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What is a Bonnet Hood Dryer?

Pamela Pleasant
Pamela Pleasant

A bonnet hood dryer is a hair dryer that has a large plastic hood that fits over the head. It is mainly used for drying the hair, but it can also be used to enhance specific hair treatments. Rollers are usually placed in the hair and the hood distributes an air flow to dry the hair evenly. The dryer typically has two or more heat settings. A high heat setting can be used for quicker drying and a lower setting reduces heat-related damage and produces healthier-looking hair.

Using a bonnet hood dryer can be an easier way to get a more professional-looking style. The hood is designed for a person to sit under and it can be used anywhere in the home. It is sturdy and flexible, so changing positions while drying is possible, which increases comfort. This makes the dryer convenient to use.

Bonnet hood dryers are often used along with rollers.
Bonnet hood dryers are often used along with rollers.

Hot oil treatments, color enhancements and deep conditioning can be improved by using a bonnet hood dryer. When the temperature is set on a medium heat setting, conditioning treatments can become more effective. After one of these treatments, the hair can be stronger and shinier. Quicker results can be seen when frosting or highlighting the hair using this type of dryer. On a high heat setting, the chemical hair lightener intensifies in strength.

Bonnet hood dryers often work well for people who have curly or frizzy hair.
Bonnet hood dryers often work well for people who have curly or frizzy hair.

Women who have problems with chemically over-processed hair or frizzy hair can benefit by using a bonnet hood dryer. Slow drying on a mild, cool setting can work to reduce frizz and produce softer-looking hair. High heat can strip the hair’s shine and bounce. To restore it, the hair should be dried on the coolest setting possible. When a deep conditioner is used along with the bonnet hood dryer on a cool setting, the results can be dramatic.

A bonnet hood dryer should be big enough to fit around any roller set. This includes large rollers used for straightening the hair. They should also be flexible. The plastic hood and arm connector should be adjustable and the air flow should be felt even on the nape of the neck.

There are soft bonnet hair dryers that can be used to achieve the same results as the bonnet dryer. A thick plastic tube is connected to a soft inflatable plastic hood and this connects to a stationary dryer. These types of dryers are less expensive than the bonnet dryer but they usually do not last as long.

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Discussion Comments


Bonnet hood dryers are great for slowly setting a style, but it can be hard to shift position when you are under them if you have really long hair. I have this problem when I get my hair set on large rollers.

My hair is almost down to my waist, so my stylist has to use the largest rollers that she has. They stick out from my scalp probably four or five inches in all directions.

If I sit perfectly still beneath the center of the bonnet hood dryer, then they won’t touch it. If I move to cross my legs or turn my head at all, the rollers brush against the dryer. I have to take care to sit still, because I don’t want the heat source to touch my hair directly.


@kylee07drg - I can’t help but wonder if maybe the chemicals the stylist used on your hair might have been responsible for the burning, rather than the heat. If you felt the intense heat all over your head, then it might have been the bonnet hood dryer, but if it was mostly on your neck, then chemicals could have been to blame.

I got several perms as a kid, and though the stylist put a plastic cap on my rollers and stuffed cotton all around the edges to prevent the perm solution from dripping onto my skin, it seemed to leak out under the dryer. Maybe the heat made it run, but I could tell that this was what made my skin burn. The top of my head wasn’t overheated at all.


I was traumatized by bonnet hood dryers as a child. My mother would take me to a salon with a really old dryer, and the stylist would set it on high heat. I could feel my neck burning, and though I complained, they told me that it was normal!

When I got old enough to have a say in what was done with my hair, I always skipped the drying part. I would get a haircut, but I wasn’t interested in having it styled, because this would mean having to endure the giant hot dryer.

I know that today’s models are probably not as hot, and the younger stylists most likely wouldn’t set them to high heat. However, the neck burn I received as a child keeps me from trying them out.


I hesitate to use handheld blow dryers at home, because I have very long hair, and if I want to get it dry, I have to use the high heat setting. My arm would fall off from exhaustion if I used the cool setting and tried to blow dry it fully!

That’s why bonnet hood dryers are so great. I can sit down in the chair and read a magazine or pay some bills while my hair dries. If I were using a handheld dryer, I could not do anything in the meantime.

I bought a bonnet hood dryer from a salon that was going out of business. I got it for an amazingly low price, and though it is an older model, it still works great. Sometimes, my friends even come over to use it!

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    • Bonnet hood dryers are often used along with rollers.
      By: Anna Omelchenko
      Bonnet hood dryers are often used along with rollers.
    • Bonnet hood dryers often work well for people who have curly or frizzy hair.
      By: indiraswork
      Bonnet hood dryers often work well for people who have curly or frizzy hair.