Thursday, October 24, 2013

No bees in this bonnet

 When the temperature drops I instinctively gravitate towards household appliances that create warmth, like my oven, slow cooker, and—of course—hair dryer.

I do my hair regularly with wet sets to get a nice head of curls in the early evening. My hair is dry by the morning, but a few minutes of blow drying using a soft bonnet dryer makes the curls last even longer.

Except for us retro gals, most women are shying away from hairstyles requiring curlers, so I frequently see bonnet dryers in thrift stores. In Germany I bought two with the aim of comparing an older model from Krups and a newer model from Braun. Both have long cords and portable drying units so you can walk around while drying your 'do.

Krups Solitair 466

Pros: Looks. Detachable drying unit.

Cons: Loud and stinky.

Even I, the vintage fanatic, could not bear to use this Krups Solitair more than a couple times. The dryer's motor almost made me go deaf, and the plastic hood emitted smelly fumes when heated. Too bad, but this handsome unit is going back to the donation pile.

Still, here are some pictures to enjoy, since its packaging is lovely:

The Germans have a lovely name for soft bonnet dryers: "Schwebehaube," which means "floating hood."

Purchased March 2, 1981 at 3:14 pm!

Instruction Booklet (1)
Instruction Booklet (2)

Braun HLH 18 Classic

Pros: Small, silent, and effective. Lighter than the Krups. Relatively odorless.

Cons: Boring look

If you want something reliable to get the job done, this is the dryer for you.

My favorite travel bonnet dryer

This simple and inexpensive black nylon bonnet dryer hood attaches to your handheld hair dryer. The results I've gotten with it have been consistently good. The nylon fabric won't tear as easily as plastic, and it takes up little space, so it's a great travel accessory. You can buy one here for around $9.

Bonus! Krups Appliance Catalog

This appliance catalog came with my Krups hair dryer. Take a look at the "newest" offerings from the early 80s...


  1. Wow I never knew about bonnet dryers! Genial! Thank you for sharing and greetings from Italy

  2. I'm amazed the Krups dryer is so loud with the motor so far away from the ears. It looks so comfortable at least in the photos. I have a Braun floating bonnet dryer where the motor is on top. Its also too loud. I'll have to blog about it.

    1. Yes, do blog about your Braun bonnet dryer! Some of these gadgets could cause permanent hearing damage with prolonged use, they're that bad. Do you think the motors get louder as they age, or have they improved the technology in recent decades? Have you tried any really new models? Now that I think about it, there are lots of noisy regular blow dryers out there, too...

  3. I love my hair in rollers too, I have a braun HLH20


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