Worth It: CHI’s Lava Pro Hair Dryer

The CHI Lava Pro is an advanced dryer that offers the latest in technology and design.

CHI Lava Pro Hair Dryer
(Image credit: CHI)

Welcome back to Worth It, our weekly seal of approval on noteworthy launches and bespoke collaborations in the worlds of beauty and fashion. If it's featured here, consider these investments worthwhile.

The Promise

Ten years ago, I was a serious CHI devotee. At the time I wore my very coily hair silky straight and the combination of CHI Thermal Protection Spray, CHI Silk Infusion serum, and the Original Ceramic Hair Straightening Flat Iron was the only trio that would help me achieve—and maintain—super smooth strands. It’s no secret that the brand has been a staple on women’s vanities for years, and I can attest as not only a user but a beauty director, that the original flat iron is still one of the best tools for straightening thick, curly hair. 

Now, the Houston-based company is adding a new hair dryer to its family of heat tools—one that promises to reduce drying time while producing a stronger air flow of up to 110,000 rpm/min. I’m not a hairstylist, and I’m definitely not a physicist, but when I heard those numbers I was intrigued. 

What's more? The CHI Lava Pro Hair Dryer, which retails for $337, offers LCD digital temperature display, three magnetic attachments, four precise heat settings, and three for speed. 

It was time to give it a whirl. 

Why I’m Obsessed

I have 4C textured hair, so leaving my house in the summer with slightly damp hair is as common as brushing my teeth. My hair requires at least 30 minutes to dry completely and most days I don't have time to wait. It’s normal for me to, in the morning, spritz my hair from the root to ends with water, throw in leave-in conditioner, followed by a thick curl moisturizer...and still feel the moisture around 3pm. This is great in the summer months, but in the winter, I’m an easy target for catching a cold. What’s also common? Having the same diffuser for years and never thinking about changing it because when you find something that works for kinky hair, you stick with it. Since I've used the CHI Lava Pro I haven't left my home with damp hair and I’ve thrown away two dryers that were long-time favorites. Here’s why:

For starters, the CHI Lava Pro weighs less than one pound, which is a big deal when you’re constantly lifting it to diffuse coarse hair. Trust me, lifting a heavy hair dryer can quickly turn into an unwanted workout session. The CHI Lava Pro allows me to dry my thick texture in 15 minutes and still have time for styling. 

Speaking of having time for styling, I’m also a mother of two small children, with hardly any time to take a shower, let alone style my curls. When I blow dry my hair, I find that it's typically at night after the kids are asleep. In theory that sounds great, but it requires me to keep a silent hair dryer on deck, specifically one that won’t wake my littles at the press of a button. The CHI Lava Pro makes hardly any noise and the LCD display is great when doing hair in a dimly lit bathroom. You know, when I need to light candles to help me unwind after a long day. 

One thing to note is that it requires 1200 watts of power, which means the tip of the dryer can get extremely hot. I suggest letting it cool before removing the magnetic attachments (which include a diffuser, precision concentrator, and smoothing nozzle) and storing it. 

The hair dryer's real magic comes down to it remembering my heat and speed settings each time I turn it on, which is great for someone like me who struggles to remember settings. For context, the dryer has three-speed settings indicated by one circle (for minimal airflow), two circles (for medium airflow), and three circles (for maximum airflow).

As for the moisture? I’m able to keep a bit of that too. Because the body of the CHI Lava Pro is made of a volcanic-lava-and-ceramic heater, it provides, gentle, consistent heat; that means it affords me the ability to dry my curls at lower temperatures. Sure, I have the option to go up to 250 degrees, but I usually hover around 190, which allows me to dry my hair without completely frying it. 

My 4C curls require a lot of care and attention, and I'm always happy to share tips that can help a fellow 4Cer. So when I tell you the CHI Lava Pro is a beauty game changer, I mean it. Of course, you could spend half the cost on a typical, garden-variety hair dryer, but if you want precise heat and reduced drying time, the CHI Lava Pro hair dryer will quickly become your holy grail hot tool, too. 

Deena Campbell
Beauty Director

Deena Campbell is the Beauty Director of Marie Claire where she oversees beauty and health content on all platforms. Deena joined Marie Claire after a decade-long career as an editor in print and digital media. Before joining the brand, she managed editorial content for L’Oréal owned Makeup.com and Skincare.com. In 2015, she launched Essence.com’s hair channel where she received Time Inc.'s Henry R. Luce Award, shortly before joining Allure.com’s staff as Senior Beauty Editor. Along with her editorial positions, she also consulted on content and marketing strategies for beauty companies including DevaCurl and Dove, and has appeared at various speaking events and live television segments.