An article published by the Daily Telegraph this week highlighted a European Commission report that potentially aims to cap the power that hairdryers can utilise.

Findings by environmental research body Oeko-Institut studied 46 hairdryer models and found that the power can range from 960W to 2100W (an average of 1,937W). When calculated against an average use time of 12 minutes, this concluded an estimated energy consumption of 78 kWh in a year. To put that into perspective, it's the equivalent of 546 hours of TV or putting your phone on to charge for one hour over 20,000 times.

The report then goes on to say that the "improvement potential" for power saving is 30%. The speculation that high-power hairdryers could be restricted comes from a previous move made on vacuum cleaners which takes effect this week, banning manufacture or import on models that have motors exceeding 1,600W.

Speaking to the Telegraph, former National Hairdressers' Federation president Mark Coray raised concerns over the warning, saying that not only are high-power hairdyers quicker and more efficient, but the reduced drying time means a lower risk of repetitive strain injury. Coray uses a 2,100W model in his salon, and I'm going to hazard a guess that this model is similar to, if not the same as, my own...

left: ghd air™ - a 2100W model
right: the new ghd aura™ - only 1,600W

My current hairdryer is the ghd air™ and I love it. The heat and speed of the airflow means that not only are my blow-dries quiker, but the hair takes shape much more quickly and lasts longer, and this in turn means there's less over-working, static or damage. Put simply, it's designed to give a brilliant blow-dry, and very quickly. For all these reasons, that makes the prospect of lowering the power of high-performance hairdryers a scary one.

However, the new ghd aura™, realeased only a few months ago, claims to utilise a more concentrated, and more comfortable, stream of air and yet it's lighter and quieter, making it an even better hairdryer, and at just 1,600W. That's 500W lower than the previous model.

Another interesting point is that if you take the 2,300W maximum from this research and reduce it by 30%, you land at 1,610W - meaning that one of the market's most advanced and up-to-date products falls within the potential cap.

So really, this is a question of how fast innovative technology can keep up with eco-conscious production.

At this stage, though, nothing is finalised. According to the EC's energy spokesperson, Marlene Holzner, this report is just in draft stage and hairdryers might not even make the final list of products that end up being capped, which may include smartphones, wifi routers, kettles and patio heaters. Speaking to the Telegraph, “it’s a big question mark if we go to regulate hairdryers at all. It’s a study we have asked consultants to do. In the final report they will reduce 30 products to 20. In January 2015 we will look at these recommendations then select from this list what to regulate and how.”


EC Report: