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It doesn’t take a very long time after meeting me to find out that I have a mild obsession with savvy shopping. Seriously. Getting a bargain is basically my version of thrill seeking. And of course, my excitement for finding a sale is something that can’t be contained. The first thing I want to do after an epic couponing conquest is to go tell the rest of the world how to do the same. After all, when you work hard for your money, why would you not want to save as much of it as possible when purchasing the things you need or want?
And thus, here I am to tell you a tale of how I scored this adorable little set from Drybar for a ridiculously low price, and whether or not I think its worth the original price tag.
Before we jump in to the story, I want to get you up to speed on the Ulta Ultamate Rewards Program. For those of you who aren’t familiar with how it works, you basically earn points for every dollar you spend in store or online at Ulta.com. The program is free to join, and there is no cost to stay a member. You typically earn 1 point per dollar, although there are all kinds of point multiplier events and deals that you can score throughout the year to rack up points faster. The value of your points also increase as you save them up. For example, 100 points is worth $3, but 250 points are worth $8. The points max out at 2000, with a value of $125. You can still keep earning more than that, but any additional points will accumulate as if you were starting at 0 (aka 2100 points is worth $128, and 4000 points would be worth $250). When you’re ready to redeem your points, they basically act like cash towards the pre-tax cost of your purchase. You can put them towards anything in the store, AND they can be applied towards purchases you’re making with a coupon.
In my personal opinion, Ulta’s rewards program is the best one out there. I GREATLY prefer having money to put toward the full-sized products of my choosing over a deluxe sample set (I’m looking at you, Sephora). Because in the end, what I need is more money in my pocket, not necessarily more teeny tiny products.
So, as for our story, back in the spring I had racked up 1000 points (or $50) to spend at Ulta, and started to think long and hard about what I could actually put that money toward. While it’s tempting to pick up new releases to review, I decided that my points were better spent on something practical. As of about a year ago I got seriously bitten by the travel bug, and have been spending more time than ever at AirBNBs. And after going to Generation Beauty LA and seeing how much space my hair dryer took up in my suitcase, I decided that a more compact, travel-friendly dryer was probably the smartest thing for me to buy.
I started to do my research on the Ulta website, looking at the highest rated products and reading lots of reviews, when I stumbled upon the Drybar Hair We Go Travel Blowout Set. In this set you get the famed Baby Buttercup Blowdryer with carrying case, as well as four travel sized products from the Drybar line. Typically the dryer alone retails for $135, and the set was only $139. I mean..for four more dollars why would you ever NOT buy this set over buying the dryer alone? So I decided to cash in my points, combine them with a 20% coupon, and was able to bring the price of this down to $61.20. Add in the $50 gift card that I got with my credit card cash back rewards and I ended up spending a whopping $11.20 of my own money.
Now you might assume that for $11, as long as this dryer was functional I would be happy. But in truth, I think I actually get more upset if I blow all of my rewards points and coupons on a product that ends up failing me. So let’s dive in to what my actual experience of this product has been.
The star of the show in this set is the Baby Buttercup Travel Blow Dryer. As I mentioned before, this dryer normally retails for $135, so you’re essentially getting all of the travel minis in this set for $4. It comes with one nozzle attachment as well as a travel bag to protect it on trips (that is pretty darn cute, might I add). The handle folds in to make it even more compact during storage, and weighs in at less than a pound. It operates at both 120 and 240V, making it friendly for your international vacations (just make sure you flip the little switch on the side to the one you want to use), has two temperature settings as well as a “cool shot” button for sealing in your style, and uses “ionic technology” to improve shine and reduce frizz.
Sounds pretty sweet, right?
And truthfully, it is. Mostly. I think, as someone that has never purchased an expensive hair tool in her life, I was expecting some kind of unicorn magic from this dryer. Perhaps, like a person that has not yet tasted enough wine to understand the difference between an $8 bottle and a $20 bottle, my palette for hair dryers is not refined enough to appreciate how good this is. Did it get the job done? Indeed it did. Was it mind blowingly different from my $50 hairdryer I’ve had for the last 8 years? I honestly can’t really say. Then again, this is a TINY hair dryer. And I did feel that it dried my hair quickly, was not obnoxiously loud, and left my hair looking pretty shiny and…well…normal. So as far as how this compares to those tiny dryers you find in hotel rooms, WORLDS BETTER. The motor is way more powerful, and it definitely cranks out way more heat (without frying your hair).
It is also INCREDIBLY lightweight. Almost to the point where your brain is like, “how does something that weighs so little cost $135?”. That’s not to say that it feels cheap. The construction feels pretty sturdy. I think there is just an association in my brain that weighty things are expensive things, at least when we’re talking beauty products. Regardless, not having the extra weight in a carry-on is infinitely more convenient.
The bottom line is this. As someone that intends on doing a fair amount of traveling in the years to come, I wanted to gave a great, compact hair dryer that would perform as well as a full sized one, and that wouldn’t fall apart after 6 months. And this dryer definitely checks off those boxes. Could I have found one that would perform equally as well for a fraction of the price? If I’m being 100% real with myself, probably. But I suppose I wanted to trust in the collective voices of the internet that said so many great things about this dryer. I don’t always think that more expensive is better. In fact I think it rarely is. Usually what I’ve found is going middle of the road with your investments is the most solid way to get bang for your buck. But in the case of this dryer I felt going a little more luxury was the right thing to do, not only because I knew I could take advantage of the crazy discount, but because I also wanted something that would last and hold up well over time.
Now, let’s put the dryer aside for a moment and talk a little bit about all of the bonus “freebies” you get in this set. Obviously they aren’t entirely free since the set is a $4 markup from the price of the dryer alone, but when you consider how much money the dryer is in the first place it’s basically almost negligible.
Here’s what I’ll say about these travel goodies. If you were going to buy the Baby Buttercup dryer already, spending the extra couple of bucks to get these products is worth it. Odds are if you’re in the market for a travel dryer, you’ll probably appreciate having smaller sized bottles of hair products to go with it. However, if you were considering buying a dryer that was significantly less expensive than this, spending the extra money on this set just to get the freebies is a little silly. They’re good products, but the value is not so outrageous that I think it makes up for spending the extra cash.
Let me break it down for you. First, you get mini versions of the Sake Bomb Nourishing Shampoo and Sake Bomb Nourishing Conditioner. Both of these are 50 ml bottles or 1/5 of the full size, making them worth about $4.80 a piece. These products are also cruelty-free, sulfate-free, and paraben-free (which are all pluses in my book). I have never been one to spend a lot of money on shampoo and conditioner, because quite frankly there are amazing drugstore brands that cost a lot less. But these formulas are nice and will get the job done.
Then you also get mini versions of the Detox Dry Shampoo (1.4 oz) and Detox Dry Conditioner (1.3 oz). When you do the price comparison that works out to a value of $9.20 and $9.00, respectively. I’ve never been one to really jump on board with the whole dry conditioner trend, but I do love me some dry shampoo and think this formula from Drybar is pretty bomb. The smell is intense, and a lot of people either love it or hate it, but I personally am a big fan.
Doing the math, this works out to a value of $27.80, which, for 4 extra dollars is not too shabby. Now, the website states this set is a “$179 value” which is significantly higher than what I’ve worked out, but this is mostly because there is a markup on travel minis where you generally pay more per ounce than you do for their full-sized counterparts.
To sum up this very long and somewhat chatty review, was I happy with my investment in this set? Yes. I think this dryer is super cute, does what it says it’s going to do, and has made packing for trips that much easier for me. Is it a pricey investment? Yes. And while you can probably find a perfectly adequate travel drier for less money, I do think you’re getting a solid product for the money you’re spending.
I think if you’re someone that does a lot of traveling, spending a little extra on a reliable drier that will hold up to frequent use is not a bad investment. This set would probably also be an amazing gift for a college student, who might not have a ton of space and would appreciate having a more compact hairdryer that doesn’t skimp on performance.
So here, friends, are your take home points. If you were thinking about getting this set and wondering if it was any good, the answer is yes! And if you aren’t already signed up for Ulta rewards, I would highly recommend going and doing that, and then waiting until you’ve got a coupon on some rewards points before buying it so you can save some cash. I am in no way affiliated with or sponsored by Ulta, I just really happen to like their program. They also do have a referral system, where if you sign up with my link we’ll both get $10 off our next $30 purchase. So if you want to score that coupon, you can sign up here!
And as always, if you’ve tried this dryer or another similar product, I would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations. Let me know in the comments down below whether or not you would shell out almost $140 for this set, or if you know of an amazing travel dryer for a lower price.