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The Secret to Great Hair? Hot Air.
Some things from the '70s are best left for dead (what's up, coke spoon?). But the BLOW DRYER is ready for a comeback.

by Ross K. Urken

The first time I used a blow dryer, it was an emergency. I swear. I'd been caught in a downpour and entered our office's greenroom soaked. (I cover finance and occasionally appear on-air in our TV studio.) First, I picked up the device and trained its business end on my socks. Then, making sure the coast was clear, I aimed it at my mane. My hair is typically a thatch that springs up like a windswept Pomeranian. Volume for days, but messy.

Could I harness this power? I planned to answer that question in a weeklong experiment. Most men avoid blow dryers -- they can feel cheesy, vain, girlie -- but experts swear by them. "It's great for volume, control, and frizz," Julien Farel, stylist to guys like Roger Federer, told me. Was he full of hot air?

I asked around. My actor friend from North Dakota lays on the American Crew pomade extra thick, but the blow dryer, like anal sex, is a whole new frontier. "I'm 37 and from the Midwest," he texted. "I wouldn't know what to do." My best bud said he used a blow dryer in high school "to mitigate extreme frizziness" but always felt embarrassed by it.

Bereft of real advice, I saw a professional. At Drybar in Lower Manhattan, a blowatrix named Emma gave my locks the soaring lift of Santiago Calatrava's nearby Oculus building. She taught me how to give my hair an overall dry and then control it: sweeping back the hair on the sides and using the nozzle to tousle the hair on my nape. The results earned me a workplace nickname: "Rossi with the Good Hair."

Blow dryers being something of a power tool, people took an interest in my hardware. "Bro, did you get the Dyson?" everyone seemed to ask. The Dyson Supersonic has Maserati-level power that frightened me. Instead, I used a T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i ($250; t3micro.com). Its fast-drying tech cuts a ten-minute chore to five.

By Thursday, I felt as comfortable with my blow dryer as Gene Autry with a Colt revolver. That morning, my wife and I blow-dried our hair side by side. "This is kind of weird," she said. Come Friday, I was back to my unruly look. I may have lost style points, but at least I gained enough time to savor my morning coffee.

THE GOODS: What to buy if you're dry-curious

If you want good hair and there's no woman in your life you can steal from, you're gonna have to make a purchase. Here are some more options to get you started.

Baby Buttercup - $135; thedrybar.com
If you're committed enough to travel with a blow dryer, this 13-ounce dynamo puts hotel models to shame.

Elchim 3900 Healthy Ionic - $195; amazon.com
Lightweight, with a manly black-and-chrome finish, the Elchim uses far infrared heat -- meaning it'll dry your hair, not fry it.

Dyson Supersonic - $400; dyson.com
Dyson invested $71 million to design a device that's whisper-quiet and turbo-powered. Plus, it kind of looks like a ray gun.
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