Back in the 1990s hair heyday of steam hair straighteners and crimpers, the 2-in-1 hair styler reigned supreme. At a time when professional-style dryers were overly expensive, brushes that doubled up as hair dryers were cheap, convenient and helped achieve the voluminous, bouncy style made famous by the likes of Jennifer Aniston. Yet, as hair dryers became more advanced, and dropped in price, 2-in-1s fell out of favour.
Fast forward to today: not only are 2-in-1s back, but they also give many of their rival barrelled hair dryers a run for their money. The Revlon Pro Collection One Step Dryer & Volumiser reviewed here just happens to be our favorite of the lot – and it costs only $60 / £60 too.
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The Revlon Pro resembles an oversized barrel brush with a chunky handle. At the bottom of this handle – where it meets the 2.5-metre cord – is a single switch that you rotate to select a temperature and speed setting. One rotation enables the cold shot function. A second rotation switches to the lower of the two speed settings, while a final rotation switches to the faster of the two. The heat increases between the speed settings, too.
Instead of having a perfectly rounded barrel, the cylinder has two slightly flatter, longer sides, in order to help lift the hair from the roots and give it more volume.
The Pro is factually not much to look at, with Revlon’s bright pink colour scheme feeling like an unwelcome throwback to the original models. It’s also heavy. At 850g, the Revlon Pro is almost twice the weight of the Dyson Supersonic – with the long brush design preventing the weight from feeling evenly distributed.
This design choice, however, does make it more compact than a traditional barrelled dryer, while saving the hassle of having to take a separate brush when traveling. Plus, its performance soon helps you forget the Revlon Pro’s weight and style shortcomings.
Even on the lowest of the two speed/temperature settings, the Revlon Pro dried our medium-length fine hair in an impressive three minutes and four seconds, which goes some way to negating its heavy, bulky design – as you won’t need to be using it for long. Its large size also means you can dry and style large sections of hair in one go. What’s more, because it styles as it dries, our arms didn’t ache from holding a brush and separate dryer at awkward angles – as is the case with some of its rivals – and we didn’t have to do anything to finish our style once it was dry, saving even more time.
This latter point is in part due to the Revlon Pro’s ionic technology, but also because the temperature remains constant throughout. Unlike with traditional dryers, the Revlon Pro is always at the same distance from the head because the hair is wrapped around it; you can’t accidentally place it too close on one section and too far away on another. This means it dries the hair evenly and gently. The ionic technology then smoothes the hair and the rounded design shapes it. We were, and continue to be impressed with just how voluminous, shiny and smooth our hair looks after using the Revlon Pro.
We didn’t see a noticeable difference in drying times on the hotter, faster setting and would often dry on the slower mode to help prevent causing damage to our hair. The faster setting is also incredibly loud, annoyingly so. In terms of decibels, it’s not drastically different to rivals but the tone of the sound is sharp and grating.
Finally, what we feel is the most significant feature of the Revlon Pro is the fact you can use it one-handed. When time is tight in the morning, or you just fancy an extra few minutes in bed, you can apply make-up at the same time as drying your hair. Believe us, we do this regularly. If that’s a little too ambitious, you can enjoy a cup of tea or eat toast at the same time. This, for us, is a gamechanger.
If a little more care had been put into the design of the Revlon Pro and its motor wasn’t so annoyingly loud, we’d happily recommend it over more expensive rivals, such as the GHD Air, because it’s performance is just so good. Unless we’re looking to rough dry our hair or style it differently, the Revlon Pro is our go-to dryer.
The fact that we can only use it for one drying and styling option does mean it lacks versatility, and if you’re particularly skilled at blow drying you likely won’t see the benefits of using it.
If it did offer more versatility, or it had been better designed, it would likely cost more, though – so we’re willing to take that hit to get salon-style performance and extra time in bed for only $60 / £60.
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