I never used a hair dryer growing up. The mild weather of the Bay Area and a succession of low maintenance hair styles made such a gadget unnecessary. But once I moved to the east coast, frigid temperatures (and an increasing awareness of general grooming needs) forced me to join the hair dryer-wielding masses.
So for years I used whatever $29.99 Conair-type model the local drugstore offered up, and they always seemed to work perfectly fine. They'd break after a year or two, and my hair was never as smooth and shiny as the hair stylist would make it, but nothing lasts forever and hair stylists make hair smooth and shiny for a living, which I do not so I figured this was just the natural order of things.
After I moved to New York, I was lucky enough to meet Nikki, the most wonderful hair stylist/colorist that has ever lived. Since moving here from England several years ago, she has always worked at salons that are far, far out of my price range, but because she is a friend of a friend of a friend, she keeps me as a private client. Now this may sound very glamorous, but in reality it just means that either she comes to my apartment or I go to hers and I pay her far, far less than her salon would charge. In exchange for the discount I have to wash my hair in the kitchen sink and sweep up my own hair. But no matter, we have a good time and I am loving my hair once she's done.
Anyway, one night she came over to cut and color my lovely locks and forgot her hair dryer, which meant that she had to use my pathetic excuse for one. And lo and behold, once dry, my hair looked as if it had been blown out by me, not by the talented professional that Nikki is. So all this time it was my hair dryer, not me?!!
I felt tremendously vindicated, and immediately went online to do some professional hair dryer research. After a bit of searching, I settled on the Super Solano 232.
I think I paid about $60 for it at the time (the lowest price I can find now is $71.99 here) and I swear it is the best $60 I've ever spent. Four years later, the power of this thing is undiminished, and if I take the twenty minutes or so that it takes to do a good blowout, I am always rewarded with smooth, phenomenally shiny hair. And you know how people rave about blowouts that last for three days? Well, with the Super Solano in my arsenal, that's mine.