The Laifen Swift delivers Dyson Supersonic-style results for a fraction of the price. But the standard hair dryer only comes with one attachment. For the full range of three, you’ll need to pay a bit more.
Mallet-shaped with a lustrous metallic sheen, the Laifen Swift Special is a gorgeous-looking hairdryer. At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s a luxury beauty appliance with a hefty price tag.
But that’s the surprise: the Swift is far cheaper than you might expect.
Design and build
The Swift comes in four colours: matt black, silver blue, pearl white and ruby red. We tested the ruby red model, and it’s reminiscent of the colour of Dorothy’s slippers in the original technicolour film of The Wizard of Oz back in 1939.
In keeping with the latest hair dryer design trends, the Swift’s high-speed motor, capable of 110,000 rpm, sits within its 7in/ 18cm-long handle. The intake vent is at the bottom, just above the power cable.
Add to that a snub-nosed 3.5in/ 9cm head that can pump out up to 13 litres of air in a second, and you have a fast hair dryer with a more user-friendly, centred weight that you can employ nearer your scalp without the risk of hair getting sucked into an intake vent.
Not that this is a heavy hairdryer: at 09.lbs/ 407g, it’s much lighter than a Dyson Supersonic (1.2lbs/ 560g without attachments). Although the power cord could be a bit longer, it is still a decent 71in/ 1.8m so you should be able to reach your mirror from a plug point without resorting to an extension cable.
So far, all good.
But what of Laifen’s claims about the thermo control technology that protects hair from extreme damage, and an air speed of 22,291 metres per second? What about the negative ion technology of 200,000,000 negative ions per cm3 to boost hair shine and smoothness, and reduce frizz and dryness?
Let’s take a look at what it’s like to use.
In the box
In the box, there’s the Swift, a manual, a quality control card, and a dark grey, magnetic styling nozzle. If you opt for the Special for around $20/ £20 more, you’ll get three attachments: a diffuser, a smooth nozzle and a quick styling nozzle.
The diffuser has a diameter of 5.5in/ 14cm with air prongs that stand 0.8in/ 2cm above the tiny dispersal holes, so if you have curly or wavy hair, you really do get curl support while you dry, and the attachment dries the roots at the same time as the overall mass of hair within the diffuser disc.
The straightening attachment filters the air down to a 3.1in/ 8cm long and very narrow aperture for intense and focused drying, and the quick styling nozzle is a shorter and wider version of this attachment.
As the attachments are magnetic, you don’t need to fuss about trying to slot tabs into catches mid-blow dry. You simply put the attachment on the end and it’s ready to go.
Controls come in the form of a button and a switch on the handle of the Swift. The button, roughly where your thumb might sit, is the heat setting control. It cycles from cool to warm to hot and back; you can also long-press it to set the hair dryer to auto-cycle through the heat settings. Above it is the power switch that slides from off to speed one and speed two.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
What we particularly liked about these controls was the opportunity to fix the hair dryer on a cool setting without having to keep a button depressed with your thumb; it makes it far easier to cool dry hair for longer periods.
There’s also a ring light at the end of the dryer head that illuminates blue, orange or red, according to the heat setting. This is a nice touch as it means you can visually check in the mirror what heat you are working with, instead of having to pull the dryer away to check the button.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
Laifen states that the cool air setting is room temperature, while warm is about 50°C and hot is about 80°C, and we found this pretty accurate – be warned: the hot setting is really hot. In terms of the speed, well, speed one is rather blustery while speed two feels a bit like being caught in a tornado.
For our first test, we started with damp, below shoulder-length Northern European hair. We used speed one, with no attachments, and oscillated between warm and cool.
The hair took seven to eight minutes to dry whereas normally we would be looking at roughly ten to twelve. The speed and concentration of the air lets you focus specifically on different sections of the roots to achieve good lift. And, because of the air power, cycling warm and cool got the job done quickly.
The focus of the air stream lifts the hair at the roots as it dries, and, without an attachment, the blast of the stream cyclones the length. What this does is give you tremendous volume, body and movement, akin to a beach hair/salt spray effect, while the force also seems to separate strands in a manner that you would normally require a brush to achieve.
The hair wasn’t over-dried either. The ends brushed through well with no static or frizz, and the result was very similar to a salon-style volume blow dry. The hair looked and felt like silk, with a great subtle turn to it. The lighter weight of the hair dryer made it extremely easy to handle and manoeuvre too.
In our second test, we used the quick styling nozzle on speed one, switching between warm and cool, on the same hair, and it took six minutes from towel-dried to shaggy dry.
Again, we achieved real lift at the roots, and the hair was soft with no static. Indeed, the hair dries so fast and with such a separation of strands that it seems to feel lighter. The resulting brush-through was easy and, again, there was no dryness at the ends of the hair.
For our third test, we used the diffuser on Mediterranean soft curl hair. It was a quick dry, with very shiny results, and preserved the curls well.
In our fourth test, we used the smooth nozzle: and here we need to sound a warning. As the aperture is so narrow, the air’s heat and force are extremely concentrated – even on the warm setting, we found the temperature of the air stream to be too hot.
On a final note, we found that hair seemed smoother, shinier and was far easier to handle in terms of dressing and creating an up-do after using the Swift, which was contrary to our usual experiences with hair dryers. It also seemed to make a wash last longer, maybe because the force of the air stream allows you to go down a heat setting.
After using the Swift for a fortnight, we got the sense that the hair dryer has a kind of “setting” effect on the blow dry. Even without using any product, the root lift and turn of the hair seemed to last, particularly the curve at the ends. We wondered whether this was down to the force of the air stream, or whether the ion technology created this result. Nevertheless, we really didn’t need to use any hair spray at all.
All in all, the results achieved from the Swift were brilliant, and this hair dryer really changed our expectations of what a home blow dry could achieve.
Price and availability
The Laifen Swift is available globally from the maker’s website. It has an MSRP/ RRP of $199/£182.36 but at the time of writing, it’s available for around $30/ £27 less. However, if you can afford it, our advice would be to go for the Laifen Swift Special, which comes with three styling attachments, rather than just one. This has an MSRP/ RRP of $239.99/ £218.83, although it is currently available for around $50/ £45 less.
It doesn’t come with travel or storage accessories but you can buy a magnetic wall mount for the hair dryer and a travel bag separately.
We think this is a terrific hair dryer for the price; so much so, we’ve given it five stars. It looks great, performs well and our hair has never looked so silky or had so much body and lift.
Okay, it isn’t a budget appliance, but it isn’t as expensive as many rivals, and it really delivers the goods. If you regularly blow dry your hair, and you want a hair dryer that’s easy on your wrist and gets the job done quickly, try the Laifen Swift.
We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
For more hair care buying options, and to see how the Laifen Swift stacks up against the competition, have a look at our round-up of the best hair dryers and the best hair straighteners we’ve tested.