Shark Just Released A More Affordable Version Of The High-End Dyson Airwrap, So I Tested Them Against Each Other

Hi, I'm Fabiana — a gal who has been blessed (and sometimes cursed) with a lot of very thick, coarse wavy hair. As a result, I'm always looking for the latest hair product or tool that could style and smooth my hair as quickly and efficiently as possible.

a selfie of the author

I typically embrace my natural texture and just air dry my hair as shown above, but on the occasion that I want to heat style it, it's a sweaty and tedious process that I will only do maybe twice a month. (Years ago, I learned how to give myself a salon-quality blowout from YouTube with just a round brush and blow dryer.)

Fabiana Buontempo

One recent Christmas, I was lucky enough to be gifted the Dyson Airwrap. It's a high-end multi-function blow dryer that dries *and* styles your hair at the same time — and it's developed a devoted fan following over the years even with its splurgy $599 price tag. Personally, this tool was a game-changer for me. I happily swapped my round brush and standard blow dryer for the Airwrap, and could vouch for the difference.

There are also several similar popular products on the market that claim to do the same thing at different price points — such as the Revlon One-Step ($44.99) and more recently, the Shark FlexStyle ($279.99).

Revlon One-Step

We've written about the Revlon One-Step over the years — including here and here — because several BuzzFeed staffers swear by it.

Shark is known for their vacuums and steamers and they too jumped onto the hair-styling bandwagon when they released the FlexStyle this past September. It's marketed as most similar to the Airwrap in terms of attachments and the many different ways it can style your hair. Both tools also use air and heat, which can be less damaging to your hair compared to traditional heat stylers.

ulta.com, sharkclean.com

Being a Dyson Airwrap fan for about two years now, I figured it was time to put it to the ultimate test by comparing it to the Shark FlexStyle.

Before I get into the testing, here's a detailed breakdown of the two tools.

The Shark FlexStyle:

a shot of the shark flexstyle tools

Price: $279.99

Styling attachments: 5

• Auto-wrap barrel curlers

• Oval brush

• Paddle brush

• Concentrated nozzle

• Diffuser

Speeds: 3

Heat settings: 4

Fabiana Buontempo

The Dyson Airwrap:

a shot of the dyson airwrap and its parts

Price: $599.99 (for the current model*)

Styling attachments: 6

• 1.2-inch curling barrels

• 1.6-inch curling barrels

• Firm smoothing brush

• Soft smoothing brush

• Round volumizing brush

• Pre-styling dryer

Speeds: 3

Heat settings: 4

*Note: The photo above is the first-generation model I use, which is a slightly older version of the Airwrap. The current model has one new attachment — the Coanda smoothing dryer.

Fabiana Buontempo

Here is how I planned to test each styler:

PRICE

• How do the prices compare to one another? 

• Is either one worth its price tag? 

EFFICIENCY

• How long did it take to blow dry my hair?

• Was it easy or cumbersome to use and switch out the attachments?

STYLING

• How long did my blowout last?

• Did it make my hair smooth and silky? Any frizz?

• How often did I have to touch up my blowout?

FUNCTIONALITY

• How noisy was it?

• How hot did the tool get?

So, without further ado, let's get into my experience of trying and comparing the Dyson Airwrap to the Shark FlexStyle!

The Shark FlexStyle

On the day of testing, I washed my hair with my usual smoothing shampoo and conditioner. From there, I put my wet hair in a microfiber towel before combing it with a wide tooth comb. As I usually do, I applied a bit of hair oil and smoothing spray before letting my hair air dry a bit.

a gif of hair being washed in a sink
Hulu

From experience, even though these tools simultaneously dry and style your hair, I learned that it's best not to use them on soaking wet hair. After letting my hair air dry for about 20 minutes, I took the concentrator attachment — that is meant to smooth hair — and dried my hair until it was about 80% dry. I loved that the concentrator was included as an attachment because it did help prep my hair by making it a little more smooth than rough drying it without it.

the shark styler

I was really impressed with the FlexStyle's dryer component not being a separate attachment as it was already built-in. To use just the blow dryer, you simply fold the base in half and turn it on, as seen in my photos above.

Fabiana Buontempo

As I got going with it, I noticed that this styler wasn't as loud as a regular blow dryer — but it also wasn't super quiet either. Basically, I wouldn't use this tool at 7 a.m. when people are sleeping, but the styler also wouldn't disturb a roommate's concentration if they're working while I'm using it.

From there, I sectioned off my hair and began to blow dry the different sections with the round brush attachment to achieve the smooth blowout I was going for.

Fabiana Buontempo

I like to flip my hair over and under the round brush to make sure I'm smoothing the hair at the root and getting that section of hair completely dry.

The first thing I noticed was how much bigger the FlexStyle's round brush was compared to the Airwrap's round brush attachment. The FlexStyle's brush allowed me to dry bigger sections of hair at a time which helped speed up the entire blow-drying process for me.

Fabiana Buontempo

Once my hair was completely dry and smooth, I swapped the round brush attachment for the curling barrels to add some bouncy curls to my blowout. The FlexStyle's barrels only come in one size — 1.25 — which I didn't mind since it was actually wide enough to use on my long, thick hair. Like the Airwrap, each barrel can either curl your hair away or toward your face — depending on the type of curl you're looking to achieve.

Fabiana Buontempo

It was super easy to take a section of my hair and guide it onto the barrel, the same way I do with the Airwrap. Overall, from start to finish, drying and styling my hair with the Shark FlexStyle took me around 45 minutes.

Final results:

Okay, not to be dramatic — but my finished blowout caused my jaw to drop!! My hair was so smooth and incredibly soft. Let's also take a moment to appreciate all the volume and bounce it had.

the author showing off her finished hair
Fabiana Buontempo

After two days of sleeping on my blowout and occasionally putting it up in a loose bun, I was surprised at how voluminous and bouncy my hair still was. I did have some frizz, and some of the hair by my roots got a little curly from sweat, but overall, I was impressed with how my hair looked. My curls did fall after a few days, but its volume made up for it.

a side-by-side photo of the author's hair

The only touch-up I felt compelled to make on my hair was on the third day. I went in with the round brush attachment to bring my curtain bangs back to life after they got a little flat-looking. I also curled some first pieces with the barrel attachments, and my hair looked as good as new.

Fabiana Buontempo

The Dyson Airwrap

I washed my hair with the same shampoo and conditioner and applied the same products that I used on my hair when I styled it with the FlexStyle to make it a fair comparison. I again let my hair air dry a bit before using the Airwrap's attachment to make it a regular blow dryer to get it about 80% dry. In terms of noise levels, I think it's a tie for both the FlexStyle and Airwrap.

a gif of a girl washing her hair in the shower
Sony Pictures Releasing

I then sectioned off my hair and used the Airwrap's round brush attachment to dry my hair. I got spoiled by the size of the FlexStyle's round brush because it felt like it took me much longer to dry and style each section of my hair with the Airwrap's smaller brush.

the author showing the dryer in use
Fabiana Buontempo

For this blowout, I used the Airwrap's1.6-sized barrels and curled sections in the hopes of giving it volume and bounce.

Fabiana Buontempo

Final results:

I've always been pleased with the Airwrap results, but now that I have something to compare it to, I actually realized how much less volume my blowout had with the Airwrap. My roots were also left a little curly, which was kind of annoying.

the author showing off her finished hair

Overall, my hair was definitely smooth and soft to the touch, but I felt compelled to flip my head over and spray some volumizing spray to give it some more oomph since the curls looked sad and limp. Overall, from start to finish, drying and styling my hair with the Airwrap took me a little over an hour — roughly 70 minutes.

Fabiana Buontempo

By the next morning, my curls definitely fell, which forced me to touch up my entire blowout. The good thing was that my hair barely had any frizz, and it still looked just as smooth as it did when it was freshly blow-dried.

the author showing her limp curls the next morning
Fabiana Buontempo

Overall thoughts on both tools:

a side-by-side photo of the shark flexstyle hair versus the dyson airwrap hair

Shark FlexStyle:

I was incredibly impressed with how well the FlexStyle worked on my hair. I went in with low expectations since I really have loved the Airwrap for the past two years. However, I think the price of the Shark is incredible for how well it works.

I was able to dry and style my hair considerably quicker with the FlexStyle. That was because of the size of the round brush, which is what I primarily used to dry my hair.

My hair was super bouncy and voluminous, and despite some frizz that came about on days two and three — I was overall really happy with the results. My Shark curls held and lasted longer compared to my Dyson curls, and I didn't feel the need to touch up my Shark hair as often as I do with the Dyson.

Overall, Shark really made a very impressive product that is way more affordable with just as good — if not better — results than its competitor.

Dyson Airwrap:

I've always been a loyal fan of the Airwrap, and I still believe it's an excellent product. However, now that I have a similar tool to compare it to, I learned that my Airwrap blowout doesn't last as long as I'd like.

Also, because of the smaller size of the round brush and the amount of thick, long hair I have — it takes me just as long to blow dry and style my hair using the Dyson as it did when I was using a regular blow dryer and round brush. I did achieve a smooth blowout, but it lacked the volume and bounce I personally love.

Fabiana Buontempo

TL;DR: The Dyson Airwrap ($599) and the Shark FlexStyle ($279) are both quality, premium products if you're looking to invest in something that's a step up from a standard blow dryer. However, I personally liked the Shark FlexStyle's results better. If you want the ability to blow out, curl, and straighten your hair with an all-in-one tool — without breaking the bank as much — the Shark FlexStyle is, in my opinion, your best bet.

BuzzFeed received the Shark FlexStyle for review purposes but was under no obligation to provide a positive one.

Have you tried the Dyson Airwrap or Shark FlexStyle? If so, what are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments below!