Let us guess: When you dry your hair (with direct heat on your scalp), you get frizzy curls and breakage. And when you opt to air-dry instead, it takes hours for your hair to be completely dry. It’s a common hair dilemma for those of us with waves, curls and coils, right? Luckily, it’s one that can easily be solved with a good ole diffuser. This handy attachment is a curly gal’s secret weapon. Not only do they help dry your hair, but they also define curls and reduce frizz in the process. Still not sure what the heck a diffuser is (or the point of one)? Here's everything you need to know.
The 20 Best Diffusers for Curly Hair, from $6 to $430
Say goodbye to frizzy locks
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The Best Diffusers for Curly Hair At a Glance
- Best Overall: Xtava Black Orchid Hair Diffuser ($22)
- Great for Wavy Hair: Babylisspro Nano Titanium Universal Diffuser ($13)
- Suitable for Traveling: Ceremonia Collapsible Hair Diffuser ($20)
- Best Alternative Diffuser: Hot Sock Diffuser (
- Best for Heat Distribution: Segbeauty Hair Diffuser ($20)
- Best Compact Diffuser: KingKam Collapsible Diffuser (
- Splurge-Worthy: Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer ($430)
- Budget-Friendly: Conair Volumizing Universal Diffuser ($13)
- Best for Settings: BestTrendy Hair Diffuser (
- Best for Volume: Drybar The Bouncer Diffuser ($34)
- Most Adjustable Diffuser: Bio Ionic Universal Diffuser ($30)
- Best for Short Hair: Devacurl Devafuser Universal Diffuser ($55)
- Best Hair Dryer: Bedhead Curls-In-Check Diffuser Dryer (
- The Newcomer: Pattern The Blow Dryer ($189)
- Best 3-in-1: Ouidad 3-in-1 Universal Diffuser ($49)
- Most Universal: UUCOLOR Universal Hair Diffuser ($15)
- Best Hair Dryer and Diffuser Duo: CHI 1875 Advanced Ionic Dryer ($130)
- Fastest Drying Time: Revlon Infrared Hair Dryer ($25)
- Best for Thick Hair: Hairizone Universal Hair Diffuser (
- Best for Fine Hair: T3 Micro SoftTouch Diffuser ($30)
What Is a Hair Diffuser?
A hair diffuser is an attachment that snaps or slides onto your blow dryer to manage the airflow. Instead of having heat pour out directly onto your hair, the diffuser disperses the air around the curls to improve definition, reduce frizz and create volume. Without a diffuser, curly hair is prone to more tangles, breakage and an overall loss of shape.
The nozzles are usually plastic, bowl-shaped and feature prongs inside the attachment. However, some can look like "fingers" (like the DevaCurl DeFuser) or a sock (like the Hot Sock Diffuser). Finding the right diffuser comes down to your curl type and/or texture.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Diffuser
As mentioned above, the shape, size and/or prong lengths will determine what diffuser works best for your waves, curls or coils.
- If you have thick and/or long hair, you want to pick a diffuser with a large head and a lot of prongs to let the airflow move across your hair (and cut drying time by half) like Segbeauty Hair Diffuser.
- If you have frizzy, fine or short hair reach for a small head or a sock diffuser to give you a gentler dry like the T3 Micro SoftTouch Diffuser.
- If you have coily hair, look for a diffuser that has finger-shaped design instead of regular prongs to get the job done. We're looking at you, Devacurl Devafuser Universal Hair Diffuser.
- If you need a universal pick, we recommend the Xtava Black Orchid Hair Diffuser as the crème de la crème of diffusers, so everyone in the fam can use without having to switch out an attachment every time. And at a whopping $22, you simply can't beat the price.
How to See If Your Hair Dryer Is Compatible with Your Attachment
Once you found the one, you want to check to see if your hair dryer is compatible with your nozzle of choice. Some diffusers are not universal (even if they have "universal" in the name). Compare your hair dryer's diameter to the diffuser's diameter range. (A quick Google search can give you that info if you're unsure.) After you find that your attachment matches with your dryer, pop it on and you can begin to dry your hair without any issues.
How To Use A Diffuser On Curly Hair
Found a diffuser? Great! Now, here's a step-by-step tutorial on how to use it properly (and if you need a visual check out the helpful tutorial above to help get you started).
1. Wash your hair as normal. You’ll get the best results when your hair is clean. Wash and style it as usual, then apply a leave-in conditioner before you start drying your curls. (FYI, make sure to detangle hair in the shower for more defined curls.)
2. Apply a heat-protectant. Whether it's a serum, a cream or a spray, applying it before drying your strands can reduce frizz, breakage and damage. Here are a few of our favorites: CHI (
$17; $12); Briogeo ($26); Olaplex ($30); Bumble & Bumble ($32)
3. Add the attachment to the end of your blow-dryer. Once it's snapped (or slid) on, place your dryer on a low to medium setting. Using the dryer on high heat is a big no-no for curly gals because it creates more damage in the long run.
4. Flip your head upside down. Not only does this help dry hard-to-reach areas like the nape of your neck, but it provides more volume. (To avoid getting cramps, move your head from side to side as you dry.) You'll want to start by hovering the diffuser a couple inches away from your curls, spending 30 seconds or so in every area (i.e the crown, hairline, etc).
5. Shift your focus to the root and tips. After that initial hover-dry, divide your hair into equal parts. Then, cup each section of hair into the bowl of the diffuser and try to get the attachment as close to the scalp as possible. Next, twirl the diffuser in a circular motion (almost like you're giving yourself a mini massage). Spend time drying each area (aka root to tip) for about 30 seconds or so before moving on to the next section. The whole dry time will vary depending on your hair length, hair type or hair porosity.
6. Finally, shake out your curls. If you want even more volume, use your fingers or a hair pick to fluff up the roots.
For best results, only dry 80 to 90 percent of the way, then let it air dry to finish. The last thing you want to do is over-dry your strands and reduce the effectiveness of the moisturizing products you just applied (aka leave-in, styling cream and heat protectant).
How We Chose the Best Diffusers for Curly Hair
As a curly gal myself, I did some heavy research to find the top picks that were vetted by the curly community. First, we looked at PureWow's favorite brands like Amazon, Sephora and Ulta before scanning through countless of reviews, where consumers poured out their pros (and cons) of each attachment. We looked closely at the products' performance, especially when it came down to their drying time, reducing frizz and improving volume. Plus, we noted how compatible each diffuser was to most hair dryers—even if they claim to be universal—and buzzy features like multiple settings, attachments or prongs.
So, now that you’re up to speed on what a diffuser is, which type might work best for you and how to use it, here are 20 of the best diffusers for curly hair to consider when upgrading your drying game, according to reviewers:
- Why We Love It: great for all hair types, 1.8 inches in diameter, 360 degree airflow
- What We Don't Love: not compatible with all hair dryers, non-flexible nozzle
- Standout Review: “I love this diffuser! It has completely changed my curls for the better. It also has cut down on drying time because it holds so much of my hair at a time. Will always have this product on hand for life.” — An Amazon reviewer
This diffuser has 8,300+ five-star ratings, so we’re not surprised by its benefits. The 360-degree design dries your hair quickly from root to tip. Whether your hair is thick, long or curly, the diffuser aims to enhance your natural strands, minimizes frizz and boosts volume. And thanks to the silicone grip, it won’t fall off the nozzle as you’re drying.
Great for Wavy Hair
- Why We Love It: great for loose and fine hair, 2.25 inches in diameter, 12 air outlets for fast drying
- What We Don't Love: not compatible with all hair dryers, flimsy grip
- Standout Review: "[It’s] the best dryer I have ever used on my thick and curly hair. The large diffuser and the light weight of the dryer make drying my hair quick and easy.” — An Ulta reviewer
This diffuser promises soft, bouncy curls to wavy or permed hair. It's designed with wide fingers that helps lift and separate hair by the root for more volume while gently drying large areas for frizz-free curls. Plus, shoppers say it’s a pretty universal attachment that fits most hair dryers.
Suitable for Traveling
- Why We Love It: lightweight, 2.5 inches in diameter, 5.25 inches in length
- What We Don't Love: collapses if pressed onto the hair too hard
- Standout Review: "[It's] super convenient and easy to use! My blow dryer has a unique shaped nozzle and this fit perfectly! It’s very lightweight as well!" — Abbey, a Sephora reviewer
The last thing you want to do is buy a diffuser only to realize it doesn’t fit your hair dryer. Luckily, this silicone tool is built to stretch or shrink to fit any nozzle, which also makes it super portable when you're left with the hotel hair dryer.
Best Alternative Diffuser
- Why We Love It: lightweight, 2.5 inches in diameter, 5.25 inches in length
- What We Don't Love: won't define curls, dries in small sections
- Standout Review: "I have used this diffuser on my curly hair for the last 20 years. I love it so much because it is so small and doesn’t take up all the room that those big huge plastic ones do. I have very curly hair and it always works to make sure that my curls stay intact and that my hair doesn’t frizz." — Max, an Amazon reviewer
Yup, this weird but useful tool is great for a quick dry, especially if you’re using roller sets. Shoppers say it fits on every size blow-dryer and won’t take up too much room in your bag when traveling. They also point out that it's a great attachment for smaller hair dryers as long as you use it on the lowest heat setting so your curls (or waves) will dry without frizz.
Best for Heat Distribution
- Why We Love It: 114 air outlets, suitable for 1.73-1.77 hair dryers, great for building volume
- What We Don't Love: bulky design, gets super hot easily
- Standout Review: "The deep bowl of the diffuser is perfect for getting my curls to clump together and form defined ringlets. It evenly distributes the heat from my blow dryer, which helps to reduce frizz and add shine to my curls. Plus, the diffuser itself is easy to attach to my blow dryer and stays securely in place." — An Amazon reviewer
Whether you have long or short locks, this diffuser is a great addition to your haircare routine. Its deep and wide bowl design features 114 air outlets and multiple teeth that helps distribute heat evenly throughout your curls, which prevents frizz, breakage and dryness. Hot tip: You can spin the nozzle to change the airflow to fit your hair type or texture.
Best Compact Diffuser
- Why We Love It: 5.31 inches in diameter, suitable for 1.579 to 1.986 inches hair dryers, comes in four colors
- What We Don't Love: not compatible with all hair dryers
- Standout Review: "I can't live without diffusing my hair, but taking my large, heavy hairdryer with me while traveling is a no go. I just take this universal diffuser with me and it attaches to most hair dryers you'll find at Airbnbs and hotels. It's super lightweight and collapsible!" — Alexander, an Amazon reviewer
This silicone diffuser makes traveling easier with its foldable design. According to the brand, the attachment fits most common hair dryers and it's so sturdy, it won't slip off mid-drying. With over 3,900 five-star reviews, shoppers say it's lightweight while allowing air flow that leaves curls defined and frizz-free.
- Why We Love It: great for all hair types, five attachments included, three shades for diffuser
- What We Don't Love: pricey, bulky cord
- Standout Review: "This dryer changed the game. I have Black natural hair. I've used the diffuser for a week and did a blowout tonight. An excellent investment. No complaints." — Kim, a Saks Fifth Avenue reviewer
If you’re going to pay $430 for a hair dryer, it has to be worth it, right? This quiet tool comes with five attachments, including a diffuser that reduces frizz and helps you style your curly hair with more control. Reviewers say it also has cut their drying time by half, so looks like we can deal with the hefty price tag.
- Why We Love It: fits over 13 Conair dryers, 5.8 inches in diameter, lightweight
- What We Don't Love: difficult to remove from dryer
- Standout Review: "I'm very happy with this diffuser. It fits my old Conair blow dryer perfectly and I blow dry my hair on low heat. It definitely helps with giving my hair more volume and my waves/curls look softer and more defined." — Diana, an Amazon reviewer
Looking to create curly or wavy styles without breaking the bank? This attachment helps to dry hair quickly and add volume to your locks for under $15. This Conair pick features "fingers," which helps dry your hair quickly and increase volume at the root. Plus, the brand claims it fits over 13 dryers, so thankfully there's no need to buy another hair tool.
- Why We Love It: suitable for 1.4 to 2.4 inches hair dryers, flexible lock button for a nice fit, 2.6 inches in diameter
- What We Don't Love: not suitable for thick hair, difficult to attach on dryer
- Standout Review: "This diffuser is HUGE. It's very wide and deep, which allows you to get a lot of hair into it for diffusing. It is also adjustable so that it will fit snugly on almost any blow dryer out there. I have a very small blow dryer and the diffuser that came with it is worthless but this one fits great and really does the job." — Shannon, an Amazon reviewer
This diffuser evenly dries your hair, protects against heat damage and prevents frizz. Shoppers rave about its heat settings (featuring a cool, warm and hot option) as well as the speed settings that's customizable for every hair type. It also has a flexible lockable button that adjusts to most hair dryers in the market. However, one reviewer notes be mindful that the shallow shape might take longer for thick hair to dry quickly and might cause some frizz.
Best for Volume
- Why We Love It: universal diffuser, 6.4 inches in diameter, improves volume
- What We Don't Love: pricey
- Standout Review: "This is the ultimate diffuser out there! I have long, very thick and wavy hair, and have never had good results with diffusers until now. This one is giant, which makes it very effective at evenly distributing heat without blasting your curls apart like those with a smaller nozzle. This [one also] gave me the perfect air dried look in a fraction of the time." — a Sephora reviewer
The salon known for its blowouts created a diffuser with the curly gal in mind. Thanks to the wide bowl and 12 prongs located inside, the attachment promises to gently dry, reduce frizz and define curls. It’s important to note that this is specifically designed for the brand’s popular Buttercup blow-dryers, but it can work on nozzle sizes up to two inches.
Great for Long Hair
- Why We Love It: 2.25 inches in diameter, 12 air outlets, extended fingers for even heat distribution
- What We Don't Love: not compatible with all hair dryers
- Standout Review: "It has made such a difference, especially on the top [of my hair] which had been somewhat flat. This helps me create beautiful curls. I have had many compliments on my hair since switching to this diffuser." — Cynthia, a Bio Ionic reviewer
This lightweight tool has 12 air outlets that make for a faster dry time, while providing frizz-free results. You're able to control the vents to provide higher or lower airflow depending on the areas you are targeting. Note: It fits over most Bio Ionic dryers except for the Power Diva model.
Great for Short Hair
- Why We Love It: 360 airflow, fits 2 to 2.5 inch nozzles
- What We Don't Love: not suitable for wavy hair, not compatible with all hair dryers
- Standout Review: "If you have naturally curly hair, this diffuser will change your life. Well, maybe not your life, but it will do wonders for your hair. Unlike some other diffusers that have rubber tips that grab onto your hair (not good if you're avoiding frizz), it gently lifts the curls and cradles them to dry them softly. It's pricey, but you get what you pay for. And it's MUCH easier to travel with given the shape of it (compared to the large barrel styles)." — An Ulta reviewer
Not your average diffuser, this tool is designed to hug your curls at the roots to speed up the drying process, while enhancing their natural definition. The special applicator works great on all hair types, but especially for people with short, coily or protective styles. Shoppers say it's also super lightweight, easy to use and cuts drying time in half.
Best Hair Dryer
- Why We Love It: three heat settings, two speed settings, removable diffuser for easy cleaning
- What We Don't Love: loud hair tool, not suitable for long or thick hair
- Standout Review: "This is a great find! The diffuser is light, fast-drying (due to its wide surface area), and it's extremely practical for people with curly hair. It’s ideal to bring along while traveling as well as for everyday use!" — Fabiana, an Amazon reviewer
Never mind the attachment, this entire hair dryer is made for diffusing. The unique design adds texture, tames frizz and speeds up dry time rolled into one tool. Reviewers praise the applicator for being easier to use than a traditional dryer on their curls or waves.
- Why We Love It: Black-owned, four attachments, six customized settings
- What We Don't Love: pricey
- Standout Review: "This dryer is amazing! The diffuser is wide and dries hair quickly! The pronged attachment helps lift flattened wash and go's. The comb attachment is amazing! The bristle placements glide through hair. I appreciate the innovation of the dryer. You can tell a lot of research and input from naturals we're considered when creating this dryer." — Ash, an Ulta reviewer
Whether you're looking to dry your natural coils or wanting to rock a blowout, this blow dryer by Pattern (aka the brand founded by Tracee Ellis Ross) has you covered. The hair tool has six heat and speed settings that are designed to shape, define, stretch and smooth your hair. It also comes with four attachments: a diffuser, concentrator, wide tooth comb and a brush attachment.
- Why We Love It: three diffuser pieces, suitable for 1.4 1.77 to 2.16 inches hair dryers
- What We Don't Love: pricey, bulky, difficult to switch between the three
- Standout Review: "I love the size of this diffuser, and the different options/attachments. It works great and definitely made my curls softer and smoother than my prior diffuser." — Tamara, an Ouidad reviewer
Often times you find yourself with one universal diffuser, but Ouidad is taking a step further. This attachment is interchangeable with three removable pieces for all hair types and textures. Whether you have long, short, think or fine curls, you can design your diffuser to create the right amount of volume, defintion or shape you're searching for.
- Why We Love It: suitable for 1.4 to 2.6 inch hair dryers, adjustable attachment, 6.14 inches in diameter
- What We Don't Love: bulky shape, heavy diffuser
- Standout Review: "This is the best diffuser I've ever used on my wavy, frizzy hair. It's large so it covers a large area and cuts down on the time it takes to dry my hair. It really works well to diffuse the air so it doesn't blow my hair around and cause it to frizz. I absolutely love the soft curls I get with this diffuser!" — An Amazon reviewer
FYI, no more worrying about whether your diffuser is going to fit your hairdryer. This attachment works with any size dryer, thanks to the adjustable latch, so you can focus more on drying and defining your curls. Although shoppers point out the bulky design, it still fits and gets the job done without falling off while you dry your curls.
Best Hair Dryer and Diffuser Duo
- Why We Love It: great for loose and fine hair, two attachments included
- What We Don't Love: pricey, not suitable for coily or long hair
- Standout Review: "I've used this hairdryer a few times and I love it! It's quiet, lightweight, and the variable heat settings dry my hair without it getting frizzy or damaged." — Sharon, an Ulta reviewer
Forget spending more on both a hair dryer and a diffuser. This CHI 1875 gives you the best of both worlds. The hair dryer alone includes a built-in generator that reduces frizz, improves shine and cuts down on drying time. Once you add the diffuser attachment, it also helps lock-in moisture and volume.
Fastest Dry Time
- Why We Love It: great for fine hair, two attachments included, two heat and speed settings
- What We Don't Love: hard to attach diffuser, heavy attachment
- Standout Review: "I was looking for a affordable hair dryer with a good diffuser and decided to give this one a try. Wow, I am beyond impressed! I have thick hair medium length and it dried my hair to 90 percent in under 10 minutes. It’s super quiet and the diffuser is nice and big. My curls tend to get dry and dull when I diffuse but they were soft and shiny with this diffuser." — Helber, an Amazon reviewer
When you have long, thick, voluminous or all of the above curls, they take forever to dry (and listen, we don't have all day). Thankfully, this Revlon dryer claims to cut dry time in half, so you can go about the rest of your day in all your curly glory. The infrared technology maintains moisture in your hair, while the ceramic coating reduces any heat damage and the cold shot button offers to lock in and define curls.
Great for Thick Hair
- Why We Love It: fits 1.7 to 2.6 inch hair dryers, six-inch large bowl, comes in seven colors
- What We Don't Love: not compatible with all hair dryers
- Standout Review: "This diffuser fits my hairdryer snugly and has a nice curve to cover a large area of your head for efficient drying. I am very happy with this attachment." — An Amazon reviewer
When it comes to thick hair, you're looking for three features: heat distribution, drying time and frizz reduction. Well, this universal hair diffuser checks all the boxes. The larger sized bowl disperses air evenly (and gently) without damaging locks or producing more frizz. Plus, the prongs hold thick hair in place, while maintaining your natural texture.
Great for Fine Hair
- Why We Love It: 3.5 inches in diameter, compatible with the T3 hair dryers
- What We Don't Love: pricey, difficult to attach and remove from hair dryer
- Standout Review: "I'm not sure why I put off purchasing this attachment. I cut my long hair to shoulder length a year ago and it released all this curl. I've been blowing it dry then curling it, but with this I can skip all that and it looks great!!! My curls are set, so much better than crunching and air drying." — An Ulta reviewer
With "soft touch" in the name, prepare for this diffuser to dry your hair and be super gentle on your scalp. It's designed with small finger extensions that distribute heat, improve volume and speed up drying time. While it's only compatible with T3 models, it still has a loyal fan base rallying behind it for curly or fine locks.
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Why Should You Trust Us
Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet for the latest beauty trends (and testing the coolest products out herself), informing you on ways to be a better ally and offering a native New Yorker perspective on what to do in the Big Apple. When she's not writing, she's spearheading PureWow Cultures that focuses on uplifting and highlighting the BIPOC community.
PureWow is the best friend you never had when it comes to finding the best, most useful lifestyle products online. Founded in 2010, our company’s editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which ones are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series, which sees each and every item we test being ranked on a 100-point scale of awesomeness, to the painstakingly curated lists our fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family editors create as vertical experts, you can trust that our recommendations include some of the greatest items you’ll find on the internet. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.