology by adding touch screens to the bodies of their dryers. They might not be quite iPhone 6 material, but they are an improvement on the former dryer dinosaurs.
CHI, a hair appliances brand from Farouk Systems, has been a pioneer in hair dryer touch screens. It initially released a dryer boasting an LCD touch screen almost three years ago and is coming out in March with an enhanced version of the CHI Touch 2 that broke technology barriers in hair tools. It’s lighter and slimmer than previous designs. The touch screen has controls for temperature, speed and ionic output – a new feature – to reduce frizz and amplify shine.
“It is about personalizing the experience and making the technology work for you. Hair drying is supposed to be a quick thing. Nobody wants to do it all day,” says Nicky Molina, from Farouk Systems. She elaborates that people with thin hair can set the dryer to run for less time and lower heat than they might be accustomed to with analog dryers, while people with thicker hair can dial up the intensity to the levels that are precisely appropriate for their manes. The dryer will also save settings to make hair drying a predictable process day after day.
One of the drawbacks of touch screens is that they increase the expense of hair tools. Molina estimates CHI hair dryers with the technology are roughly $40 more than traditional dryers. The Touch 2 is $149.99. A touch screen-adorned EGO Professional hair dryer launching exclusively on QVC in February is priced at $198. The dryer allows users to push up or down speed, temperature and conditioning with the touch of a finger to achieve a desired look. A woman with short curly hair would place the temperature on medium, the speed on low and the conditioning on medium to get natural movement, for example.
Are the hair dryers with touch screens worth it? Nobody will judge you for settling for something that does its job. However, if you’re not one for settling, an upgrade is in order. And, unlike when you ditched your flip-phone for that jazzy cell phone you couldn’t wait to get your hands on, there are no contracts to break.