The 13 Best Hair Diffusers For Curly Hair, Tested and Reviewed by Editors

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Updated January 29th, 2024: This article on the best diffusers for curly hair was updated with editor testing review notes after a thorough round of product testing, as well as more tips on how to style hair with a hair diffuser.

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Members of the curly hair club know that ringlets, coils, and curls require special treatment to look fresh and bouncy day in, day out. Of all the hair styling tools in your kit, a diffuser for curly hair is the most essential. With one of the best diffusers for curly hair, you can speed up your drying time without dealing with frizz or flat pieces.

But what does a hair diffuser do? According to our experts, exactly what the name suggests: Hair diffusers disperse a hair dryer’s airflow across a wide surface area to deliver gentler heat that dries your strands without flattening your natural texture. Most hair diffusers are pronged, bowl-shaped attachments that click onto the nozzle of your best hair dryer. Others, like hand diffusers and hooded diffusers, are dedicated solely for diffusing curly hair and are not compatible with other attachments. “A diffuser is a great tool to help maintain your natural hair pattern and helps control frizz, leaving you with a gorgeous texture,” says celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons. The best hair diffusers easily work for all curl types, from the gentlest type 2 waves to the type 4 coils.

All curl patterns are different, so just like hair dryers for curly hair, the best diffusers for curly hair are not one-size-fits-all. Selecting the best hair diffuser for your curl pattern requires some research and consideration: Think about how you wear your hair on a daily basis, how often you dry it, and what type of result you’re after.

For everything you need to know about hair diffusers and other key curly hair products, we asked celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons and natural hair experts Kamara Brown and Erinn Courtney to get a complete breakdown on hair diffusers, as well as their picks for the best hair diffusers out there. Equipped with their expert input, we set out to test 24 top-rated hair diffusers — the very best are below.

Top Hair Diffusers of 2024

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Related:
Best Co-washes for Curly Hair
Best Hair Gels
Best Heatless Curlers

Testing Verdict: Top 3 Diffusers for Curly Hair of 2024

Hair diffusers for curly hair come in various shapes — from bowl diffusers to hooded hair dryers and beyond. Standard bowl diffusers are the most popular choice, but even these types of hair diffusers vary with different bowl depths and prong lengths. The diffuser that’s right for your curls is a combination of all of these details, as some are better for different hair thicknesses, lengths, and curl patterns. For these reasons, our panel of testers selected three of the best hair diffusers for curly hair versus one best overall.

  • Ouidad Made For Curls 3-in-1 Universal Diffuser: An editor favorite after extensive testing in the category, Ouidad’s diffuser is an adjustable pick that created gorgeous results on testers with short, fine hair and long, thick hair. It also created tousled texture on wavy hair while defining and separating the tightest of type 4c curls. It stands out for its two inserts that adjust the bowl depth and prong length, as well as its oval design that’s easier to store and travel with than a standard round diffuser.

  • DevaCurl Devafuser Universal Hair Diffuser: The unique hand shape of this Devacurl diffuser is a game changer for all curl patterns. Rather than carefully sectioning your hair to scoop up portions into a bowl diffuser, this option lets you loosely gather the ends of your hair without too much handiwork. This top-rated hair diffuser is also a great choice for drying the mid-lengths of long hair, as you can lightly press the diffuser against your strands to lift and dry hair without disrupting its natural texture.

  • InfinitPro By Conair 1875 Pro Hair Dryer With Diffuser Attachment: Looking for the best hair dryer with a diffuser included? Go with this budget-friendly InfitiPro by Conair option. It’s top-rated on Amazon — and earned high marks from our testers — for its efficient, quick-drying time and no-frills design. The diffuser’s lengthy prongs and shallow bowl depth created an air-dried, frizz-free look for our testers.

13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

EDITOR'S CHOICE

Ouidad Made For Curls 3-in-1 Universal Diffuser

Type: Bowl diffuser
Compatible with: Most commercial hair dryers with barrel diameters measuring 1.77 inches to 2.16 inches
Special features: Includes two diffuser inserts for short and long hair
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

$47.53

Buy Now AT AMAZON

Ouidad’s Hair Diffuser comes with two bowl inserts that allow you to adjust the depth and prong length: This feature makes the diffuser attachment compatible with hair textures ranging from fine, short curls to long, thick coils. Most diffusers are best suited to attach to dryers with a two-inch nozzle, but this one fits smaller nozzles, so you can attach it to your favorite travel hair dryer. The oval shape is less bulky to throw in a weekender bag, too.

Editor testing and review notes: “The unique oval shape of this hair diffuser is surprisingly ergonomic for working around your hair — it gathers more hair than round options for faster styling. I use the deeper bowl insert for the lengths of my hair and switch over to the shallow, longer prongs when I want more volume at the roots or need a touch-up on the mid-lengths of my hair. My only qualm is that it can feel a little heavy on a hair dryer, however the tool doesn’t fall off the dryer mid-use thanks to the grippy silicone nozzle attachment.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $47.53


13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

BEST DIFFUSER FOR SHORT CURLY HAIR

DevaCurl Devafuser Universal Hair Diffuser

Type: Hand diffuser
Compatible with: Most commercial hair dryers with barrel diameters measuring 2 to 2 1/2 inches
Special features: Unique shape allows for easy drying on the back of your head and close to your roots
Dermstore Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.4/5 stars

$55

Buy Now at dermstore

Fitzsimons picks Devacurl’s Devafuser Universal Diffuser for short curly hair because of its lack of prongs. Without prongs, he explains, this best hair diffuser for curly hair is easier to grip onto shorter strands for an even blow-dry. It also provides 360-degree airflow to surround curls so that you cut down your drying time, while preserving moisture in hair and enhancing its shine. As an added bonus, its heat resistant and will fit most dryers — it features an expandable band at the base that secures the diffuser in place.

Editor testing and review notes: “If you’re accustomed to a bowl diffuser, this hand-shaped format will take a second to get used to: Rather than gathering your hair into the well of a diffuser, you simply press the tool against your hair and scrunch it up towards your scalp. I found the tool intuitive to use and loved how it shaped my curls without creating frizz. It’s particularly great for those who want definition without a ton of added volume.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $189


13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

BEST HAIR DRYER WITH DIFFUSER

InfinitPro By Conair 1875 Pro Hair Dryer With Diffuser Attachment

Type: Bowl diffuser
Compatible with: Included InfinitiPro by Conair 1875 hair dryer
Special features: Long prongs with venting
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

$32.99 $46.99 30% off

Buy Now at amazon

InfinitiPro by Conair is one of my favorite diffusers for all curl types,” says Fitzsimons. “It applies gentle and even heat to your curls leaving them gorgeous and frizz-free.” You’re also able to choose a cooling air option which Fitzsimons says will help lock curls instantly. Easy to use and at a pretty great price, it doesn’t get much better than that. 

Editor testing and review notes: “If you’re searching for a simple hair dryer that comes with a diffuser, Conair’s beat out the competitors during testing. This duo feels like a $150 dryer in the hand — it has a matte finish material that’s easy to grip, features three heat and three airflow settings, and securely holds the included diffuser no matter what angle you’re using the tool while styling. The long prongs and shallow bowl give curls definition without overly scrunching them, so you’ll get a pretty, air-dried look.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $32.99


13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

BEST HAIR DRYER WITH DIFFUSER

Pattern The Blow Dryer With Hair Diffuser

Type: Multiple
Compatible with: Included Pattern hair dryer
Special features: Very lightweight
Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

$189

Buy Now at ulta

Tracee Ellis Ross’ hair care line, Pattern, puts curly girls first. After two years of development, Pattern’s The Blow Dryer launched in January 2023. Unlike most hair dryers that include only one attachment for curly hair, each of the four attachments in this blow dryer are specifically designed to uplift your curls. The bowl diffuser features aluminum plates that heat up to expedite your dry time. And the comb attachment helps detangle without flattening out your ringlets. If you’re looking to stretch or smooth your curls, the dryer has two attachments that’ll do the trick as well as the best hair dryer brushes out there.

Editor testing and review notes: “After testing Pattern’s hair dryer, I can assure you that curly girls will love the diffuser attachment — and every attachment option included. I found myself rotating between each one on my curly hair for different styling results, whether it’s the wide-tooth comb that detangles while drying or the bowl diffuser that gives my curls major bounce. Yes, the attachments are genius, but the hair dryer itself is, too. The heat and airflow settings cater to curly hair — I love that I have the option to use low, gentle heat with the diffuser to dry your curls without blasting them through the roof.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $189


13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

BEST TRAVEL HAIR DIFFUSER

HairiZone Universal Hair Diffuser

Type: Bowl diffuser
Compatible with: Most commercial hair dryers with nozzles between 1.7 to 2.6 inches
Special features: Includes short and medium prongs
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

$25 $32 22% off

Buy Now at amazon

Do you have a dryer that didn’t come with an attachment? No problem. One of the best universal diffusers is one of Brown’s selections, the HairiZone Universal Hair Diffuser. She says it’s adaptable for about 90 perfect different types of blow dryers. This best diffuser for curly hair is a great option for taking on the road — although it’s larger than other options, it’ll connect with most standard hair dryers, as well as the ones you encounter at hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Editor testing and review notes: “Many hair diffusers require you to wiggle the diffuser onto the nozzle of the hair dryer and hope for the best. HairiZone’s features an attachment mechanism that allows you to click the diffuser on securely with buttons that lock it into place. Note that the combination of a shallow bowl and short prongs make this option best for thin to medium-thick hair types — those with thick hair will require extra passes that prolong the drying time.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $25


13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

Shark Beauty Shark Speedstyle DefrizzFast Diffuser

Type: Bowl diffuser
Compatible with: Shark SpeedStyle Hair Dryer
Special features: Includes adjustable prongs
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Sephora Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

$29

Buy Now at amazon

$29

Buy Now at sephora

Shark Beauty’s hair tools are all the rage for their affordable prices and luxury details. The genius of this diffuser for curly hair is its adjustable design: The prongs are extendable with the flick of a built-in lever, so you have a short- and long-pronged diffuser that work across hair lengths and thicknesses. The DefrizzFast Diffuser is compatible with the editor-approved Shark SpeedStyle hair dryer that’s both travel-friendly and high-powered for quick at-home styling on the daily.

Editor testing and review notes: “The DefrizzFast diffuser won top marks during my testing for its smooth, luxury feel — this one will never fall off of your hair dryer due the grooves that lock the attachment into the dryer’s nozzle. Some of the diffusers with extendable prongs I tested wouldn’t extend or retract evenly, but this one transitions between the two settings like butter. I noticed some overheating during a longer styling session, so definitely stick to low heat when you’re using it.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $29

Related:
Shark FlexStyle Review
Shark SmoothStyle Review 


13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

BEST BUDGET DIFFUSER

Conair Volumizing Diffuser

Type: Bowl diffuser
Compatible with: Hair dryers with nozzles ranging from 1.7 to 2.3 inches in diameter
Special features: Shallow bowl shape and long prongs make it particularly well suited for shorter curly hair types
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

$11.99

Buy Now at amazon

For those looking for a budget-friendly option, Fitzsimons suggests the Conair Volumizing Diffuser, which he says, “will give you stunning, sculpted curls for about $10.” It’s great for all curl types and will help cut down on frizzy flyaways. It’s currently the top-rated diffuser for curly hair on Amazon, with over 10,000 five-star testing reviews. Plus, it fits with most hair dryers. 

Editor testing and review notes: “This no-frills hair diffuser gives major bang for your buck: It easily and securely attached to five different hair dryers during testing and features mid-length prongs that work across short to long and fine to thick curl types. For the price, I was expecting inexpensive materials, but this Conair diffuser felt sturdy and well-made in the hand. It sustained a few drops during testing without breaking or malfunctioning the next time I used it.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $11.99


13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

BEST SPLURGE DIFFUSER

Dyson Gentle Air Attachment

Compatible with: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
Special features: Emits a cooler airflow than alternatives to prevent heat damage
Nordstrom Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

$39.99

Buy Now at Nordstrom

Brown, Courtney, and Fitzsimons all agree: Dyson’s Supersonic Hair Dryer is the best splurge-worthy hair dryer. The dryer itself is a favorite for many, and some configurations come with the Gentle Air diffuser attachment, which Fitzsimons says will get you salon-quality curls. Brown adds that the dryer diffuser is lightweight and extra quiet, making it ideal for anyone with lots of curls. While it’s a pricey option if you don’t currently own a Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, Courtney says the powerful dryer and diffuser give a flow of concentrated heat that can set any curl in a matter of minutes, making it worth every single penny.

Editor testing and review notes: “If frizz is your number one foe, Dyson’s Gentle Air attachment is the diffuser for you. The attachment slows down the device’s high airflow speed while dispersing it, lending a windblown look you might get after a dip in the ocean. It’s also an excellent gentle option for sensitive scalps or damage-prone hair, thanks to the brand’s proprietary technology that dries hair without scalding the cuticle of your hair — you’ll get less frizz and flyaways immediately and in the long run.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $39.99


13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

BEST DIFFUSER FOR LONG CURLY HAIR

T3 SoftTouch 3 Hair Diffuser

Type: Bowl diffuser
Compatible with: T3 Aireluxe Hair Dryer
Special features: Two prong sizes and plenty of venting
Sephora Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
Saks Fifth Avenue Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4/5 stars

Buy Now at sephora $30

$30

Buy Now at SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

The T3 Soft Curl diffuser is one of Fitzsimons’s go-tos for long curly hair. Elongated prongs, he explains, are best suited for hair that is medium length or longer. Here, you’ll get vented finger extensions that distribute heat evenly and gently so that you get volume, body, and a faster drying time. You’ll also notice your hair looking super shiny and frizz-free with this best diffuser for curly hair.

Editor testing and review notes: “My thick hair hits at my mid-back, so drying it is always a process. T3’s Soft Curl diffuser stood out from other diffusers I tested due to the styling speed. A combination of the brand’s powerful hair dryer and this shallow bowl diffuser makes quick work of turning damp strands into beautifully defined ringlets and coils. It’s also a tad bit bigger than other diffusers, which provides more surface area for thicker manes.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $30


13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

BEST HAIR DRYER + HAIR DIFFUSER COMBO

Remington D3190 Damage Protection Hair Dryer With Hair Diffuser

Type: Bowl diffuser
Compatible with: Included Remington D3190 hair dryer
Special features: Ionic tourmaline plates help decrease frizz
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars

$19.16 $20.99 9% off

Buy Now at amazon

If you’re looking for the best diffuser hair dryer for curly hair that comes together in a set, Fitzsimons recommends the Remington Damage Protection hair dryer three-piece set. He loves the dryer’s heat control sensor to ensure that you’re not damaging curls or fading away color with excessive heat. The diffuser attachment will distribute heat evenly and will also be super gentle with your curls, for a shiny and soft look. Over 32,000 Amazon shoppers award this affordable hair dryer five stars.

Editor testing and review notes: “In my decade of experience testing hair dryers, I’ve discovered that few drugstore hair tool brands can compete with Remington in longevity: Even after multiple years of consistent use, these dryers work like new. And the unbeatable price point on this set doesn’t come at the expense of quality. The diffuser attachment locks into the dryer securely without leaking air where the two meet. It’s a little bigger than alternative options, but if you have the space, it’s worth it.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $19.16


13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

BEST HAIR DIFFUSER FOR VOLUME

Drybar The Bouncer Diffuser

Type: Bowl diffuser
Compatible with: Most commercial hair dryers, including Drybar’s Buttercup and Baby Buttercup hair dryers
Special features: Medium and long prongs
Amazon Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.5/5 stars
Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

$34

Buy Now at amazon

$34

Buy Now at ulta

“While diffusers work similarly in regards to volume, I would definitely recommend Drybar The Bouncer Diffuser for those looking to give their curls that extra oomph,” says Fitzsimons. This diffuser reduces the speed of heat and guarantees a very gentle blow-dry. You’ll also notice reduced frizz and defined, voluminous curls. As an added bonus, it fits most hair dryers, even if the one you own isn’t from Drybar. 

Editor testing and review notes: “An adaptable pick that fit on six standard-sized hair dryers during testing, Drybar’s diffuser is a great add-on that makes nearly any blow dryer friendly for curls. It has a rubber grip that expands for various nozzle sizes, and the attachment area is reinforced to keep its shape with repeated uses. Depending on the dryer, it may fall off during an extended period of use, but nine times out of 10 the tool felt secure.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $34


13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

BEST DIFFUSER FOR WAVY HAIR

Ghd Professional Hair Dryer Diffuser

Type: Bowl diffuser
Compatible with: Ghd Helios 1875W Hair Dryer
Special features: Designed to provide even airflow throughout the diffuser bowl
Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars
Sephora Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

$30

Buy Now at ulta

$30

Buy Now at sephora

One of Courntey’s favorites is Ghd Professional’s Hair Dryer Diffuser. It has medium-length contoured prongs that help lift hair and keep curl patterns intact, while the shallow bowl shape makes it fit for adding some texture to natural wavy hair types. Pro tip: Courtney says to make sure you hold the dryer at a 90-degree angle as you diffuse curls to give your curls body and movement. 

Editor testing and review notes: “Ghd’s diffuser performs best on naturally wavy hair types, separating pieces and adding volume and texture without frizz. The shallow bowl allows you to press the diffuser up against the mid-lengths of your hair without stuffing strands into the well, so you get enhanced texture that lasts. Due to its high amount of vents, the tool dries hair quickly.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $30


13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed
13 Best Hair Diffusers 2024, Tested & Reviewed

BEST HAIR DIFFUSER FOR THICK HAIR

Bio Ionic Universal Diffuser

Type: Bowl diffuser
Compatible with: All Bio Ionic hair dryers and commercial options with a 2.25-inch diameter nozzle
Special features: Lightweight and includes volcanic minerals purported to help with hydration
Ulta Top-Quality Store Badge on Google: 4.8/5 stars

$30

Buy Now at ulta

Both Fitzsimons and Brown love the Bio Ionic Universal Diffuser for thicker hair textures. Fitzsimons says it’s important to look for a diffuser with longer prongs to allow air flow to reach the scalp without crushing the curls and disrupting the curl pattern. Brown agrees, adding that the diffuser’s prongs work extremely well for thicker curls. You can also adjust the airflow, which is always an added bonus. 

Editor testing and review notes: “I was impressed with the functionality of Bio Ionic’s diffuser out of the box — a quick look at the tool revealed rubber pieces on the nozzle end that grab onto the hair dryer for a secure fit, plus adjustable vents that can increase or decrease the airflow that passes through the attachment. I was able to shave two minutes off of my standard styling speed using the tool, so it’s a great choice for those who are short on patience when it comes to drying their curls.”

Price upon publish date of this article: $30


The Different Types of Diffusers for Curly Hair

Hair diffuser options abound, so you can choose the type of diffuser that aligns with your hair texture and how you prefer to style it. These three types are the most common, according to our experts:

  • Bowl diffusers: These attachments are likely what comes to mind when you think of hair diffusers. They usually feature a silicone ring or an alternative attachment mechanism that locks in to the nozzle of your dryer to evenly distribute heat throughout the bowl. Shallow options are ideal for short hair and targeting your roots, while deep bowl diffusers can dry thick, long hair with ease.

  • Hand diffusers: Rather than a bowl that cups your hair, hand diffusers spread heat throughout different finger-like prongs to set your curls naturally for an air-dried effect. This format also makes it easy for those with long hair to target the mid-lengths and roots of the hair without creating frizz or overexposing the ends to heat. DevaCurls’ Devafuser is the top option in this category, according to our testers.

  • Hooded hair diffusers: These hands-free hair dryers diffuse heat throughout a bonnet. Because you don’t touch your hair while it dries, you’ll emerge with a full head of gravity-defying ringlets without an ounce of frizz. Note that although they’re hands-free, they can take an extensive amount of time to dry thicker hair types and are not designed for travel — two reasons why we omitted options from the category in our list of the best hair diffusers for curly hair.

What to Look for in the Best Hair Diffusers

Similar to the best curly hair dryers, the best curly hair diffusers come in several different sizes and which one you use depends on what type of hair you have. “A diffuser for each individual will be different,” says Brown. “I don’t believe all diffusers should have a certain amount of prongs or that size should be a certain way.” These factors will help you deduce what to seek out in a diffuser for your unique head of hair.

  • Compatibility with a hair dryer: This is crucial, as a diffuser that’s not fitted to your hair dryer is moot. Double check the dryer and diffuser’s manufacturer’s website to determine whether or not a diffuser will fit your current go-to hair dryer. You can also measure the diameter of the dryer nozzle and seek out a diffuser that’ll securely fit to the size.

  • Prong size: Shorter prongs are ideal for lifting curls and adding volume near your root. Medium to longer prongs, on the other hand, help dry and add shape to your ends. Looser curl types, like type 2 or 3a, he adds, also benefit from longer prongs to add volume and shape to hair, according to Fitzsimons.

  • Venting: Fitzsimons recommends looking for a diffuser with a lot of small holes or vents to allow the perfect amount of controlled airflow to dry hair without prolonging the drying time. This is particularly helpful for those with thicker, coarser hair (types 3 to 4). Some diffusers for curly hair, like Bio Ionic’s, allow you to adjust the vent size for more or less airflow.

How to Use a Hair Diffuser

How you use a diffuser depends on your hair length. Brown and Fitzsimons offer these guidelines for exactly how to use a hair diffuser for your hair length, type and texture:

  • Short hair: Brown says the shorter your hair, the less likely you’re going to press a diffuser close to your roots.

  • Long hair: For longer hair, Brown recommends focusing the diffuser head on the ends.

  • Fine hair or loose curls: According to Fitzsimons, those with finer hair and looser curls may need to flip their hair over to add volume.

  • Thick hair: Thicker hair will need to push the diffuser gently onto hair and you’ll need to divide hair into smaller sections to ensure consistent curl patterns.

Yet, according to Brown, there are specific steps that all curl types and patterns should follow to set themselves up for curly success. After using a hair diffuser, curls and waves should be light on frizz and heavy on the volume, shine and curl shape.

  1. Wash and detangle: After sudsing up with a shampoo for curly hair, apply a generous amount of conditioner for curly hair. While your hair is wet, use a hair brush for curly hair to detangle.

  2. Remove excess water: Next, you’ll want to define your hair with styling products, like mousses and foams for curly hair, and remove excess water with a microfiber towel or cotton T-shirt so that the diffuser works seamlessly. 

  3. Section: Then you’ll section off your hair and start to blow dry with the hair diffuser attached to the end. Brown likes to hold the blow dryer with the diffuser attachment attached over the head, taking it around in a circle over the entire head. 

  4. Dry: Once Brown does that, she’ll cup the bottoms of each section to diffuse the end, moving around section to section so that she’s not putting too much heat in one section. Her tip is to tilt your hair from side to side when diffusing each end so that your curls don’t get stuck together. It’s also a way to create movement and keep hair frizz-free and shiny. 

How We Selected the Best Diffusers for Curly Hair

To select the best hair diffusers for curly hair, our team began by fielding interviews with professional hairstylists that are experienced in working with curly hair types. We took their product recommendations as well as their key advice on key features to seek out in diffusers to whittle down a list of 24 hair diffusers to put through extensive testing. While narrowing down our list to the top 13 options, we considered which options worked best on short, medium, and long hair, as well as fine to thick hair and wavy to type 4c curls. Our writer and editor dove into verified shopper reviews to assess feedback and longevity of the hair diffuser attachments, too. Below, a few runner-ups that almost made the cut:

  • Laifen Ionic Hair Dryer With Diffuser: Laifen’s diffuser is a versatile choice with a medium bowl depth and mid-size prongs that work across short to long and fine to thick hair. However the hair dryer emitted super high airflow speeds — so much so that our testers had issues keeping our hair in the diffuser while drying.

  • King Kam Collapsible Hair Dryer Diffuser: The concept of a collapsible diffuser is genius, as it’s designed to be less cumbersome to store and travel with. However King Kam’s option would occasionally collapse during use and felt flimsy compared to other options we tested.

  • Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium Universal Finger Diffuser: Our testers were wowed by this diffuser’s ability to add shine and prevent flyaways in frizz-prone curly hair. But you may experience some issues getting the tool to lock onto your dryer: We tested the diffuser on eight different hair dryers and had issues with it securely attaching to six out of the bunch.

How We Tested and Reviewed the Best Hair Diffusers for Curly Hair

A panel of three beauty writers and editors evaluated the best hair diffusers for curly hair on their own hair, as well as human hair wigs and extensions provided by Zala, Bellami, and RPZL. Each hair diffuser was put to the test on types 2a to 4c hair so we could accurately assess how the attachments perform on various curl patterns and make honest recommendations about what diffusers work best for certain hair thicknesses and lengths. For diffusers that are marketed as compatible with many commercial hair dryers, we tried the attachments on eight to 10 different hair dryers to make sure they live up to their claims. During testing, we subjected the diffusers to high airflow and heat settings, also dropping them from countertop height onto tile floors and packing them in overnight bags and suitcases to assess their durability. While conducting testing, we rated each diffuser on the below criteria:

  • Stability and weight: Some hair diffusers can slide around or detach from the dryer during use — a fault that can make your styling session frustrating. Our testers made sure that the best hair diffusers for curly hair on our list feel stable and secure on the nozzle of hair dryers. Options that are marketed to be compatible with multiple dryers were tested across a variety of dryers with different shapes and sizes to confirm the claim; those that slipped off the nozzle or took elbow grease to lock in were removed from our list.

  • Customizable features: Newer diffusers for curly hair come with special features like adjustable prongs and vents you can calibrate for more or less airflow. These capabilities make standard hair diffusers better equipped for various hair textures, lengths, and thicknesses. We awarded extra points to diffusers with these features that are easy to adjust and don’t feel complicated to operate.

  • Styling results: Each of our testers used diffusers on freshly washed, damp hair to rate the results of the tools. We took note of frizz level, shine, and how well the diffusers enhanced our natural hair texture, whether it’s more defined waves or bouncy ringlets. Diffusers that snagged on our hair during styling or left our ends feeling dry and damaged didn’t make the cut.

four of the top hair diffusers during testing by WWD staff
WWD Shop editors test and review hair diffusers from Ouidad, Dyson, T3, and Pattern Beauty in our NYC offices. Captured with the Leica Q3 camera.

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Meet the Experts

hair diffuser expert Erinn Courtney
hair diffuser expert Erinn Courtney

Erinn Courtney is a legend within the world of natural hair. She’s tended to the locks of celebrities including Jada Pinkett Smith, Future and Offset, and is considered one of the very best when it comes to braiding and protective styles.

hair diffuser expert Kamara Brown
hair diffuser expert Kamara Brown

Kamara Brown is a hairstylist with more than nine years of protective hairstyling under her belt. Brown is famed for her signature Crochet Braids Afro style and founded Raww Intuition, a textured wig line for women who love big hair and curls.

hair diffuser expert Andrew Fitzsimons
hair diffuser expert Andrew Fitzsimons

Andrew Fitzsimons is the stylist that A-list celebs like Ashley Graham, Megan Fox and the Kardashians have on speed dial when they want a look that’s sleek and cutting edge.

Meet the Author

Claire Sullivan is the Senior Beauty and Lifestyle Commerce Editor for Footwear News and WWD, where she writes and edits beauty, fashion and lifestyle stories. She has over six years of experience as a writer and editor for national media outlets including Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, InStyle, and Byrdie. She keeps her finger on the pulse of all things related to beauty and wellness, as well as the latest shopping trends and clothing brands. Sullivan has regularly researched curly hair products since 2018. To write this article on the best hair diffusers, she researched the category and tested many on her type 2b curls.

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