These days everybody and their golden retriever has a Revlon hair-dryer brush—the cult-classic drugstore hair dryer that makes it possible to give yourself a convincing blowout at home without attending a 1,600-hour cosmetology program. It’s an Amazon number one beauty best seller, it’s enjoyed both a Today-show segment and viral TikTok status, and its price rarely goes above $60—and it’s currently on sale for just $35.
But long before the Revlon renaissance of the past two years, the One-Step Hair Dryer became a logical extension of my right arm. Like Sweeney Todd, but with Lana Del Rey hair (or so I whisper to myself over the sound of my blow-dry brush).
My hair is fine and curly. Whether air-dried or maintained through a 13-step process, it looks like a quintessential “before” makeover photo. In the ’80s, it would have been considered “good hair.” Instead, the last 20 years of my life have been mainly devoted to crushing my hair between two sizzling plates of ceramic and simply burning it into a straight line. Tragically, this is bad for your hair.
Prior to discovering the Revlon hair-dryer brush, when I tried to give myself a blowout using a normal blow-dryer, I looked like Miss Piggy falling out of a taxi. It is an activity for a professional athlete, not a regular person. It did not matter how many beautiful YouTubers patiently directed me to “separate your hair into small sections and use a boar-bristle brush.” Antigravity hair chunks would simply climb into the sky around my head, as I maimed myself with a giant round brush and blasted burning air in my face.
My hair and I tried for a new start in college. The summer before my first year, I stalked my assigned roommate on Facebook before orientation week, gasping at her perfect, glossy, honey-blond hair that fell around her shoulders like a master’s fingers falling onto a piano. I imagined sleeping four feet away from The Most Popular Girl in High School for the first year of my adult life, while playing with my hair, which on my wedding day will not look as good as hers.
But defying all logic and reason, my roommate was nice. And she introduced me to one of her hair secrets: the Revlon One-Step.
Revlon Hair-Dryer Brush Tutorials
She showed me, patiently, how to wait until your hair is mostly dry—so it saves time and minimizes damage—to wrap sections around the brush and gently pull it through. Even though her hair air-dried like a model’s, she used the Revlon One-Step sometimes when she was in a rush. And she let me use it whenever I wanted to, which turned out to be every time I washed my hair.
My close partnership with the Revlon blow-dryer brush has continued, uninterrupted, since that year. It does not require the free-flowing artistry and biceps strength of a regular hair-dryer-round-brush-blowout combo, but it produces the closest thing I am ever going to get to an at-home blowout.
I twist the hair in the front of my head to add face-framing waves. Or I turn my hair upside down and brush it through the roots, to make it look giant. Sometimes I’m in a rush and I sort of violence the brush through my hair, slamming it against my scalp. When I have time, I blow it straightish and touch it up with a hair straightener. I spray dry shampoo at the roots, and suddenly my hair is the size of a boombox and I am in charge of the entire state of Texas.
The hair-dryer brush is strangely forgiving of all this—in the end my hair becomes soft and floaty and more voluminous, without the burning smell or harsh damage of taking a straightener to my entire head. I swish my hair and it settles over my shoulder, perfectly cascaded just so.
Revlon Hair Dryer Brush Before & After Photos
The One-Step has reduced my dependence on paying for blowouts in a salon. I love a professional blowout, but they’re an extreme luxury—for $70 you look like second-half-of-the-movie Mia Thermopolis (which is, in fact, my goal), but you lose it the moment you do any normal activity, like run-walk quickly or experience weather. Getting regular blowouts is like repeatedly buying dozens of Mylar balloons: fun! But unsustainable. Meanwhile, I have replaced my One-Step once in almost 10 years (it didn’t break; I tragically lost it).
My former roommate has shaved her head. It looks as cool as her blond waves did years ago. Maybe one day I’ll put down my deep conditioners and heat-protectant sprays and hot tools and follow her lead yet again. But until then it will just be me and my Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer Brush, the beauty tool that has lasted me longer than any apartment, job, or hair length. It’s the most dependable and affordable blow-dry brush. It always withstands being stuffed into carry-ons and dropped on the ground. And it always makes me feel, just for a few days, like one of those cool girls who have effortlessly, enchantingly great hair.
Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot Air Brush
Looking for more incredible product recommendations? Check out all 265 winners from the 2021 Glamour Beauty Awards.
Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour. You can follow her on Twitter.Internet Explorer Channel Network