Sunday, April 22, 2012

Two Classic Salon Dryers

I was so lucky the other day to pick up a classic 1960s vintage Rayette (actually "Rayette Dorado") salon dryer to add to my collection. Well it is a collection now since I now have two types, the other being the Bonat salon dryer from the same era which I  picked up a few years ago.Vintage salon dryers do show up quite regularly on ebay and similar places, but due to the cost of shipping you really have to wait till one is within driving distance, and this one was.

In case your wondering what a Rayette dryer is like, here is a photo:

It should actually look shiny since it is beautiful chrome, but I had to use a flash camera since it was late at night and that made it look dark rather than shiny.

Its very similar to the dryers in the classic Coke ad, but not quite the same:

Does anyone know if the dryers in the ad are Rayette dryers as well, or another brand?

So how to do a fair comparison between the Rayette and Bonate? First thing was to do a classic 1960s style set with vintage plastic brush rollers, neatly wound and close together to be  as was typical of that era. Then, to take another technique from that period, instead of using any form of setting gel or lotion, I rinsed my hair after it was in curlers and blotted it a little before going under the dryer. Apparently this was done in some salons (or at home? anyone know?) in the 60s in an attempt to achieve that always elusive perfect set, the idea being that it would best hold the set if it was good and wet around the rollers before drying.  After drying under the Rayette, I waited half and hour and then re-rinsed and dried under the Bonat, and this turned out to be a great way to compare both dryers.

A Bonat dryer in case you haven't seen one: 

So were the dryers any different? Yes. The Rayette was hotter,  but I'm not sure if that was really the dryers or the old temperature controls being a little different. The Rayette took 45 minutes to dry, the Bonat 60 minutes. But the experience itself was different. The Bonat conveniently opens, making getting under it much easier and also has a larger opening even when closed. With the Rayette, you pull the dryer forward but have to duck under it. It also has a smaller opening, (look in the photo how the plastic part of the hood is curves inwards) and you inevitably bump your curlers while going under. I was only wearing medium size rollers, so it would be even trickier with large ones.

For convenience, the Bonat easily wins, but that isn't the complete story. The Rayette is quieter but seems to blow air around quite a bit more forcefully. The curved plastic part of the hood also keeps more of the warm air within the dryer rather hitting your face, lower neck and shoulders, so its a little nicer to be under. And to be fair, had I not done a comparison back to back, the differences would have been much less noticeable. So for comfort, the Rayette is slightly better.

In the end, each of the two dryers has slight advantages, but they  are both  great. If you looking for a vintage dryer and see either type for sale, grab it and you will be pleased you did:  drying a vintage set with either a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable experience.