Hairstyles

We Tried It: A Hands-Free Hair Dryer

Find out if you really can knit a scarf, pay your phone bill and play Words with Friends while you dry your hair

The at-home blowout has always eluded me. I blame it on a lack of upper body strength and hand-eye coordination. I just can't hold a heavy blow dryer for 30 minutes straight (yeah, it takes that long to dry) and maneuver a hairbrush the way you need to get that sleek salon style. My arms turn to noodles, the dryer slips and, for the life of me, I still can't figure out how people use a rounded brush with one hand.

I saw the Calista Tools Hands-Free dryer on the Home Shopping Network and my first thought was: it's one of those As Seen On TV products that make big promises it can't possibly deliver. In an online tutorial, the majority of the models demonstrating the hair dryer had shorter, pixie-like haircuts. But would it work on my long hair?

The Tool: The Calista Tools Hands-Free Home Salon Blow Dryer can be used as your everyday, run-of-the-mill blow dryer, and it converts into a hands-free blow-dryer, allowing you to use both hands to style your hair as it dries. The dryer comes with a base, a removable handle, a diffuser attachment and a concentrator attachment, and it has the standard High/Low, Hot/Warm and cool shot settings.

How it Works: To use it as a standard blow dryer, the handle slides over the nozzle and clicks into place. For hands-free use, the open end of the dryer fits over a base. The diffuser attachment (the one that looks like a fan) snaps to the top and pivots up and down, so you can adjust it to your height.

This Is How I Wanted It To Work
I abandoned the notion of a full blowout in exchange for a more laid-back morning blow dry. In my mind, I envisioned hopping out of the shower, setting up the Calista Tools dryer, and eating breakfast while watching "Scandal" as the dryer did the rest.

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How It Actually Worked
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This dryer requires some maneuvering to set it to the right, user-friendly height. I typically get ready sitting on the ground in front of a full-length mirror, but the air stream didn't hit my hair at this level. I tried setting it on my counter and sitting on a barstool, but I was too short for the air to hit my hair. I ended up setting the hair dryer on a stack of books get the right height.

When I used the hands-free function of the dryer, I had to stand up, sit down and do some awkward yoga-like poses to get all of my hair in front of the nozzle. Hands-free, yes. Easy? Not exactly. The dryer might be pure genius for someone with shorter hair sitting on a swiveling chair, but I was only able to dry the front sections of my hair.

The hands-free feature didn't work for me, but I loved the lightweight design of the dryer -- no chance of a getting a case of tennis elbow with this one. (It's even lighter than our staff favorite -- The Harry Josh Pro Tools Dryer 2000.) The dryer's power had the same force as the Conair dryer I typically use (they're both 1875 watts). Also worth nothing: the cool shot on this dryer does actually feel cool, not lukewarm like most of the dryers I've tested. As for the dream of a perfectly styled at-home blowout? I'm sticking with a trip to the salon.
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