GHD Helios hair dryer review: slick, smooth, and reassuringly familiar

Considering buying the GHD Helios? Here's everything you need to know

GHD Helios
(Image credit: GHD)
Woman & Home Verdict

A smooth operator with power aplenty and sophisticated feel

Reasons to buy
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    Sophisticated look and feel

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    Powerful, highly concentrated airflow

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    Ionic technology for smoothness

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    User-friendly controls

Reasons to avoid
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    Upper end of the weight spectrum

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    Diffuser attachment sold separately

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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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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, and is unlikely to make one of the best travel hair dryers. 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 

GHD Helios hair dryer white


(Image credit: GHD)
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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
Watts: 2200W 
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. Comparing the ghd with the 'new kid on the block' Zuvi Halo hair dryer, we found the Helios offered far more satisfying speed and power. 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 more bulky and 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. 

Fiona McKim
Beauty Editor, womanandhome.com

 As woman&home's Beauty Channel Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about brilliant finds on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair experiments and cute shih-tzus). Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013 under industry legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know (learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). She has since covered every corner of the industry, from interviewing dermatologists and celebrities to reporting backstage at Fashion Week and judging the w&h Beauty Awards.