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When the original Dyson Airwrap launched in 2018, it was truly shocking. The makers of the $400 Supersonic hair dryer upped the ante, charging nearly $600 for a hair tool that claimed to dry and curl or straighten at once. What was even more shocking for me was that, as a rather frugal consumer, I decided that the Airwrap was worth the coin.
I have thick, curly, frizz-prone hair (a blessing, as many with fine or straight hair tell me!). The thing is: I like to wear it straight, and in a pre-Airwrap world, that meant spending lots of time and money at the salon multiple times a month. Each session would end with the stylist, forearms undoubtedly on fire, telling me, "you've got a lot of hair." Hair that I could never blow out on my own — until the Aiwrap.
I've used my Airwrap religiously since it launched and not only has it virtually eliminated my need for salon blowouts, but I like knowing that my hair isn't getting absolutely fried as it may with traditional heat styling — one analysis by our Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab product testing pros showed that the original Airwrap with the round brush attachment reached around 158ºF at its highest temperature and airflow, which is far cooler and therefore less damaging than a flat iron or curling iron that can reach temperatures of over 350ºF .
Then, on June 2, Dyson launched an upgraded, reengineered version of the Airwrap, releasing attachments that both improved ease of use and answered common consumer gripes. I teamed with Beauty Lab Executive Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D., to test out the new Dyson Airwrap both at home and in the GH Beauty Lab — and what we found might surprise you.
What are the new attachments?
When it comes to the new engineering on the upgraded Airwrap, some changes you can see, some you can't. Here's what's new:
Coanda smoothing dryer (a.k.a. rough dry attachment): The biggest difference is the reengineered blow dryer attachment. What once looked like a hollow oval reminiscent of Dyson's signature fan design is now replaced by a cylindrical dryer head that functions both as a blow drying "pre-styler" meant to take hair from wet to damp and a smoothing attachment meant to tuck away flyaways and instantly smooth hair. The head easily rotates to switch between the two modalities.
Direction-changing Airwrap barrels: The old Airwrap came with four barrels total (two barrels in each size; one for clockwise curls, one for counterclockwise curls). But the newly designed Airwrap features just two curlers. "The new curlers come in a 1.2” and 1.6” diameter barrel that you can use for both clockwise and counterclockwise curls by just changing the setting at the cool-touch tip of each curler instead of physically switching," says Aral. Game changer. You can also opt to buy the set with long barrels or short barrels, whereas the original Airwrap initially came with just short barrels.
Improved firm and soft smoothing brushes: The upgrade also includes paddle brushes that have more movement and noticeably stronger suction in what the brand calls "enhanced Coanda airflow [which] attracts and aligns hair with increased control for a straighter style."
Wide-tooth comb: Designed specifically for curls and coils, the soft-tipped comb shapes, volumizes and stretches hair as it dries.
What else does the new Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler Complete come with?
It depends on if you're opting for the version designed for short hair, long hair or curly hair. On the sets for short or long hair, the attachments offered are pretty much the same, but the long version (the one I have!) is designed for hair that's longer than chest-length and has curling barrels that are — you guessed it — longer. Here's what comes with the $600 purchase:
Coanda smoothing dryer
1.2" Airwrap barrel (regular or long)
1.6" Airwrap barrel (regular or long)
Soft smoothing brush
Firm smoothing brush
Round volumizing brush
Filter cleaning brush
Then there's the Dyson Airwrap Multi-Styler Complete Curly/Coily, designed specifically for styling curly or coily hair. (I opted out of this one since, although my hair is curly, I don't heat style it when I let it go natural). That one comes with:
Coanda smoothing dryer
1.2" Airwrap barrel
1.6" Airwrap barrel
Firm smoothing brush
Wide tooth comb
Round volumizing brush
Filter cleaning brush
Can I use the new attachments on the old Airwrap?
Yes — all attachments from the original and the new versions are compatible, interchangeable and can be mixed and matched to use on either base. So if you already have and love the original Airwrap, you don't need to trade in your old model for the new one — just buy the upgraded attachments you like the best (currently only available directly from Dyson's website), or even the full set of upgraded Airwrap attachments for $199.99.
How else is the new Dyson Airwrap different?
In preliminary Beauty Lab tests, Aral carried out temperature measurements using three different attachments with each the old and new devices. The results showed some slight performance differences. Here's what she found:
Coanda smoothing dryer: The air coming from the new rough dry attachment and device clocked in at about 40ºF higher than the old Airwrap/attachment combo, but in our Lab tests, the airflow outputs of the old and new dryers with their respective rough dry attachments measured just about the same. We both anecdotally found that our hair dried faster with this new dryer attachment.
Curling barrels: The surface temperature of the new 1.2" barrel measured about about 40ºF lower than the old Airwrap/1.2" curler combo. In our home tests, this didn't seem to affect our hair, nor did I find it noticeable while using the device, and the style lasted as long as it did when I used the old Airwrap. And with even less heat damage — a win!
Round brush: The average temperature of the air stream coming from the new version/brush attachment is about 25ºF lower than the old version. I didn't notice this at all when styling my hair (in fact, I thought the air coming from the round brush on the new Airwrap felt hotter!).
How much does the new Dyson Airwrap Complete cost?
Is the new Dyson Airwrap Complete better than the old one?
If you already have an Airwrap, you don't need to run out and buy the 2.0 — it makes the most sense to just get the attachments you really want instead. But. if you're buying an Airwrap for the first time, we recommend buying the new version. Keep in mind: "Dyson will sell the old design until stock runs out so this question of old versus new might be a temporary one," says Aral.
Here are my thoughts on the new attachments:
Coanda smoothing dryer: This is the biggest change between the original Airwrap and the new one. The design is the most obvious change, but in using the attachment, the airflow felt stronger since it's more concentrated, and my hair dried more quickly than it did with the old Airwrap dryer head whose airflow I always found to be a bit too weak to even rough dry my thick hair. Aral echoed this sentiment, saying she experienced a faster drying time on her hair as well. I was especially impressed with the effectiveness the smoothing functionality. My hair has a tendency to frizz at the ends right after styling, and just a quick pass with the smoothing attachment got my hair looking super sleek and virtually fuzz-free in a matter of seconds.
1.2" and 1.6" barrels: I'll say it again: Game. Changers. Having access to a set that comes with long attachments is hugely convenient, and since my hair is down to my elbows, the extra real estate on the barrel really did make styling faster and easier. And the ability to quickly and easily change the direction of the curl saved me so much time and frustration. I can't count how many times my old attachments clattered to the floor when I'd change them (something I wouldn't normally mind, but at this premium price point...). The adjustable air flow is a nice, much-needed change.
Firm smoothing brush: This has always been my favorite and most-often used attachment on the Airwrap. While I love a bouncy, Revlon One Step Volumizer-type blowout, I prefer the paddle brush attachment on the Dyson to the round brush attachment because it dries my hair faster and straighter — plus, the round brush attachment on the Airwrap is too small with bristles too densely packed for me to tackle the full length of my hair. That said, the new firm brush took some getting used to for me. The firm brush on the original Airwrap definitely seemed to have a bit less airflow, but since the bristles had less give, it gave me more tension to work with so I could physically pull hair straighter. With the upgraded attachment, I found myself rotating the device to try and mimic that level of tension. However, the resulting style looked just as smooth and dried in about the same amount of time — and, bonus, Aral says the improved airflow and decreased tension can presumably result in even less hair breakage from the mechanical force of brushing.
Soft smoothing brush: As the name suggests, the soft paddle brush is designed to give even less tension than the firm brush. I found the original version of the attachment usable albeit less effective. However, the new version with improved Coanda just doesn't have the oomph I need to get my strands sleek and smooth. The resulting blowout looked a bit frayed and frizzy. I won't reach for this one again.
Round brush: The design and size are nearly identical between the old attachment and the new one, but since I've used my old attachment so much over the last three-plus years, the bristles are worse for the wear. As such, the new attachment gave me a lot more tension which made it easier for me to style. Plus, Aral noticed a big improvement on hers. "In my old set, the round brush would sometimes detach from the base piece when too much force was applied," she said. "The new round brush seems to be designed more sturdily and, in my opinion, can better compete with the blow-dry brushes out in the market."
Bottom line: Is the Dyson Airwrap Complete worth it?
It entirely depends on your hair type and hair goals, your lifestyle and, of course, your budget — $600 is an exorbitant amount of money to spend on a hair tool, that's pretty unarguable. But, for someone like me who likes to regularly get smooth, sleek blowouts on naturally curly, thick hair, it really did change the game. What once cost me a salon visit I can now do on my own whenever I choose. I also love that the heat is so much gentler which means less damage to my hair over time.
That said, the tool isn't without flaws. Aside from the sky-high price point, there's a substantial learning curve when it comes to adapting to the innovative technology at first — it took me a matter of months, not days, to really figure it out. And not every attachment is a fit for everyone: I really only ever use the smoothing attachment, the curling barrels, the round brush and the firm smoothing brush. You'll also have to consider your hair type and what you're trying to achieve: While my hair happens to hold a curl well, the Airwrap might not be right for you if your hair struggles to hold a style as the gentle heat may not be strong enough to set a style (although that can be improved by using styling products like a mousse or using the curling attachments on damp hair). Lastly, if you don't plan on styling your hair with the device regularly, it may not wind up being worth the cost.
Even with its imperfections, the Airwrap has a cult following for a reason. And in the GH Beauty Lab, we can't get enough.
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