The Hot Tools Volumiser Set 2-in-1 Brush and Dryer comes with two detachable brush attachments to create large curls, loose waves, and bouncy, volumised blow dries in minutes. You do need to pay for this privilege, though. It costs almost twice as much as rival 2-in-1 devices without offering many more features to warrant this price rise. The level of volume it creates is less than other dryers of its type that we’ve used and if you’ve got short, or oily hair, you may be left a little disappointed.
Creates a range of smooth styles
Detachable attachments suit different hair types and lengths
Easy to use
Lacks the volume of rival dryers
Not as versatile as other hot air stylers
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If 2021 was the year of beachy waves, 2022 is the year curls, bounce and volume are making a comeback from their ‘60s heyday. At the same time, many of us are looking for ways to reduce the amount of heat damage we subject our hair to. These trends are causing a shift away from curling tongs and wands towards air stylers and hot brushes. Air stylers such as the Hot Tools Volumiser Set 2-in-1 Brush and Dryer.
It may not offer the kind of versatility seen from the £449.99 / $549.99 Dyson Airwrap – a styler that was recently revamped with the launch of even more attachments – but, at £129 / $89.99, it’s also almost a quarter of the price. That said, it’s not a true Airwrap dupe, as it also comes with barrel brush style attachments rather than including a curling tong and a paddle brush head for the styler. However, compared to rival hot brushes, such as the Revlon Pro Collection One Step Dryer & Volumiser, it offers more versatility.
The larger of these two brush attachments creates salon-style bouncy blow dries, without the need for one of the best hair dryers, while the smaller brush allows you to create more defined curls akin to those from heated rollers. Both can also be used to create smooth sleek styles that don't require a hair straightener to be passed over tresses after drying or to add volume at the roots to enhance your natural style.
Yet the best part about each of these different styles is how easy they are to achieve with the Hot Tools dryer. The very nature of bouncy and curly hair styles is that they don’t require the precision or technique of more coiffured finishes, which means you can achieve the desired look with less effort.
Our biggest complaint is that the styler is loud – so loud we couldn’t have a conversation over the sound of it. Another issue is that the smaller of the two brushes may still be too large for the shortest of hair styles. And the level of volume achieved with the Hot Tools styler is less than on other rival air stylers. All points that are a little hard to swallow given the Hot Tools price in comparison.
Hot Tools Volumiser Set 2-in-1 Brush and Dryer price and availability
- RRP: £129 / $89.99
The Hot Tools Volumiser Set 2-in-1 Brush and Dryer, which is known as the Black Gold One-Step Detachable Blowout and Volumiser, is available direct through Hot Tools. In the UK it ships with two different-sized detachable brush attachments, while in the US it comes with just one head, although additional attachments are available separately for $29.99 (around £23) each.
- Choice of attachments
- Three heat settings
- Gold and titanium barrel reduces frizz and adds shine
With its black finish and gold-coloured accents, the Hot Tools Volumiser is an elegant appliance. Its design reminds us of the classic GHD styling and this creates an overall impression of premium quality. Its handle fits comfortably in one hand, and weight-wise it’s well-balanced.
The styler handle measures 37.5cm x 17.1cm x 8.9cm / 14.7 x 6.7 x 3.5 inches (h x w x d) and weighs 245g / 0.54lb without any attachments fitted. It comes with two oval brush attachments and both are coated in what the brand calls a Black Gold Titanium Micro-Shine styling surface. This mixture of gold and titanium is designed to help reduce friction, which in turn reduces frizz and adds shine. The barrel is also engineered to store and distribute the heat evenly to avoid damage and improve styling times.
Activated-charcoal nylon bristles sit alongside boar-hair bristles on the barrel of each brush. The use of activated charcoal helps to cleanse the hair and scalp by removing excess sebum, in the same way, charcoal does to your skin when applied as a mask or similar. The rows of bristles sit on either side of the air vents found in each barrel, and on the top of the two attachments is a cool-touch tip that gives you better control as you move the styler through your hair.
The larger of the two brushes measures 7.1cm 3.8cm / 2.8 inches x 1.5 inches and is designed for large curls, waves, and volume, best suited to longer or thicker hair. When added to the styler, this attachment takes the weight up to 465g / 1lb.
The smaller brush measures 6.1cm x 3.8cm /2.4 inches x 1.5 inches, takes the total weight to 345g / 0.76 lb, and is more suited to shorter and thinner hair styles. That said, using the larger barrel on short hair creates even greater volume and a bouncy blow-dry finish, while using the smaller brush on longer hair can create more defined curls. So there is more versatility than first appears.
These attachments are locked into place by twisting them clockwise into the base. To remove each one, slide the unlock mechanism, positioned below the top of the styler, while twisting the brush anticlockwise to pull it off. This design makes it near-on impossible to accidentally disconnect the attachment mid-style – a very welcomed feature – and it’s not too dissimilar to the lock mechanism found on the Dyson Airwrap.
However, unlike with the Dyson Airwrap in which the attachments never get too hot meaning they can be handled almost immediately after use, the Hot Tools brushes burn easily. If you want to swap between brushes during styling, we recommend you let the styler cool down first.
Speaking of heat, the Hot Tools Volumiser has two temperature settings, plus a cold shot option to help you set your chosen style. These settings are selected via a rotating temperature dial at the bottom of the handle. Again, this prevents you from knocking this dial accidentally and is common on hot brushes of this style.
Sadly the Hot Tools Volumiser set doesn’t have a carry case so while the detachable design makes it a compact styler that’s easy to travel with, you will need to store or pack the attachments loose.
- Three-minute styling times
- Knocks out frizz and adds shine
- Amount of volume depends on hair type
We’re well skilled in the art of hot brushes and the Revlon One-Step is our everyday styler. This meant it was easy to swap out our Revlon favourite for the Hot Tools Volumiser in order to put the latter to the test.
During our testing period, we used the Hot Tools Volumiser to style our hair for everyday events, for meetings and for two nights out. We spent half the time using the larger barrel to create big and bouncy finishes. The other half, we created more defined curls and added more subtle volume using the smaller barrel.
For each style, we used the Hot Tools Volumiser to take our hair from wet to dry. This took us, on average, around three minutes each time. The addition of the Micro-Shine styling surface worked as promised and as the styler dried our hair, it knocked out frizz. This left it looking and feeling smooth to the point where we never once had to resort to straighteners to finish the style. The effect was so good, we didn’t even have to use hairspray or hair oils to tame any remaining frizz in the same way we do with our Revlon.
There is a downside to this smoothing function, however. We found that the Hot Tools created such a sleek finish that it reduced the amount of volume we could achieve. The Revlon may create a slightly more rough finish, but the volume is greater as a result.
What’s more, because our hair is naturally fine and easily greasy, this smooth finish made it look like second-day hair, rather than freshly washed. By the end of the day, it felt like it too. This is very specific to our hair but if yours is the same, it’s worth noting.
Creating curls was a little trickier. Or at least it was for us and our shoulder-length hair. The process involves adding volume at the roots first before placing the hot brush just below the roots and twisting it slowly either clockwise, or anticlockwise as you move it through the hair. We found this technique worked best with the smaller barrel.
However, when curling the hair, the rotating cord often got wrapped around our hands and arms. We also struggled to enhance the curls because we rarely managed to repeat a curling motion exactly how we did the first time. Either we didn’t rotate the brush at the same point in the hair, or we moved at a different speed. It’s likely that if we had longer hair this curling method would have been easier and more impactful. The more length you have to play with, the more hair you have to wrap around the brush.
To get round this, we either had to run the styler through each section of hair once to set the curl, before allowing it to finish drying naturally, or we had to settle for waves rather than curls. With the former option, the curls often dropped as they dried and the overall finish was less smooth. The results were fine, but the curls were never as defined or bouncy as we’d hoped and we soon resorted back to our dedicated curling wand.
The most success we had with the Hot Tools Volumiser was when we used it in conjunction with a standard hair dryer. In these instances, we used the normal dryer to blast the majority of water from the hair before using the Hot Tools Volumiser to add the finish touches.
In this way, we still got the desired amount of volume and smoothness but we didn’t end up having limp hair by the end of the day. In fact, when used this way the Hot Tools Volumiser performed well enough to make us want to ditch our Revlon One Step for good which, if you know how much we love our Revlon styler, is high praise.
Noise-wise, the Hot Tools is a loud styler. At times, it reached as high as 85db, which is equivalent to the noise made by a lawnmower when cutting grass.
Should I buy the Hot Tools Volumiser Set 2-in-1 Brush and Dryer?
Buy it if...
You have thick hair or suffer from frizz
The Micro-Shine styling surface of the Hot Tools Volumiser, as well as the gold and titanium barrel, helps you create smooth, healthy-looking styles. It knocks out frizz with ease and removes the need for straighteners or excess finishing products.
You’re short on time
Due to the fact the Hot Tools Volumiser dries and styles at the same time, it helps you create smooth looks quickly and easily saving you precious time.
You prefer bouncy blow dries over curls
It is possible to create curls with the Hot Tools Volumisier but it’s not one of the styler’s strengths. Creating bouncy blow-dry styles are easier, quicker, and less unruly.
Don't buy it if...
You’re on a budget
If you’re after a hot-air styling brush there are a number of products that are cheaper and which work just as well as the Hot Tools Volumiser for a lower price. The Revlon One-Step is half the price, for instance. You can also buy the Hot Tools Black Gold Volumiser on its own, without the addition of the smaller barrel brush attachment, for almost £50 cheaper.
You have hair that gets greasy easily
For all of its smoothing credentials and claims about removing excess sebum, the Hot Tools Volumiser can make oily hair look worse, not better.
You have short hair
Despite the option of two attachment sizes, both are on the large side for the shortest of hair styles. This means that, while they’ll likely help add volume, it could either be too much or too difficult to achieve without burning yourself.
First reviewed: March 2022
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Victoria Woolaston is an experienced science, technology and lifestyle journalist with more than a decade working in the publishing industry. Skilled in strategy and planning, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), copywriting, editing, journalism, and consultancy.