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The only hair tool I bother to use anymore is on sale for only $34 right now

Left: My natural hair texture; right: After using the Revlon One-Step brush.

Karisa Langlo/CNET

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.

If there’s one type of person I can’t relate to, it’s those with the manual dexterity to wrangle a round brush and a blow dryer in elegant choreography to achieve smooth, voluminous, salon-quality blowouts. (French braid wizardry is a close second.) Without the addition of a third arm, my options have always been flat-ironing all the personality out of my hair, curling it until I look like Dolly Parton, or wearing it au naturel and having to reassure everyone that I haven’t just been electrocuted. Or I suppose I could spend an arm and a leg at a blow-dry bar. But as I’ve established, I need to grow an arm, not spend one.

Revlon’s blow-dry brush does the work of a round brush and a blow dryer in one.

Enter the Revlon One Step Volumizer Hot Air Brush. I saw this hair tool trending on TikTok over the summer, shortly after discovering that my side part and skinny jeans had gone out of style without my consent. I swiped through TikTok videos from trendy Gen Z’ers evangelizing the brush, which they said does the work of both a round brush and a blow dryer, effectively giving you one of your arms back. I was in a vulnerable state of geriatric millennial malaise, and the brush was on sale for Prime Day. I took the bait. 

Read more: Best hair dryer for 2021

I identify as Type-2B wavy, with added frizz from a humid climate and postpartum regrowth flyaways. My hair is large and in charge, a veritable mane, a cousin to Cousin Itt. I went as Lorde for Halloween once, with creditable resemblance. I’ve impulse-purchased countless hair tools, accessories and products over the years — Curlformers, Bumpits, Hairagami, the Revo Styler — many of which didn’t work properly on thick hair (the era of butterfly clips was particularly trying for me). And after falling down the TikTok rabbit hole, I fully expected the Revlon brush to be similarly disappointing. 

To my surprise, the learning curve was but a small berm, and my hair looked almost salon-sleek after just one try. I found a lot of overlapping muscle memory from years of curling iron use, and with the help of a few TikTok tutorials, I am now able to achieve both a bouncy, wavy look and a straighter style from the same tool. I like that curly styles with the Revlon brush aren’t too Cowardly Lion and straight styles aren’t limp either. And I love that I can dry and style my hair at once, saving not only time but also potential heat damage.

Read more: 8 of the best beauty tools to gift this year

Here’s how the Revlon One Step Volumizer Hot Air Brush works: Like a round brush, the One-Step Volumizer is round — elliptical, actually — and covered with soft bristles for smoothing sections of hair as it passes over. And like a hair dryer, the tool blows hot air from inside the brush, drying your hair and setting the curl (with three heat settings) as it goes. Unlike competitors like the Dyson Airwrap, Revlon’s two-in-one doesn’t come with any attachments, and it won’t “auto-wrap” your hair. It’s also only about 10% of the price, retailing for $60 and currently on Black Friday sale for as low as $34.

These days I still battle a bit of frizz at my roots — Revlon’s large barrel does make it difficult to get very close to your scalp — but it’s nothing a once-over with a curling iron and a dollop of product can’t remedy. Other than that, I’ve scarcely used any other hair tools since purchasing the Revlon blow-dryer brush five months ago. And not a single person has asked if I’ve recently been electrocuted.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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