If you somehow predicted that a company best known for its high-end vacuums and air purifiers would also wind up making the world’s most coveted hair tool, please come collect your prize. We’re talking, of course, about Dyson and its legendary Airwrap. Originally launched in 2018 and then updated in summer 2022, the multi-functional styler has since earned a cult following for its ability to dry, smooth, and curl without the use of extreme heat. A suite of brush and barrel attachments make it suitable for a range of different hair types and textures — plus, it comes with its own case for easy storage.No blazing-hot plates, no blistering metal rods, and no need to head to the salon for a bouncy, Cindy Crawford-worthy blowout anymore? If that all sounds too good to be true, it kind of is. The $599.99 Airwrap is more expensive than a PlayStation 5 and just as hard to find.
Where to buy a Dyson Airwrap
For reference, the second-generation Airwrap comes in three different variants for different kinds of hair:
The Dyson Airwrap multi-styler Complete works best on hair that’s chest-length or shorter
The Dyson Airwrap multi-styler Complete Long is meant for hair that’s chest-length or longer
The Dyson Airwrap multi-styler Complete Curly/Coily (featuring a new wide-tooth comb attachment) is designed for curly and coily hair — coming soon as of Sept. 2022
The Airwrap Complete in its standard Copper/Nickel finish was up for grabs on Dyson.com at the time of writing, but no dice on the Complete Long unless you’re OK with the special-edition Vinca Blue/Rosé colorway. (The regular version was backordered for two to three weeks as of mid-September.) Sephora, Ulta, and Best Buy also had the Vinca Blue/Rosé Complete Long in stock when we last checked.If your preferred version of the Airwrap sells out completely by the time you’re reading this, signing up for email alerts at major retailers can help your chances of catching a restock.Buying a pre-owned Airwrap is always an option, with some asterisks. Dyson had a bunch of refurbished first-gen models listed for $449.99 in its online outlet store, though their usual two-year warranties were cut in half. (It’s also important to note that refurbished Dyson products are final sale and can’t be returned.) You can try eBay, Poshmark, and Facebook Marketplace for pre-owned Airwraps, but buyer beware of high markups and incomplete sets missing some or all of the attachments.This brings us to an extremely important question: Is the Dyson Airwrap even worth the cost or the hassle? In a word, perhaps.
Our Dyson Airwrap review
We’d love to tell you that the Airwrap is an overhyped gimmick so you could save your hard-earned money, unsubscribe from all of those restock email alerts, and finally close out the Stock Informer tab that’s been pinned to your browser window for months. In fact, that’s probably going to be the case if you’re someone who doesn’t go out of your way to style your hair every single day: The Airwrap has a semi-steep learning curve, it takes up a lot of space, and at the end of the day, it probably won’t dramatically improve your hair game. (This is according to Mashable shopping reporter Bethany Allard, who tested the Complete Long version.)But believe it or not, there is an actual time and place for a $600 hair tool. The Airwrap is designed for use on damp hair, so if you like getting ready right after you hop out of the shower, it’ll fit effortlessly into your existing routine. If you’re someone who heat-styles their hair every day, the Airwrap could prevent you from frying the shit out of your ends. And if you’re someone who frequently drops hundreds of dollars on professional blowouts, an Airwrap could actually save you money in the long run.For her part, Allard couldn’t justify the price of the Airwrap despite getting compliments “every single time I styled my hair with this product.” While the smoothing attachments worked great on her tresses, curling took too long and resulted in limp ringlets. If you find yourself in a similar boat, it’s time to explore some dupes.
What is the closest thing to a Dyson Airwrap?
First, a little bit more about the Airwrap itself. According to a press release, its high-pressure motor harnesses the power of an aerodynamic phenomenon called the Coanda effect. This produces a spinning vortex of warm air, which attracts and automatically wraps hair around the Airwrap’s barrel to gently dry while adding volume. All the while, an intelligent heat control system is measuring the device’s temperature over 40 times a second to ensure it never ventures beyond 302°F. (Your hair’s keratin strands typically start weakening when exposed to heat above the 300-degree mark, Dyson says.) Dyson’s engineers perfected this technology across about 500 prototypes in the first generation, so as far as the Airwrap’s design is concerned, it’s safe to say there really is no exact match or fair comparison elsewhere on the market. (At least until the Shark FlexStyle arrives — more on that in a minute.) That being said, you may be able to get similar results out of simpler tools with a little practice, namely hot air brushes and certain curling irons and straighteners.Start your search by pinpointing the No. 1 reason why you’re drawn to the Airwrap in the first place, aside from the “minimal heat damage” thing:
Are you intrigued by the promise of easier at-home blowouts? Your best bet is a round hot air brush like the Drybar Double Shot or the Revlon One-Step Volumizer. (BabylissPRO has a version that rotates both ways just like the second-gen Airwrap, which is neat.) These are great for full-bodied curls or natural waves and work best on hair that’s still slightly damp.
Are you trying to get your curly hair straighter without completely flattening it? Try a hot air brush with a paddle-style head like the T3 Airebrush Duo or the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Styler, which will smooth hair and minimize flyaways while still adding some volume. (These also work best on towel-dried hair.) A straightener with a built-in fan such as the L’ange Le Duo could be an option, too, though that one’s for dry hair only.
Are you just plain fascinated by the Airwrap’s ability to pull and twirl hair into perfect ringlets? (C’mon, it’s so cool.) Hunt down a gadget like the Beachwaver, whose spinning barrel produces tangle-free curls in seconds. Use it on completely dry hair.
Once you’ve figured out what kind of tool will get you closest to your desired results, you can narrow your search even further using the following criteria:
Power: A styling tool’s air-blowing power is typically measured in watts. Those with higher wattage will usually produce more heat than those on the lower end, meaning they work faster but can damage hair quickly if you’re not careful. Most hot air brushes fall somewhere in the 1,000- to 2,000-watt range. (For comparison’s sake, the Airwrap’s 1,300-watt motor puts it just slightly below the average pro-quality hair dryer and makes it capable of taking hair from wet-ish to ready in about 10 to 15 minutes.)
Multiple heat settings: Any styling tool that forces you to scorch your hair on “high” the whole time is a no from us. Being able to choose from a few different temperature settings makes it way easier to avoid heat damage, especially at the end of your hair routine when you’re already mostly dry. (Bonus points for any tools with a cool shot, which will seal your hair’s cuticles and set the look in place.) Keep in mind that the Airwrap has three airflow speeds and three heat settings, including a cold shot.
Cord length: Professional-quality styling tools can have cords as long as 8 or 9 feet — the Airwrap’s clocks in at 8.5 feet — but you can get away with a shorter one if there’s an outlet right next to your vanity.
Weight: You’re going to be holding this thing above your head for a not-insignificant amount of time, so the lighter, the better. (The new Airwrap weighs a pound and a half, for what it’s worth.)
No matter what kind of device you wind up buying, even if it’s an actual Airwrap, consider adding some styling products to your cart while you’re at it, too. Dyson itself recommends using hairspray to “maximize curls’ longevity” and a heat protectant “whenever possible.” (It can only help.) And for extra va-va-voom volume, its Global Lead Stylist Amy Johnson suggests applying a mousse to your roots while your hair is still wet.
More Airwrap competition on the horizon
A hot new bombshell has entered the villa. The home appliance company SharkNinja will soon throw its hat into the Airwrap dupe arena with the release of the $269.99 Shark FlexStyle, a multi-styler featuring Coanda technology and a rotatable nozzle. It’ll be available in two sets: one with attachments for straight and wavy hair, the other with tools designed for curly and coily hair. Shoppers will also have the option of building custom bundles.The FlexStyle is still in its preorder phase, but on paper, it looks like the ultimate Airwrap alternative. Check back to see if it winds up on this list as reviews start trickling in. (Ours is in the pipeline, FWIW.)For a new option under $100, Revlon recently introduced another iteration of its One-Step hot air brush: The $74.99 One-Step Blowout Curls has a detachable, vented, ceramic-coated barrel that can supposedly dry and curl at the same time. It’s also waiting on reviews, so stay tuned.Below, you’ll find our guide to the best Dyson Airwrap dupes that are currently available. The best part? All of them are under $200.