Denis DeSilva of Devachan Salon was dissatisfied with the diffusers on the market.
His Soho salon's philosophy was "do not disturb." Yet he found most standard diffusers he had tried would blow curls astray. For two years, he researched all the available technology as well as what competitors were developing. Nothing did what what he wanted a diffuser to do.
So he set out to create a new kind of diffuser.
Inspiration hit DeSilva while he was waiting to tee off on the 8th hole of Florida's Doral Country Club, when he saw a seat shaped like a hand.
"All day long, my hands are in my clients' hair," DeSilva says. "As we dry curly hair, we put our hands into their hair to give it lift. Why not create something that does exactly what a hand does?"
Devaconcepts worked with designers and manufacturers for over three years to develop the new DevaSun Dryer and DevaFuser -- a unique hand-shaped diffuser with 360-degree air flow to dry the hair all the way through.
"We had to create a better mousetrap," DeSilva says.
For people with curls and kinks, a diffuser is an invaluable tool in their arsenal. Diffusers allow gentle heat to speed up the drying process without the wind of a blowdryer.
"The invention of the diffuser is probably one of the greatest tools for styling curly hair, as it speeds up the drying time," says Jonathan Torch of Toronto's Curly Hair Institute, and creator of the Curly Hair Solutions line of products. "When styling curly hair, the more you fuss or move your hair when it's wet, the more frizz develops and the more your hair expands. A diffuser is a simple yet effective controller of such movement."
Although there are a number of diffusers on the market, there has been little change to their design over the past few decades. But that has changed this year, with several revolutionary new diffusers hitting the market by companies such as Devaconcepts, Hot Tools and BaByliss.
The BaByliss Pro 3500 Radiant Heat Dryer, introduced in July, distributes radiant heat through an oversized nozzle. The low airflow and radiant heat are designed to tame frizz and create glossy curls. A drying stand can be used to free up the hands as the hair dries.
Antony Popadich, a veteran British hairdresser who introduced the Sedusa Diffuser, began taking a closer look at the diffuser when he began exploring different ways to bring out the curl in people's hair. Perms were a tough sell to many clients. Curling irons required some expertise. And existing diffusers were problematic.
"The universal diffusers tended to fly off the dryer," Popadich says. "One day, in frustration, I said 'Why doesn't somebody do something about this?"
An idea began to crystalize in his mind about how to improve the design of the diffuser. He took an old diffuser and taped it to plastic plant pot with the bottom cut out. His brother-in-law had a manufacturing plant, and he asked him to create some aluminum spirals to put in the bowl to encourage curls. Because the hair is contained in the bowl, it prevents it from swelling out, while the aluminum spirals coax out curls.
He tried the first Sedusa prototype on his wife.
"I came out of the garage with this contraption, and she looked at me and said 'No chance!'" Popadich recalls. "She said 'You're not getting near me with that contraption.'"
But he convinced her to let him have a go at her fine, straight hair, and the result was beautiful waves. They were both excited.
"We went to see a patent attorney," he says.