It’s been eight years since GHD released its first hair dryer, the GHD Air, and it is back for another go with the GHD Helios.
In that time, the GHD Air has consistently featured in lists of best hair dryers despite offering the same technology and features as it did in 2012, testament to its quality and how ahead of the curve it was at the time of launch. GHD also learned a few lessons from the release, and subsequent discontinuing, of a second dryer called the GHD Aura.
The GHD Helios is the culmination of these lessons, developed over two and a half years by a team of physicists and engineers, and it’s set to challenge the likes of Dyson to the best hair dryer crown.
See how the GHD Helios compares to the rest, including the Dyson Supersonic, in our best hair dryers mega-test
Here are six things you need to know before buying it.
The GHD Helios is absolutely stunning
GHD is renowned for making stylish products but the Helios may be its most attractive yet. Its plastic shell is smooth, almost like silicone or velvet, to the touch. There are beautiful little additions, from the chrome-plated GHD clip on its hanging loop to the branded grille. Even its heating element has an industrial beauty to it. We never thought we would be this enamoured by a hair dryer (or any inanimate object for that matter), but GHD has nailed it.
There’s a hell of a lot of tech inside the GHD Helios
In its marketing materials, GHD waxes lyrical about how its so-called AeroPrecis technology makes the Helios lighter, faster and more precise than anything that has come before. The shape and size of the holes in the grille are engineered to reduce noise; the impeller has been designed to increase velocity; the stator vanes work to direct this beam of air towards the hair and the whole system maximises power while keeping noise and hair damage to a minimum.
Consequently, the Helios is noticeably much quieter than many of its rivals. Our hair feels strong with few visible split ends after each use and it’s the fastest dryer we’ve ever used. And we've tried a lot.
Its nozzle was inspired by the wingtips of airplanes
To direct the Helios’ superfast beam of air, GHD has redesigned the nozzle to mimic the wings of a plane. Tips on the wings of planes curve ever so slightly to reduce air turbulence and the GHD Helios’ nozzle does too. As the 75mph wind flows from the shaft, the curved edge of the nozzle works to both channel its direction and reduce turbulence. Turbulent air is what causes frizz and flyaways, and this explains why the Helios leaves our hair smooth and shiny every time.
Even the holes in the GHD Helios’ grille have been patented
Who knew that the shape, size and design of a hole could be so crucial to a product’s design that it needs to be patented? GHD told Shortlist it went through many iterations and tested multiple combinations of hole shape, size and positioning and the different sizes of holes in the grille, and their positioning, are designed to maximise air intake.
The edges of these holes are also concave in shape, rather than sharp and flat, in order to reduce the noise coming from the GHD Helios’ motor. Which they do.
The GHD Helios is fast, like crazily so
Dyson’s Supersonic hair dryer set the benchmark for how fast a hair dryer could dry our hair and the GHD Helios smashed its speeds out of contention. Using the combination of internal tech, the nozzle and the design of the grille, the Helios took our hair from wet from the shower to dry in one minute and six seconds.
That’s a whole minute faster than the Dyson, which itself is more than a minute faster than most of the rivals we’ve tested. What’s more, the Helios doesn’t do this at the sacrifice of hair quality. Our hair was smooth and shiny each time, even without using any styling products. Game-changer.
In pursuit of smooth, you sacrifice bounce
The only major criticism we have of the GHD Helios is that in its pursuit of giving us smooth, shiny hair it can leave it looking a little flat; lacking in volume and bounce. The Helios is so precise, and so fast in its drying power that the hair is almost flattened into submission. If you have thick, unruly hair this will likely not be a problem but for our fine hair, it was disappointing.
Whether a product is expensive or not is somewhat relative – if you compare the GHD Helios’ style, performance and technology to the £300 Dyson Supersonic, it comes in at half the price for an equally fantastic finish so can be considered an absolute bargain.
If you compare it to the likes of the £60 Panasonic Nanoe or even the £35 BaByliss Salon Light, you’re getting better performance and next-level tech, sure, but it’s not up to five times better. Ultimately it’s down to budget but if it is an option, we’d recommend the Helios over any other dryer we’ve used.