Comparison and review of The Dyson Airwrap and Shark FlexStyle

Dyson Airwrap vs Shark FlexStyle

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When it first launched, The Dyson Airwrap was unlike any other hair styling tool, and with most Dyson products, a premium price tag was attached – £479 for a basic model. More recently though, vacuum competitor Shark has created what hair and beauty fans call a dupe – the Shark FlexStyle, which is said to harness that same technology as The Dyson Airwrap and comes with five changeable attachments for auto-wrap curling, straightening, volumising, smoothing, and definition – all for £299.99. But how does the Shark FlexStyle compare to The Dyson Airwrap? I was sent both products by the brands to test them out – here’s what I thought.

How I tested the two machines: 

  1. Washed my hair as normal and applied a hair oil and heat protector – some recommend applying curling mousse to help hold the curls when drying, but I didn’t, I wanted to see the finished curls without product assistance.
  2. Brushed hair and roughly dried it until 80 percent or damp to touch. Had to use Dyson’s smoothing paddle brush to remove kinks and calm flyaways from the Dyson smoothing dryer.
  3. Add the curling wand attachment(s) and use high heat and high speed.
  4. Divide hair and take an inch-thick section and hold it out for the curling wand for it to attach the hair to the wand.
  5. Hold anywhere from eight to 15 seconds, or until hair has completely dry.
  6. Press the cold button for five to 10 seconds to set the curl.
  7. Release the curl by pulling it away from the head.
  8. Curl the rest of your hair – if you want a bouncy blow-dry look, softly brush out the curls and spray a little hairspray to set the style.

The Dyson Airwrap – from £479

The Dyson Airwrap claims to be “the only multi-styler to curl, shape and hide flyaways using the Coanda effect,” and without the use of extreme heat.

As for what “the Coanda effect is”, according to Dyson, it is an “aerodynamic phenomenon” and the website explains how it works: “Air, when propelled at the right speed and pressure, naturally follows an adjacent surface, pulling in the surrounding air.

“The Dyson Airwrap™ styler harnesses this phenomenon by creating a spinning vortex of air around the cylindrical shaped barrels of the tool.

“The barrels attract the hair through the airflow, encouraging hair to wrap itself around the barrel and curling it through the use of the air vortex.”

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The pros 

  • The design and colour choices are absolutely beautiful, it really is a luxury product.
  • You can register your machine online and there is an app that can be downloaded with helpful tips, styling guides and videos.
  • The newer curling wands can change direction with just a click so no need to swap the attachment like the SharkFlex. There’s one larger and one smaller curling wand, and also a long hair version of the machine available.
  • The curling wand is slightly wider than Shark, so you get a bigger, looser curl.
  • The buttons are in a really convenient place, and the on/off button includes the cool shot – just simply push it up further. This makes styling your hair with one hand really easy.
  • You can purchase an additional display stand to have the machine out instead of in the storage case.
  • Comes with a travel pouch to store the machine and three attachments.

The cons 

  • The storage case doesn’t match the colour of the styler and attachments – it’s either navy or deep purple – and it doesn’t have set compartments for the attachments like the Shark FlexStyle. You can keep some of the cardboard dividers but you’ll struggle to fit everything in and close the lid.
  • No styling guide booklet in the box as there is a digital version on the app.
  • The smoothing dryer is the worst attachment; not only is it difficult to use as it has two strips for where the hot air comes out which can be rotated, but it is less powerful than Shark. It also leaves the hair frizzy and with kinks – despite Dyson claiming it “hides flyaways for a smoother finish”.
  • You can use the smoothing paddle brush or barrel brush attachments after roughly drying your hair to smooth it out but that adds time.

Shark FlexStyle – £299.99 

The Shark FlexStyle is a five-in-one or multi-styler that promises “fast drying speeds” and “no heat damage”. It has a technology that measures heat 1,000 times per second for optimum temperatures.

Alongside the main wand, there are five attachments; two curling barrels for each direction, a paddle brush, an oval brush, a smoother, and a diffuser for curly or wavy hair.

Unlike the Dyson, you can unlock the wand and rotate it 90 degrees to turn it into a hair dryer and attach the smoother or diffuser.

There are three heat settings and three speed settings, plus a separate Cool Shot button that you hold down to set styles with cold air.

When it comes to curls or bouncy blow drys, the FlexStyle’s barrels also have the Coanda effect to auto-wrap hair into curls, but you have to switch the two curling barrels from ‘left’ to ‘right’ to style each side of your hair or swap the direction of curls.

The pros

  • Cheaper than The Dyson Airwrap by £200 – sometimes more if it’s on offer.
  • Easy to read and concise styling booklet included in box.
  • The box is bigger than the Dyson, and had set compartments for all the attachments.
  • More powerful than the Dyson; it sucked the hair quicker around the curling wand, and there were less flyaways.
  • The hair dryer smoother leaves hair incredibly sleek and straight, no kinks – which means there’s no need to use the styling brush after, unlike the Dyson.
  • Adding a diffuser attachment means its suitable for all hair types.
  • The curling wands are slightly thinner than Dyson so you get a tighter curl which drops slower throughout the day.

The cons 

  • The machine and the box are not beautiful as the Dyson – you get to choose from black or champagne for machine colours, and the box material makes it look a little cheap.
  • It’s slightly heavier than the Dyson (700g), so you have to use two hands – especially for curling the hair.
  • The highest temperature setting can get a little hot on the scalp, and the attachments can also be hot to touch after use.
  • The buttons are in awkward places – the on/off and temperature mean your hand covers the air vent, and the Cool Shot button is higher up meaning it’s harder to find when you’re mid-curl.
  • Two curling wands instead of a single changeable one like the Dyson.

The Verdict 

Both are expensive, but I felt let down by The Dyson Airwrap; maybe because of the hype around the machine and how it can create big bouncy curls, but for £479 I expected every attachment to produce exceptional results for that price. It being slightly less powerful, and the hair dryer attachment leaving hair frizzy and kinky, outweighs the cons of the Shark FlexStyle. Personally, I would take a slightly heavier machine, having to use two hands, swap curling attachments, and fiddling around with the buttons if it means a sleeker finish.

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