23 Feb 2005, 05:14:01 PM

Reporter: Natalie Bonjolo

They're our angels of the salon, and they're dangerous with a dryer - the secret weapon of every stylist. Stylist to the stars, Lee Preston says re-creating that 'salon look' at home, is easy IF you've got a good hair dryer.

"If you've been given a lovely hair cut from your stylist we're using professional tools, if we were to use the cheaper tools we wouldn't get the same result," she said."If your using a cheaper hair dryer that gets overheated too quickly or doesn't have enough power your not going to find your haircuts going to sit as well."

With so many dryers to chose from, not to mention added extra's more complicated than car parts, picking the right dryer for your 'do' can be difficult. Sheryl Dunbar and Debbie Dugan both lecture in hair dressing at TAFE. Between them, they've got fifty years experience in the industry.

"If you've got someone using a hair dryer once every three months or once every month they could go for something less expensive and less powerful," Sheryl said. "But someone that's using a blow dryer every day would need a good quality dryer."

We gave our three experts seven different models to test in the salon, ranging from $20 to $100. Our stylists don't know the cost of the dryers, but we ask them to score them out of ten, based on speed and heat settings, attachments, weight, and noise.

  • Tiffany's 'Simply Better' dryer, the cheapest of all the brands, at less than $20.

The dryer didn't impress any of our judges, who gave it a combined score of 9 out of 30. The experts claimed it was slow and loud. They also said it went from being hot to super hot too quickly.

  • Remmington's AeroElite $34.95, Sunbeam's Salon Technique $49.95, and Breville Avanti $59.95

The middle of the range dryers were all given middle of the road scores by our stylists. All agreed they were adequate, but didn't give enough control over the heat and speed of the blow dry.

The Remmington AeroElite received 13 out of 30.

The Sunbeam Salon Technique also got 13 out of 30.

The Breville Ananti scored 14 out of 30

  • Vidal Sassoon Valente $69.95, Vidal Sasson Dual Ionic $89.95, and Aria Cyclonic Turbo $99.95

Our stylists believed these three were the closest to what's used professionally in a salon. Lee and Sheryl both rated the Italian dryer Aria the highest, for its' range of easy to use settings.

The Vidal Sassoon Dual Ionic scored 20 out of 30.

The Vidal Sassoon Valente got 24 out of 30.

The Aria Cyclonic Turbo came in with 24.5 out of 30.

According to our experts, there are other essential features to look out for. Your dryer should always have a 'cool shot' button , to stop your hair holding heat and burning. And those added attachments actually do something, the nozzle giving you style shape. And the attachment that looks like a satellite dish actually helps you keep your curls looking natural. And like anything else in the beauty business, our stylists all agree, you get what you pay for.