January 30, 2023

Let me first start by saying that I use my Dyson Airwrap every time I wash my hair. It really is a great product. With heaps of different attachments available to deliver whatever effect your heart so desires, it delivers good bang for its buck. However, the attachments the Airwrap is best known for, the barrels that utilise Dyson’s Coanda technology to create big, bouncy volume, are by far my least favourite. You see, my hair is thin, poker-straight and long, meaning that finding ways to give my hair volume with as little effort as humanly possible is a pretty high beauty priority for me.

But the truth is I find the barrel attachments a bit of a nuisance. The barrels that came with my version of the tool, for starters, are quite short, and Dyson charges more for longer barrels (something long hair definitely needs). And when you’re paying £450 for a hair tool, I find it somewhat distasteful for a brand to charge more for necessary add-ons. On top of that, my thin, fine hair just doesn’t seem to want to hold any sort of curl or bounce that the Airwrap creates. Instead, I find myself turning to the smoothing brush, which blow-dries my hair to look sleek, shiny and glossy.

Best volumising hair tools: Shannon Lawlor

After using Amika Hair Round Blow Dryer Brush.

And with the Airwrap currently out of stock everywhere (might Dyson be up to something?), I have never had more people come to me for advice. In fact, Is the Airwrap worth the money? is potentially my most-asked beauty question of 2022 so far. And my answer is always the same. Hype aside, if your hair doesn’t hold an in-salon blow-dry particularly well, the Airwrap isn’t for you. In fact, as a rule, I’d go as far as to say that a blow-dry with an Airwrap holds for approximately half the time of a salon one (which, granted, uses strand-damaging levels of heat).

Look, £450 is an eye-watering amount of money to spend on a hair tool. If you get regular blow-dries, then yes, the Airwrap is probably worth it. However, if, like me, you have hair that struggles to hold volume, you’re far better off saving your money and trying other things. Cheaper things.

My TikTok is currently flooded with Airwrap alternatives—many of which are fake products whose reviews might suggest they are unfit for purpose from a health-and-safety perspective. (Can anyone smell burning?) Whether you’re looking for Airwrap-like volume with longer hold or want to test the waters with something more affordable, I promise you there are tools out there. To prove it, I just tried the best around. Keep scrolling to discover what they are and see which might be best for you.

1. Revlon Pro One Step Dryer & Volumiser

The Best Budget-Friendly Volumising Hair Tool

Revlon Pro Collection One-Step Dryer & Volumiser
Revlon Pro Collection
One-Step Dryer & Volumiser

This guy has had big praise on TikTok, and I can see why. It’s a powerful dryer and gives hair a really great lift at the roots. The big barrel definitely lends itself to curly hair and would make for a great smoothing option to save straightening hair after drying it. It doesn’t give a huge amount of curl to the ends, but the volume at the roots made up for it. 

2. T3 Airebrush Duo

The Best Volumising Hair Tool for Blow-Dry Curls

T3 Airebrush Duo Blow Dry Brush
Airebrush Duo Blow Dry Brush

Trust me to find the most expensive tool the most impressive. To be honest, I am so impressed with this that I can see myself picking it up over my Airwrap. If you want proper curls, like the ones the barrel attachment on the Airwrap will give, then you’re not going to get that here. However, what the T3 Airebrush does do that the Airwrap does not is smooth the hair and give it really impressive volume from the root. With two brush attachments, one for wavy ends and one for straight, it really does compete with the Dyson. Plus, it glides through the hair better than any other tool I’ve ever tried and doesn’t cause a hint of knotting.

3. Babyliss Hydro-Fusion Air Styler

The Best Volumising Hair Tool for Avoiding Tangles

Babyliss Hydro Fusion Hot Air Styler
Hydro Fusion Hot Air Styler

The thing I love the most about this tool is that the brush spins. You can control which way you want it to turn and when with the click of a button. It means you can get the brush right up to the root with ease, and you don’t have to faff around with trying to unravel the hair—just switch the rotation in the other direction, and it does it for you. In terms of results, you get great lift, but you’ll need another hairbrush on hand to smooth the hair before you put it through your lengths.

4. Amika Hair Round Blow Dryer Brush

The Best Volumising Hair Tool for Speed

Amika Hair Round Blow Dryer Brush
Hair Round Blow Dryer Brush

This tool comes in close second to the T3 Airebrush Duo. The barrel is ginormous, which made me think it wasn’t going to be up my street—I was so wrong. In fact, the big barrel means I dried my whole head in record timing. It does a great job at curling ends over or under and didn’t tangle in my lengths in the slightest. I have a few friends with curly hair that also love this brush for smoothing curls on washday. It is also impressively lightweight, which really helps combat aching arms.

5. Hot Tools Volumiser 2-in-1 Brush & Dryer

The Best Smoothing Volumising Hair Tool

Hot Tools Black Gold Volumiser 2-In-1 Brush & Dryer
Hot Tools
Black Gold Volumiser 2-In-1 Brush & Dryer

If you’re looking for a tool that will dry your hair with volume and smooth it at the same time, this one is probably your best bet. It looks almost identical to the aforementioned Revlon brush, but the results are remarkably different. For starters, it doesn’t do quite such a good job at curling through longer hair (which mine is). However, it dries hair very quickly and leaves strands looking seriously silky and smooth.

6. GHD Rise Professional Hot Brush

The Best Everyday Volumising Hair Tool

Ghd Rise Professional Hot Brush
Rise Professional Hot Brush

I love this product. In fact, it just might be my favourite GHD tool ever (sorry, Platinum+ Styler). If you have long hair and struggle to get a decent curl from your blow-dry, I assure you that this will fix the issue. Unlike the other tools on this list, it should be used on dry hair, meaning the heat intensity can be higher. You can use it simply to give your roots a little bit of a lift and curl under the ends, but I love wrapping my ends around it for a big, bouncy curl that lasts all day.

Shop Volumising Styling Products

R+Co Rodeo Star Thickening Style Foam
Rodeo Star Thickening Style Foam

Ideal for fine to medium hair, this styling foam can be worked into damp roots for lifted volume without any tackiness. Plus, the smell is totally dreamy.

Living Proof Full Dry Volume & Texture Spray
Living Proof
Full Dry Volume & Texture Spray

Without a doubt one of the most effective volumising hair products I have ever used, just spray this stuff wherever you want some textured lift.

Ghd Pick Me Up Root Lift Spray
Pick Me Up Root Lift Spray

This is the perfect product to apply to damp hair before you use one of the above tools. It guarantees longer-lasting hold.

Color Wow Xtra Large Bombshell Volumizer
Color Wow
Xtra Large Bombshell Volumizer

Apply this foam to damp hair before styling for lightweight but high-impact volume. 

Hershesons Zhoosh Foam
Zhoosh Foam

I have never used a product quite like this one. Apply the foam to dry hair and work in with fingers. Hair will feel wet at first but quickly dry with a lifting grit that makes styling a breeze.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray
Dry Texturizing Spray

This stuff is painfully spendy, but it really is the Rolls-Royce of volumising texture sprays.

Bumble and Bumble Surf Foam Spray Blow Dry
Bumble and Bumble
Surf Foam Spray Blow Dry

I am already a big fan of Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Salt Spray, but I’ll admit it is quite tacky for fine-haired people like me. This foam, however, is perfect. Mist it on to damp hair for the same texturising effects of a salt spray, just with lots more moisture.

Amika Plus Size Perfect Body Mousse
Plus Size Perfect Body Mousse

I have never been a huge fan of mousse, but this stuff has changed my mind. It gives volume, bounce and lift without turning hair sticky and stiff.

Virtue Volumizing Primer
Volumizing Primer

This primer can be sprayed on damp hair before styling to improve hair memory and also help prevent breakage.

Davines More Inside This Is a Blow Dry Primer
More Inside This Is a Blow Dry Primer

This stuff doesn’t just help detangle damp hair but also gives roots a volumising lift and makes your blow-dry last even longer.

Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Root Powder
Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Root Powder

Potentially one of the best volumising haircare ranges around, Blossom & Bloom from Briogeo smells just as good as it makes your hair look. This root powder is ideal for mopping up excess oil and giving strands a volumising boost.

Next up, 15 haircuts that will trick people into thinking you have three times more hair.