Chalk it up to the iPhone update effect, but every time a hair tool boasts brand-new technology we don’t quite understand, we get this feeling that it’s probably going to change our lives. Ionic hair dryers are nothing new to the market, but make some pretty lofty claims with the ability to reduce your drying time and eliminate frizz, but the question still remains—what do ions actually do for your hair? Throwing it back to your high school science class, an ion is a molecule with either a positive or negative electrical charge, and your hair naturally has areas that are positively charged due to dryness from chemical treatments or heat styling. The positive ions cause your hair cuticle to open up, meaning the drier your hair, the more positive its charge.
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Ionic hair dryers, on the other hand, emit negative ions. As you pass the blow-dryer over your layers, the negative ions cancel out the positive ones. Your hair cuticle lays flat and can be re-sealed, so as a result, you’ll see a major reduction in frizz. Negative ions also impact just how quickly your hair dries, making ionic dryers ideal for those of us who can’t deal with juggling a round brush for half an hour. On contact with the H2O molecules in your strands, the ions break them up into smaller pieces and allow the water to evaporate faster. We’re considering this proof that, at least in the hair tool category, being negative isn’t always a bad thing.