Review: DryBar's Buttercup Blow Dryer

About two months ago, I laid my beloved CHI Blow Dryer to rest. I had purchased it at ULTA years ago, and out of the blue one day, it just completely stopped blowing hot air. In fairness, it had been doing this intermittently for a while, but then the hot air would only stop functioning for a few seconds, so it was easy to put up with. This time, no matter how much I jiggered the cord, all I got was an icy blast. I even tried to blow dry my hair with just the cold air at first, but after I froze myself for a few minutes and realized my hair was no closer to being dry, I gave up, tossed my hair into a bun and tossed the dryer into the trash.

As luck should have it, just as I sat down to check my email, I saw that Sephora was on their last day of a double points promotion for Beauty Insiders, and I recalled that my best friend had recently purchased and enjoyed the DryBar Buttercup blow dryer. After a quick read-up of the Sephora.com Reviews section, I put on my sandals, walked to Sephora and picked one up.

I'll admit that at first the $195 price point made my jaw drop. Is it just me or do professional blow dryers just get more and more expensive? I had spent a few minutes walking around the store to see what else they offered, but to be frank, there really wasn't much of a selection and everything else I did see was even more expensive than the Buttercup. Thankfully, I know that Sephora has an excellent return policy, so I knew I could try the dryer over a couple of weeks and bring it back for a full refund if it didn't work for me.

So what does DryBar claim this dryer will do? 

First, they claim that it contains Bio Ionic technology, which they say leaves hair smooth, hydrated and shiny. They also claim that the 1875 watt motor will get you a quick dry, that conditioning "nano beads" will seal the cuticle leaving hair silky, smooth and frizz-free, and finally, that it will deodorize your hair, again thanks to the "negative ions."

And how does it perform?

Let's start with the pros: this baby definitely dries your hair fast! It was clearly more powerful than my old CHI dryer, and I feel like it cuts my drying time by at least 25%. I think something you have to deal with in order to get the fast drying time is the noise, because powering that fast of a motor does leave you with a bit of a loud instrument. Personally, that doesn't bother me at all, but it's something you should note, in case you're sensitive.

Now we've got the cons: Honestly, I don't notice a whole heck of a difference in spite of all the Bio Ionic, nano bead, marketing babble. My hair is naturally wavy, and while the individual strands are fine, I have a lot of them. Because my texture is more coarse, the only way I really achieve shine is with a) a professional blow dry at the salon or b) when I flat iron my hair. Although you could argue that this blow dryer made an eensy weeny improvement in the shine or smoothness of my hair, you could also argue that it had more to do with how long I left my conditioner in or what styling products I used on a particular day.

I can certainly say that my hair didn't feel any more "hydrated" after blow drying. This is probably the claim I find the hardest to believe, because I think we all know that heat styling dries out your hair, rather than adding moisture back in.

In truth, I don't knock DryBar specifically for any of these claims, because I feel like ALL blow dryer manufacturers make these crazy statements about how their dryer is going to be so different from all the rest and make your hair look like a model's, when frankly, not a single blow dryer I've ever tried has actually transformed my hair into something it's not. I just don't believe it can happen!

That said, there are some great additional features that DryBar doesn't actively promote on the packaging, but that would sell me on the dryer more than all the ionic b.s.

Firstly, it's lightweight, and these days, that's a hard thing to find! I have no problem holding the dryer over my head for lengthy periods of time. Secondly, it has a "cold blast" button that you don't have to hold down! Just press it in, and it will continue to deliver you cold air until you're ready. Press it again, and you're back to hot in a moment's notice. Finally, the dryer has lots of different settings so you can customize to your preferences - in addition to two power/speed settings (pretty standard), it also has a low, medium and high heat setting. I personally only use the high heat setting because the others really don't feel that hot, but it's nice to have options.

Have we talked yet about the fact that this dryer is yellow?! I kind of love the fun, unexpected pop of color, and I'll admit that it makes me happy every time I pull it out of the cupboard.

The dryer also comes with two nozzles, a wide one and a narrow one, based on the style that you're trying to achieve. The narrow one, in particular, is called out as being great for styling bangs.

Finally, it has a 9-foot cord, which you could consider to be a good thing or a bad thing, based on how far you need it to stretch/how much it gets in the way in a small space.

Overall, do I think it's worth $200? Hard to say at this point. I think the price really comes into play over time. I've purchased cheap blow dryers before and have found that they either don't provide enough power, actually do make my hair more frizzy or just poop out in a matter of months. So as long as I can get a few years out of this baby, I'll consider it a purchase well made.

Have you used the DryBar Buttercup? Do you have another favorite hair dryer? Let me know in the comments section below!

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