Kate Middleton-worthy hair, coming right up.
Photo Courtesy of Gabriela Garcia
Welcome to Editorialist’s “Hype or Holy Grail”—a biweekly series where our beauty editors test cult-favorite beauty products to determine if they’re all hype or truly a holy grail product worth your hard-earned cash.
A fellow editor once asked me what my holy grail hair tool was, and I immediately responded with the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer. I loved the way it simultaneously dried and styled my hair, giving me a salon-worthy look. However, after using it for several months, there were some issues I couldn’t ignore: It’s bulky, heavy, and extremely loud. Plus, the intense heat it produces makes my hair feel a little closer to death each time I use it. So when the Dyson Airwrap came across my desk, I jumped at the chance to test it. I’d heard amazing things about Dyson’s Supersonic Hair Dryer and thought the equally-hyped Airwrap could replace my problematic Revlon Brush. But with a $550 price tag, is the Dyson Airwrap worth it? I set out to answer this question (which, by the way, has over three million Google searches) by testing the multifunctional styler.
- Intelligent heat control
- Multiple uses in one tool
- Can use on damp or dry hair
- One of a kind technology (Coanda effect)
- Dyson digital motor V9
- More expensive than your average hair tool
- Learning curve with the curling attachments
First, a Little About My Hair
I have thick straight hair that falls below my shoulders. My hair is so heavy that I wear it in a bun or braids most days. After a wash day (typically three times a week), it can take up to 20 minutes to blowdry. I’m not too fond of this because of the time and effort it requires (my arms begin to go numb), not to mention the frizz it induces. However, if I don’t blow dry my hair, it will remain wet for hours. I fantasize about chopping my hair off à la a ’90s Winona Ryder in Reality Bites, but my hairdresser refuses to entertain that wish. What I need is a tool that dries my hair gently and quickly while allowing me to style it without using scorching gadgets. Is the Airwrap up to the challenge?
More Products We Put to the Test
Dyson is known for its unique reinventions of everyday products—things like bagless vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans. The Airwrap is Dyson’s reinvention of blowout brushes and self-curling irons. What makes it unique? It relies on high-speed airflow and not extreme heat.
The Dyson Airwrap system comes with a 10.5-inch lightweight wand that is the base for several different attachment heads. These include a blow-drying head, a soft smoothing brush (ideal for fine hair), a firm smoothing brush (suitable for medium-to-coarse hair), two 1.6 inch barrels (one for each direction), two 1.2 inch barrels (one for each direction), and a 2.21 inch round brush. Also included are a non-slip mat and a sleek leather-like storage case.
The technology behind the Dyson Airwrap lies in the Coanda effect. According to the brand, the Coanda effect occurs when a fast-moving jet of air travels over a surface and attaches to that surface because of the pressure difference. Simply put, it creates a vortex of air inside the hollow barrels of the styling tool that’s powerful enough to draw your hair into it. From there, the Airwrap will style hair either curly, wavy, or straight with minimal heat damage. The tool does all of the gripping and wrapping for you, so you never have to worry about touching a hot curling barrel (the Airwrap also never gets hot to the touch).
How to Use the Dyson Airwrap
The Airwrap is designed to be used on damp hair because the Coanda airflow will safely dry and style at once. After washing your hair, use the dryer attachment (which has the same open design as Dyson’s larger Supersonic hairdryer) to get your hair from wet to damp before going in with one of the attachments. If you prefer your hair smooth and straight or full of body, use the smoothing or round brushes. If you want voluminous curls, use the barrels. Note that the barrels are somewhat unintuitive on the first try. Here’s a quick rundown of how to successfully use them.
Step 1: Section your hair
Section and clip your hair up and out of the way, only releasing small sections as you style them.
Step 2: Choose your barrel
You have two sizes to choose from, and each size comes with two barrels, one for each direction. To switch the directions of your curls, you have to switch out the barrel (or hold the Airwrap upside down). The barrels have large white arrows on the side so you can see the direction your hair will curl in the mirror.
Step 3: Wrap your hair
Release a small section of hair and place it next to the barrel until your ends get pulled into the vortex of air. From there, your hair will wrap around the barrel. You don’t need to rotate the wand to wind the hair up—the high-velocity air does that for you; all you have to do is move the barrel toward your head.
Step 4: Cool and release
It only takes a few seconds for a section of hair to be styled. Afterward, switch the setting from heat to cool to set the curl, and then turn off the Airwrap to release your hair. Turning off the tool helps keep the curl intact and prevents the airflow from blowing your hair everywhere.
Editor-Approved Beauty Tools
The first thing I noticed when I received the Dyson Airwrap was its luxe packaging. It’s housed in a sleek leather-like case that looks and feels elevated. It’s a far cry from any drugstore hair tool I’ve used in the past. Although the case is quite large, the tools inside are lightweight and ergonomic. The attachments are easy to clip on and off, and all of the options can easily replace my blowdryer, hair-dryer brushes, and curling irons.
I started with the pre-styling dryer attachment, and (wow) it was far less noisy than traditional blowdryers. The dryer got my soaking wet hair damp in two minutes and did not leave my strands scorched one bit. I then switched to the 1.6-inch curling barrel. At first, I had to wrap my hair around the attachment manually, but it was smooth sailing once I got the hang of it. Overall, I was shocked at how quickly and efficiently the Airwrap worked. I went from wet hair to a Kate Middleton-worthy blowout in less than 15 minutes, which is nothing short of a miracle considering my extremely thick and heavy strands.
Final Verdict: Holy Grail
If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing the Dyson Airwrap, I’m here to tell you that it’s worth every penny. There is no other hair tool on the market that can compare to the Airwrap’s design, research, and versatility. With the range of styling attachments, it’s essentially a blow dryer, hair straightener, and curling iron in one. Plus, it delivers impressive at-home blowouts, volume, and curls with little-to-no heat damage. Let’s be real—maintaining our hair health is priceless. Get ready to say goodbye to pricey salon blowouts and damaged ends. The Airwrap will change your hair routine for the better.