There’s always hair on the floor every morning after my wife curls her hair with a flat iron. After speaking with a Dyson engineer and educator, it turns out that her flat iron might be too hot.
Hair has two layers; the cuticle layer is the outer layer that protects the hair from mechanical and chemical damage. Heat hair above 150 °C and your hair will get dry. Heat hair above 200 °C and the cuticles will melt. If the cuticle layer melts off, the inner cortex layer, which gives hair its strength and elasticity, is exposed to the environment. If your hair is damaged, it gets broken easily.
Dyson’s latest product, the Airwrap styler, is supposed to prevent that. Like the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer, the Airwrap controls heat with a glass bead thermistor. It measures temperature up to 40 times a second and regulates heat, preventing hair from being exposed to extreme heat.
The Airwrap is Dyson’s second beauty product, and it seems far removed from its first product, the vacuum cleaner. But it makes sense if you think about Dyson as an air technology company, instead of simply the vacuum company. They’ve pioneered innovative ways to manipulate air, from the Dyson vacuums to the Pure Cool blade-less fans, and the Airwrap is no different.
The Airwrap uses Dyson’s V9 digital motor, the same powerful motor that sits inside the Supersonic, to harness a phenomenon known as the Coanda effect. When high-velocity air flows across a surface, the airflow attaches itself to the surface. The Airwrap uses this principle to style hair using air and heat.
The V9 spins to create an area of high pressure at the top of the styling barrel. High-velocity air jets out of six air slots around the barrel, and this curls hair around the barrel for styling. It’s quite the thing to see in person. Instead of having to clasp your hair in tongs and wrap them yourself, the Airwrap inhales hair onto the barrel, where it wraps auto-magically. You only have to hold it there for a few seconds and then release it for hair to curl.
There are two Airwrap barrels, a 30mm one for tighter curls and a 40mm one for looser curls. There’s also an assortment of brushes, and which you get depends on the set you buy. All the brushes, except for the round volumizing brush, also have air slots to make use of the Coanda effect.
True to Dyson’s meticulous standards, the Airwrap has plenty of thoughtful details. The Airwrap barrels, for example, have illustrated arrows on them. Hold them in front of the mirror, and you can see whether the barrel you’re holding will curl your hair inwards or outwards. They have heat-resistant tips for you to hold and switch them out, so you don’t have to touch the warm barrels.
A switching mechanism directs airflow according to the tension in the brush, so the air always flows in the direction of your hair. The bottom cable attachment flexes freely, so you can style all around your head without getting tangled in the cable.
The Airwrap can also pull double duty as a hairdryer. The pre-styling dryer attachment is not as powerful as the Dyson Supersonic, but it helps get your hair from soaked to damp. Dyson recommends that your hair is slightly wet when styling, as this makes it set and stay more easily.
As a guy with short hair, all this is Greek to me, which is why it amuses me to no end to hear that male Dyson engineers donned wigs during development to test the product. Dyson spent six years developing the Airwrap with a team of 230 male and female engineers. The company spent 24 million pounds (!) in research and development and built 642 prototypes to reach the final product you see today.
Even though I only tried it on someone else’s hair (thanks, Janelle!), the Airwrap was easy enough to grasp — once someone demonstrated it to me. Unlike the Supersonic hairdyer, which doesn’t even require reading the manual, there’s technique involved in using the Airwrap. You can learn how to use it through Dyson’s online video tutorials, or head down to Robinsons The Heeren and Tangs in Orchard to try them for yourself.
The Dyson Airwrap comes in three packages, with different attachments, for different kinds of hair. The Volume + Shape box is engineered to add body and volume to limp, flat hair. It comes with a pre-styling dryer, 2 x 30mm barrels, a soft brush, and a round brush, for S$649.
The Smooth + Control box is for managing frizzy hair, and it comes with a pre-styling dryer, 2 x 30mm barrels, 2 x 40mm barrels, and a firm brush. It goes for S$649 as well.
The Complete box is what it says. It comes with a pre-styling dryer, 2 x 30mm barrels, 2 x 40mm barrels, a firm brush, a soft brush, and a round brush. It retails for S$699. All combinations are now available.
First published on Oct 23, 2018.