A smooth operator with power aplenty and sophisticated feel
Sophisticated look and feel
Powerful, highly concentrated airflow
Ionic technology for smoothness
Upper end of the weight spectrum
Diffuser attachment sold separately
By Fiona McKim
In an age of hair dryer one-upmanship and unnecessary novelty features, the GHD Helios is one of our beauty editor’s best hair dryer picks because it sticks to the formula GHD knows best: creating sexy yet eminently useful tools that fit seamlessly into your beauty routine. This is a hair dryer that enhances your day without making a song and dance about it.
As well as looking gorgeous, the GHD Helios packs in plenty of power via a brushless motor and delivers it through an ultra-slim concentrated nozzle for quick, controlled drying. Ionic technology helps tackle frizz and flyaways, while the classic two-speed, two-heat, one-cool-shot controls offer enough variety for any home blow-dry. Much like GHDs considerable canon of some of the best hair straighteners on the market, this hair dryer isn’t reinventing the wheel. It’s resolutely of the traditional dryer mold—but the shine and smoothness that’s so easily achieved when using it certainly pushes things forward.
GHD Helios design
Eye-catching and chic. If a friend spotted the Helios in your bedroom, she’d probably ask who makes it. Unusually for a hair dryer, the GHD Helios comes in a choice of colours: black, ink blue, white, powder pink and plum. The matte finish feels lovely in the hand and the glossy branded accents and vent add a sophisticated touch.
While the size and shape of the Helios will look familiar to fans of previous GHD models, such as the Air, a few new extras elevate the design. The hanging hook is now a thick, flexible silicone loop on a hinge, rather than a rigid sphere, making it more versatile; the air filter at the back has super-fine vents; and the cool-shot button clicks on and off most satisfyingly.
GHD Helios weight and size
At nearly 2lbs (780g), this is not what you would call featherweight, but it is GHD’s lightest model yet and weighs significantly less than the GHD Air, which clocks in at a hefty 3.3lbs (1.54kg). The difference between this and other, lighter luxury models sits at about 100-200g. This is probably negligible unless you have very thick, long hair, in which case you will probably notice that extra heft after half an hour of holding it up.
With the nozzle on, the dryer measures 10in (26cm) across and exactly the same down from the middle of the barrel to the beginning of the chord. This makes it feel pleasingly balanced in the hand, enhanced by unusually well distributed weight between the handle and the head of the dryer. All of this adds up to a comfortable, easy-to-control drying experience.
GHD Helios performance
This is where the GHD Helios really shines. What it lacks in novelty bells and whistles, this dryer makes up for in speed, power, and smoothing results on the hair—which is all that most of us really want from a hair dryer anyway, isn’t it?
This power and efficiency comes down to a combination of the brushless motor, which generates super-fast frictionless airflow at 120kph, and the super-slimline nozzle, which compresses said airflow into a concentrated stream. Aim the nozzle at specific sections of hair and it will receive a highly controlled, almighty blast for ultra-fast drying and a noticeably smooth finish. This is also an ionic dryer, meaning it releases negatively-charged ions to neutralize the positive charge that causes frizz, so you can expect extra-smoothing effects from that.
A bespoke acoustic system keeps noise levels down too. Obviously, a hair dryer of this strength will never be silent, but the tone is a pleasant low-pitched hum, rather than the tinny whine of less sophisticated models.
GHD Helios controls and attachments
There is nothing newfangled about the controls here, just an ample two heat and two speed settings on an easily thumbable button, plus a cool shot to lock in your smooth style. And what a smooth style that is—the Helios is a dryer that takes control of any hair situation and would absolutely be able to tame unruly, thick styles. You can feel that strength when using it, which had the W&H beauty team divided: Some loved the satisfying feel of the force, some felt a little bit "blasted."
One tiny gripe would be the lack of extra attachments included in the price of the dryer; at $225 RRP (£159), we get the one nozzle with its ultra-slim tip for control. This is perfect for creating a smooth blow-dry style, but if you have waves, curls, or coils and want to embrace that, you will need to use a diffuser. GHD does sell a separate diffuser attachment—and a very good one too—for $41, but it does feel a touch unfair on curly-haired girls to have to spend the extra cash to enhance their natural texture.
GHD Helios specifications
Added extras: Monogramming service available for $14
Cord length: 9.8ft (3m)
Warranty: 2 years
GHD Helios verdict
If your main driving force is results (a smooth blowout, in particular), then you'll definitely be getting a lot of bang for your buck with the GHD Helios. Simple heat and speed settings and straightforward use give you a classic pick that's also quite elevated, in terms of design.
In terms of how it measures up to a higher-end model, it surprisingly holds its own. When it comes to the GHD Helios vs Dyson Supersonic, there are a lot of similarities in terms of quality and hair health, but the GHD offering is a little less comfortable to use. That being said, it's definitely worth your attention if you don't want to spend as much much money as the Supersonic affords.
Speed, efficiency, affordability, plus a cool shot option and frizz-protective ionic technology tick all the boxes in a winning no-nonsense hair dryer, and GHD brand equity ensure you're getting longevity and that renowned quality as well.
Want more? Read our Dyson Supersonic vs GHD Helios review to see how the two luxury hair dryers compare.
As woman&home's Senior Beauty Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about a brilliant beauty find on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair dye experiments and cute shih-tzus)
Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013, working under legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know about the industry (clue: learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism).
In a previous life, Fiona studied journalism back home in bonnie Scotland and honed her skills as a magazine features writer, with a brief and terrifying stint on the showbiz gossip pages of a tabloid newspaper in between. She's a skincare fanatic who can’t resist adding an extra step to her routine if it’s all the rage in Japan, loves fragrance, has fun with makeup and never turns down the chance to test a new hair tool. Basically, she loves it all.
When not slathering herself in self tan or squinting at a tiny ingredients list on a moisturiser, you’ll probably find Fiona enjoying something to do with food - cooking it, eating it, cajoling her friends into trekking across London to try a hyped pop-up in a dirty car park.
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