Hello and welcome back to “What’s Utibe Doing To Her Hair Now?” If you’re just tuning into the trials and tribulations of getting my hair exactly how I like it, so far I’ve tried cornrows, box braids, Senegalese twists, and even cut off a couple inches all in the pursuit of healthier, lower-maintenance hair. And during my last trim with Illeisha Lussiano at The Way Salon, another grand idea was brought to my attention: the blowout.
Historically, I just plain suck at blow-drying natural hair. To master its art is to ace an ambidextrous feat of detangling, then combing again through damp (but not too damp!) hair while chasing the comb with a flaming blow torch blowdryer in little sections… then repeat. In short, it’s better left to pros like Illeisha, who did exactly that before going in with her scissors. When she was done, we had to pause for a solid five minutes so I could take mirror selfies up the wazoo. My hair blown alllll the way out was diffused, stretched, and voluminous––a 2017-Solange-meets-‘80s-Diana-Ross fever dream in just 30 minutes. But after the trim, I had Illeisha give me some fresh straightbacks. I knew I couldn’t maintain that blow dried fantasy on my own.
Then I met Revlon’s One Step Paddle Dryer. (Or should I say, watched it take YouTube by storm and immediately called it in to try.) The One Step gets straight to the point: choose a decently detangled section, thrown on some heat protectant (Iles is great), then run the paddle brush from the root of your section to the tip. After a couple passes, the hot air that flows through the ceramic paddle brush leaves my hair fluffed and stretched. It’s cut the time it takes to blowdry my hair—a mix of fine, thick 4b and 4c coils—in half, and then some. Did I mention the thing is only 40 bucks?
The One Step gives me an easy, polished hairstyle that doesn’t take hours to produce, and I’m happy with that. But I’ve since experimented with other similar dryers, and if I want to take it up a notch, Amika’s Straightening Brush and Eva’s Healthy Heat Straightening Brush can get my hair a little straighter. On not damp, moisturized hair or on a blow-dry that’s a couple days old, their paddle brushes detangle and straighten with ease, but not so much that my hair’s left lifeless—the look is closer to When I Get Home than A Seat at the Table. You get what I mean.
Shop Utibe’s favorite paddle dryers:
Photo via ITG