When you have long, thick hair, drying it is tedious and time-consuming. I’m a busy gal, so I’ll admittedly try anything that promises to shorten the process—hence why I agreed to test this ridiculous, self-oscillating Panasonic hair dryer that also supposedly reduces frizz by shooting “tiny, moisture-rich particles” at my mane.
The marquee feature of the $150 Panasonic Nanoe Salon Hair Dryer (EH-NA67-W) is an “oscillating quick-dry nozzle” attachment that whips from side to side as you blow-dry. The idea is that you get more even heat dispersion and therefore, no hot spots. Theoretically, that means less heat damage to your hair and scalp—plus, no scorched fingers. On top of the quick-dry nozzle, you also get a diffuser and a concentrated nozzle. Lastly, Panasonic claims the hair dryer draws moisture from the air and then shoots your hair with tiny “nanoe” particles that hold up to 1000 times more water than regular ions used by ionic hair dryers. This purportedly results in smoother, more hydrated hair even though you’re blasting hot air at your head. The concept is similar to ionic hair dryers, which claim to produce millions of negatively charged ions that break up positively charged water molecules to quickly dry hair without frizz.
Like I said, I’ll try anything.
I admit I didn’t expect much from the Panasonic Nanoe Hair Dryer (EH-NA67-W). It looks like a regular blow-dryer when you unbox it, albeit with a sleeker design than what you’ll find at the drugstore. (Though not as sleek as Dyson’s $400 Supersonic hair dryer.) Up top is where you’ll find the vent that shoots the nanoe particles. There’s also an LED indicator light on the side, presumably so you know the nanoe particles are there because, well, you can’t see them with the naked eye. The nozzles are easy to attach and detach. What I liked most about the design were the dual switches that let you customize between three heat and two speed settings.
A small disclaimer before I get into the hair dryer’s performance: I’m not a whiz at hair-styling. In pre-pandemic times, my hair stylists would always shake their heads and cluck their tongues when they saw me coming. They’d chastise me for shampooing too often, not trimming my split ends, and for failing to use moisturizing products beyond conditioner. In my defense, I’m lazy and the world of hair care is expensive and baffling. All I really want in a hair dryer is something simple that’ll quickly take me from dripping to dry without turning my hair into frizzy straw. So far, I haven’t had much luck.
On average, it takes about 30 minutes to dry my thick, waist-length hair with my ancient Conair ionic dryer—and that’s after wrapping it in a microfiber cloth for about 10 minutes to get all the extra water out. If I’m air drying, it takes about two hours. With the Panasonic, however, it took roughly 10 minutes if I used my microfiber wrap and 15-16 minutes if I started blowdrying right out of the shower. (That’s if I’m using the high speed/hot temperature settings. It takes longer if I’m using the warm or cool temperature or the low-speed setting.) My husband has fine, shoulder-length hair and on the warm/high setting, it takes him about 3-5 minutes to go from wet to dry.
That’s a significant time savings and something I deeply appreciate, especially during the winter. I should mention, however, the quick-dry nozzle makes an odd noise (as you can see in the video). It’s less noticeable when you’re actually using it, but a “quiet” hair dryer, this is not. When I showed the video to my fellow Gizmodo staffers, some were pretty put off by the sound. It’s also an adjustment to keep your hand still and let the nozzle do the work for you. The first few times, I had to stop myself from moving my hand at all. And as effective as the nozzle is, I’m not quite sure I’ll ever get over how bizarre it looks in action.
As I mentioned, I’m not gifted when it comes to advanced hairstyling, so while I tried the diffuser and concentrator attachments, I can’t comment meaningfully on how well they work. I guess my hair was wavier when I used the diffuser and it didn’t burn my scalp. I tried and failed to give myself a blowout using the concentrating attachment, but I attribute that more to me and my lack of skill than the hair dryer itself. And for my curly-haired friends, if you want a pick attachment, this doesn’t come with one.
It’s equally hard to judge whether the whole nanoe particle thing is legit tech, marketing bullshit, or if my lack of hair styling skills impacted the results I got. After all, I can’t see the microscopic particles. I can only look at the final result and compare how it stacks up to the other hair dryers I’ve used in my life. What I can say is ionic hair dryers have never worked for me and I don’t think this nanoe stuff does either. At best, my hair was marginally less poofy, but the truth is it wasn’t ever as sleek or shiny as when I recently got a blowout for another blog. And while I would’ve loved it if this blow dryer solved my frizz problems, I have a feeling I won’t ever have sleek hair until I learn how to properly use masks and hair oils.
When you consider that most hair dryers on Amazon cost well under $50, forking over three times as much for the Panasonic is a lot to ask. Whether that $150 is worth it will depend on your lifestyle. If you’re someone who spends a lot of time and money on your hair, this hair dryer costs about as much as the ones used in professional hair salons. From that lens, if you want to invest in a high-quality styling tool, you’re not paying something out of the ordinary. Plus, it’s way cheaper than the $400 Dyson Supersonic, though the Dyson is quieter and offers more in terms of fancy tech and design.
Personally, I absolutely love how quickly this dries my hair but I probably wouldn’t shell out just for the time savings. Time is money, sure, but not that much money. Again, I can’t even be bothered to shell out $10 for a bottle of argan oil like my hairdressers keep begging me to, let alone a high-tech hair dryer. But now that I have it? I will use this hair dryer for the next 20 years, or until it breaks, whichever comes first.