Could you imagine spending £450 on a hair gadget? James Dyson is hoping the answer is ‘Yes’.
Because earlier this week, he revealed the firm’s latest gadget, the Airwrap.
This magic-wand-like gizmo claims to do it all — curl, wave, straighten and blow dry, and all without the extreme heat generated by other such tools.
Two years ago Dyson unveiled a £299 hairdryer, and despite being the most expensive ever sold in the UK it was a hit, boosting profits by 41 per cent year on year. The company has now upped the ante with this new multi-tasking styler.
Staggering price tag aside, the numbers sound impressive: six years, 642 prototypes and £24 million in the making.
Dyson’s revealed it’s latest gadget the Airwrap which curls, straightens and waves hair without using extreme heat
Until now, hair-styling devices have either been, to put it crudely, bits of metal that heat up — think tongs and straighteners — or things that blow out hot air with an integrated brush that you either have to manually wrap the hair around, or use a motor to help it rotate.
The Airwrap, however, uses a miniature motor to force high velocity jets of air from six slots around the barrel.
These jets then create a vortex that wraps around the barrel — drawing in damp hair (yes damp, unlike other curlers, there’s no need to dry hair before).
Once dry, you flick the temperature switch to cool to fix the curl.
The interchangeable barrels come in two versions — one which curls hair clockwise, and another anticlockwise so you are able to use it on both sides to get a symmetrical look.
Jets then create a vortex that wraps around the barrel drawing in damp hair and once it is dry the temperature can switch to cool to fix the curl
But it’s not just for curls. The styler comes with a range of attachments. There’s a basic drying head, flat brushes for creating a smooth look, and a round brush for volumising.
While styling devices for dry hair have to function at temperatures from 185c to 230c to create a curl, because the Dyson styler is for damp hair it never gets above 150c — meaning less hair damage.
To really put it through its paces, we asked five women, with different hair types, to give it a go with the help of our stylist, Kerry September. Here’s how they got on . . .
They won’t work on my fragile hair
Fine hair: Before (pictured left) and after (pictured right) of Sarah Gravell
Sarah Gravell, 36, is a caterer. She lives in Surrey with her three children.
She says: My hair is very fine and there’s not much of it. It’s got a natural wave, but although I’ve always coveted curls, I avoid using styling heated tools because my hair is so weak.
For that reason I had hopes for the Airwrap, but even Kerry admitted that it really wasn’t suitable for my type of hair. We used the smallest attachment to give better curl but they weren’t forming well, and after ten minutes my hair was flat.
I’m not convinced at all by it sadly, and wouldn’t dream of paying anywhere near £450 for it.
I can do better with my Carmen rollers
Thick hair: Before (pictured left) and after (pictured right) of Elsa Gwilliam
Elsa Gwilliam, 50, is a visual merchandiser from Brockley, South-East London.
She says: My mum was a hairdresser and she’d be horrified if I paid £450 for this. I agree. I can get a better effect with my usual tongs and Carmen rollers so I won’t be buying it.
My hair is quite thick but it usually holds a curl really well. If I use setting spray with my rollers, the curls can last a whole week. I found the Airwrap a little weird to use and fiddly when I was doing the back of my head. And ten minutes after styling it, the curls were dropping out.
I like the idea of a product that doesn’t use much heat on my hair but as I don’t blow dry it regularly, I can probably get away with using ordinary curlers, which are quicker and give my hair more bounce. I’ll be sticking with my usual styling tools.
I got the 1920s look I love
Dry hair: Before (pictured left) and after (pictured right) of Mary Isokariari
Mary Isokariari, 35, is a writer. She is single and lives in South London.
She says: Afro hair needs a lot of looking after so I always use protecting sprays or creams and castor oil to lock the moisture in when I’m styling it.
Naturally my hair is very soft and curly but if I use straighteners, it lasts for a long time.
However I don’t like using too much heat as it can make my hair brittle and thin.
I’ll use a hairdryer on a very low heat but that can mean I’m drying my hair for up to an hour at a time.
This was much quicker. Using the smaller curling barrel only took around 15 minutes to create Twenties-style ringlets which I absolutely loved.
But wow, the £450 price tag is heavy. I might see if my friends want to buy one between us so we can share.
Easy to use and super glamorous
Long hair: Before (pictured left) and after (pictured right) of Jo Chamberlain
Jo Chamberlain, 59, is a milliner. She is married to Patrick, 60, and they have two children. She lives in Caterham Surrey.
She says: I’ve had some real disasters using heated tongs — once they turned my silver hair yellow! So I was looking forward to trying a tool that doesn’t use too much heat.
I used the soft brush head on most of my hair but the bigger curling barrel on top to define the curl. My whole head took just 15 minutes to curl and they were still bouncy an hour later. I love this glamorous look. It was so much quicker than using heated curlers. But £450? That’s a lot of money — I’m really not sure I could justify spending that much.
I’m impressed…No heat means no fear
Curly hair: Before (pictured left) and after (pictured right) of Janine Craig
Janine Craig, 37, is a full-time model from Newcastle.
She says: My hair is naturally curly, and although it’s fine, I have a lot of it. After washing I use a mousse and then dry my hair with a diffuser with my head tipped upside down to add volume.
I rarely style it differently because heating tools can damage the hair.
The Airwrap is different to other tongs I’ve used in the past that I’ve worried would singe my hair. This has a lot less heat so I didn’t have that fear. And it’s quicker. Conventional tongs take around an hour to curl my hair but we did this in about 20 minutes.
I was impressed. I love the look and my hair feels soft and smooth
The tongs are expensive. But if it means that my hair is in better condition because I use less heat on it, then it will be worth it for my job as a model.
It might save me money if I need fewer salon appointments to get rid of the dry ends.
To be continued
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