What Is An Ionic Hair Dryer?

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Just about everyone has used a hair dryer – a device that blows out hot air to help dry hair faster. The recent addition of ionic technology in hair dryers has become a game-changer. But what does this mean? What is an ionic hair dryer, anyway?

If you’re in the market for a new hairdryer, the choices out there can be overwhelming.

In this article, we are going to explain the ionic technology behind ionic hair dryers, the difference between hair dryers, and talk about the safety concerns.


What is an Ionic Hair Dryer?

T3 Cura Hair Dryer

An ionic hair dryer (like the T3 Cura Hair Dryer shown above) produces negative ions. The negative ions flowing through the hair results in a much gentler and faster blow-drying session.

Some dryers even claim to cut drying time by half!

These negative ions also prevent your hair from going frizzy by closing the cuticle to lock in moisture. This makes the finish sleeker and more polished-looking while not drying out the moisture your hair should naturally have.

Here are a few popular ionic hair dryers.

What is the Difference Between an Ionic Hair Dryer and a Regular One?

The difference between an ionic hair dryer and a traditional hairdryer is that ionic hair dryers produce negatively-charged ions. These ions break down the positively-charged water molecules which allow hair to dry faster.

Ionic hair dryers lock in moisture and use less heat than a standard blow dryer. Less drying time and less heat mean less heat damage to your hair. 

See Ionic vs Regular Hair Dryer for more details.

What’s the Difference Between an Ionic and a Tourmaline Hair Dryer?

While researching ionic hair dryers, you’ve no doubt come across tourmaline hair dryers. Both Tourmaline and ionic hair dryers use negatively charged ions to dry hair faster, and both are less likely to cause heat damage than a regular blow dryer.

So what’s the difference? 

The main difference is that tourmaline hair dryers also contain tourmaline, which is a semi-precious stone, built into the components. Cool.

The tourmaline not only produces negatively charged ions but also infrared heat as well. The infrared heat penetrates the hair without warming the exterior of the shaft. Infrared heat dries the hair from within.

This results in less hair damage from the heat.

This is all fine and well, but up-market tourmaline hair dryers can be much more expensive  due to the use of the semi-precious stone in its components.

Both tourmaline and ionic are known to be gentler and faster at drying than a standard blow dryer.

But the budget is usually a concern for most people, so the tourmaline dryer, though even less damaging, also tends to be more expensive.

Is an Ionic Hair Dryer Good for Fine Hair?

Ionic hair dryers are great at preventing frizz. If you have fine hair that tends to be on the dry side, then an ionic dryer is the perfect choice.

However, if you have oily or limp hair, the smoothing effect may leave your hair flat and encourage oils to travel down the strands, so you may want to opt for a non-ionic blow dryer.

Are Ionic Hair Dryers Bad for Your Health?

Like a lot of electronic devices we use, from cell phones, electric razors, and radios to computers, laptops, and tablets, all emit an electromagnetic field. This also holds true for ionic (as well as regular) hair dryers.

What’s important to note is that EMFs are generally classified into 2 categories – High-frequency EMFs and low-frequency EMFs.

The high-frequency EMFs, or ionizing radiation, have a shorter wavelength and higher frequency waves. These short-wavelength waves can penetrate our bodies. This type of radiation exposure can result in DNA and cell damage and cancer.

This ionizing radiation is emitted at low levels by things like X-Ray machines, CT scanners, etc. This is why technicians who operate these devices usually do so from another room.

Repeated exposure to even low levels of ionizing radiation from conducting these scans is dangerous. 

Other sources of high-frequency EMFs include gamma radiation from radioactive elements and UV radiation from either tanning beds or the sun.

Because it is called “ionizing” radiation, it’s easy to see why a lot of people might be concerned that ionic hair dryers produce high-frequency EMFs.

They do not.

Ionic hair dryers produce non-ionizing radiation (just like a normal hairdryer), otherwise known as low-frequency EMFs.

Low-frequency EMFs, on the other hand, which are emitted by the electrical devices we use every day, are non-ionizing radiation and can be generated by a variety of sources, including power lines, electrical wiring, and personal appliances like electric shavers, hairdryers, and electric blankets. Low-frequency EMFs are considered to be safe.

While most researchers don’t believe low levels of low frequency EMFs, or non-ionizing radiation, is dangerous, there are still some scientists who question the safety of long-term exposure.

There is growing concern around EMFs being particularly dangerous for young children. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns, “There is reason for concern” and advises “prudent avoidance.”

The US Food and Drug Administration, has noted that small children should avoid these electromagnetic fields.

See our article on Ionic Hair Dryer Dangers for more information.

Low EMF Ionic Hair Dryers

To address the growing concerns of the possible dangers of EMF exposure, you can now find Low EMF hair dryers which use ion technology.

In Summary

So to answer the question – what is an ionic hair dryer? – an Ionic hairdryer uses negatively charged ions to break down water molecules. This design offers a faster drying time with less frizz.

It’s a fantastic alternative to a regular blow dryer that evaporates water with heat, which is what can cause hair damage. 

However with research into low frequency EMF still ongoing. And though exposure to low levels of low-frequency EMFs has been deemed relatively safe for adults, young children may be potentially more susceptible to low-frequency EMFs.

If this is a concern for you, you can opt for a low EMF hair dryer.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).