If a product promises to make my hair look better in under 20 minutes and costs less than $50, it will invariably catch my eye. That's why, at the beginning of 2020, I bought the viral Revlon One-Step blow dryer brush—and why, less than a year later, I also purchased a different model from the brand that I grew to love even more. Revlon's Ionic Hot Air Brush Kit ($25, was $32; amazon.com) is now my go-to hair tool for at-home blowouts—and it's almost half the price of the more popular Revlon device.
I was happy with how quickly the Revlon One-Step ($42, was $60; amazon.com) made my hair smooth and straight; my naturally wavy mane had more body than when I styled it with a flat iron, and it took less than 15 minutes to do. Since I've always struggled to blow out my hair at home (I'm not yet coordinated enough to hold a round brush in one hand and a blow dryer in the other), the One-Step made what I once considered an impossible task feel impossibly easy.
But then, a few posts on TikTok made me wonder if there was a better tool for my hair. In October 2020, user @russah posted a video styling her hair with the One-Step on one side and Revlon's Ionic Hot Air Brush on the other. The One-Step's results were sleek and smooth, but the Ionic created voluminous curls—the exact style I had in mind when i initially bought the former. Other videos showed TikTok users having just as much success with the cheaper Revlon tool, and I was quickly sold.
I bought the Revlon Ionic brush along with a set of velcro hair rollers (if I was going to try it, I might as well commit). Once it arrived, I coated my damp, air-dried hair with a few sprays of heat protectant and worked in sections to create loose curls with the Ionic brush, which I then wrapped in velcro rollers. After about 10 minutes of letting them cool, I took my hair down—and though I had high expectations for the Ionic, they were still surpassed. My hair was bouncy, silky, and volumized in a way that I'd never been able to achieve at home before.
There are a few key differences between the two that made me prefer the Ionic. When using the One-Step, I often struggled to get the bottom layer of my hair totally straight because the large size of the brush made it difficult to get close enough to my scalp. Despite my best efforts, a cowlick on the back of my head inevitably stayed wavy, and sometimes, I ended up pulling out my flat iron for a quick once-over.
The Ionic comes with two interchangeable brush heads, and their smaller sizes(1 and 1.5-inches wide) allowed me to d get a better grip on my hair, resulting in fewer missed spots. The smaller diameter also helps my hair curl better (even when I don't let it set in velcro rollers). It's been especially useful for styling my shorter face-framing layers (a.k.a curtain bangs, which, yes, I also got because of TikTok).
"I used to blow dry then use the curling iron every day and it took forever and made my hair a crisp disaster," one reviewer said. "Now I get amazing, soft, bouncy curls that last FOR ACTUAL DAYS."
Revlon's One-Step may be a viral hit, but it's about time that the Ionic Hot Air Brush Kit steals the spotlight and gets its due as a hair-styling wonder.
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