The Truth About The $550 Dyson Airwrap

The Dyson Airwrap hair styling system is sleek and impressive to look at, but comes with intense sticker shock, costing $550. Can it justify a price tag light years away from the gadget the New York Times identifies as its closest competitor, the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer? Priced at $55, or a tenth of what the Airwrap costs, Revlon's baby promises to deliver volume and shine via its brush design, and ION generator (via Ulta). 

But remember, the Airwrap is a Dyson: the same company that makes iconic cordless vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans. The company that turned everyday household tools into potential, museum-level design classics. So, it stands to reason that the Airwrap would be expected to offer a user experience on a similar level as its equally flashy siblings, which were also created for more practical purposes.

The technology behind the Airwrap is kinda mind blowing

The Airwrap styling system promises less damage to hair because it doesn't rely as much on heat to turn out curls, waves, or a fantastic blowout. According to a press release, the motor inside the Airwrap is the same as the one used in the company's Supersonic hair dryer, so the gadget is meant to be able to dry your hair and create curls at the same time. This action actually has a name; Dyson calls this hardworking air flow the Coanda effect (via Popsugar). And this isn't marketing-speak: The Coanda effect is an actual aeronautic phenomena, and it's what happens when a jet flow attaches itself to an adjacent or nearby surface, and remains attached even when that surface (in this instance, your hair) curves away from the direction (via Thermofluids). Mind blown? Yup.

The big daddy $550 Dyson Airwrap comes with a wand, and six different attachments that can achieve different effects. The system is also available in two smaller kits: the Airwrap Volume + Shape (for fine, straight hair) and the Airwrap Smooth + Control (for thicker, coarser hair), each with four attachments and priced for a bargain $500 (via CNET). 

The Airwrap ranks highest for design

Does the Dyson Airwrap do as it promises? Reviewers at CNET gave it a 6.2 rating overall (the Airwrap ranked highest for design, and lowest for performance). For the price, it's comforting to know the wand and its easy-to-connect, six attachments come in a leather case with a luxe felt black interior. While those who used the product at CNET weren't happy about the way the Airwrap grabbed some sections of hair and not others, testers for the New York Times said that they could get behind the Airwrap once they mastered what looks like a very steep learning curve involved in using the attachments.

The Popsugar product tester liked the results of styling with the Airwrap, but agreed the system was pretty complex to figure out. In short, if you have the cash to burn and the time to learn, the Airwrap could be the device for you. Otherwise, as CNET puts it, Dyson's latest haircare offer is more form than function.