Dyson Airwrap Review: The Pros, Cons, and If It’s Worth the Price


When the Dyson Airwrap launched in 2018, I did the same thing everyone else did: I looked at the hairstyling device that somehow dries, curls, and smooths all at once and said, “COOL!” Then I looked at the price tag and noped right out, telling myself my drugstore tools work just fine, even if they were bulky, heavy, and made my hair feel a little closer to death each time I used them. But after my second drugstore tool died within three years, I decided to officially give in and try a Dyson Airwrap.

In my head, it’s possible to justify the price *if* it really does replace the need for multiple tools and hair brushes, and *if* it actually does make your hair look as good as all those TikTok-ers who rave about it. So, I finally put the Dyson Airwrap to the test on my long, straight, fine hair, which is quick to blow-dry, but easily falls flat and barely holds a curl.

The Airwrap Complete styler comes with a zillion different attachments, which is how it smooths, curls, and dries—and also why it costs $549. But everything about it feels luxe: With the complete set (which is the one I got), all of the core attachments and parts come organized inside a weighty leather-like storage case with velvet trays and dividers that serves as a not-so-subtle reminder that this is more than your average curling iron. Lifting the lid feels like opening a treasure chest—chorus of angels and all.

Inside, you’ll find instructions and all the following pieces:

My thin, straight hair is well below my shoulders, and the barrels that come with it worked just fine, but anyone with thicker or longer hair might want to purchase the longer barrel attachments separately (see below for what I’m talkin’ about). Same goes for short hair: You might get better results with the smaller versions of the round and smoothing brushes. There’s also a longer and skinnier barrel attachment if you just want a tighter curl.

Basically, the Dyson Airwrap is super customizable, so if you feel like the complete set isn’t exactly what you need, check out the additional attachments before writing it off. I’ve dropped a few here to make it easy:

Yes! The whole point of the Airwrap is to be able style and dry at the same time, so you don’t need multiple steps and tools. Although I’ve heard some people say it works just as well on dry hair, the tool is designed to work best on at least slightly damp hair. And honestly, when I tried to touch up my dry hair with it the next day, I found that it was harder and more time consuming than just heating up a curling iron and fixing a few pieces. Instead, I had to re-wet my hair to re-style it.

Yes and no, depending on how good you are with heat tools and patience. Oddly, one of the hardest parts for me was figuring out how to use the barrels. The brushes and blow-dryer attachments were self-explanatory, but the barrels go against everything I’ve ever learned about how to curl hair.

Here’s how they work: The barrels use airflow that wraps in circles around the barrel (called the coanda effect), which is how it grabs the hair to style it (kinda like getting sucked into a gentle tornado). It took at least three separate tries and three failed blowouts before I had that aha! moment and figured it out. If you want looser beach waves with straighter ends, you can hand-wrap the section of hair around the barrels, but the coolest part of this device is how it sucks and styles your hair itself.

Because I’m too prideful to let a hair tool beat me, I turned to hairstylist Jon Reyman, a Dyson global styling ambassador, to give me some pointers and correct what I was doing wrong. Turns out, tiny tweaks can make the biggest difference.

The Dyson Airwrap, as great as it is, can only do so much, so if you’re not starting with perfectly prepped strands, your hair won’t hold a curl (or anything) at all. Because I have fine, straight, non-damaged hair, Reyman suggested I wash my hair with a simple cleanser or volumizing shampoo. I also nixed the hair oils and creamy heat protectants and stuck with only light-hold formulas and volumizing sprays that would add a little grit and encourage my hair to stay lifted. FYI: If you have fine hair—no matter if it’s straight, wavy, curly, or coily—Reyman suggests you prep the same way.

If you’re not planning on curling your hair with the barrels, use any of the brushes or the blow-dryer attachments to dry it completely. But if you do want to use the barrels, blow-dry your hair only until it’s 70 percent dry. Hair that’s too wet will take too long to style, and hair that’s too dry won’t style at all. That sweet spot for me is when my hair looks mostly dry but still feels a lil steamy and humid.

Just like you would when working with any other curling iron, section and clip your hair up and out of the way, only releasing small sections as you style them.

Not only do you have to choose the barrel size for how big you want your waves/curls, but you also have to choose the direction. Confused? So was I. In order to switch directions of your curls, you have to switch out the barrel (or hold it upside down). That’s one annoying part of the Airwrap that was the hardest for me to get the hang of, but the barrels have large, helpful arrows so you can see in the mirror which way is correct.

Either manually wrap your hair (which is what I did every time I got too frustrated to figure it out), or let the air wrap your hair itself. Here’s how: Hold your section of hair in the middle and place the barrel right next to your ends until they catch and wrap. Instead of rotating the wand to wind up the hair, all you do is move it toward your head. It sounds like an easy concept to grasp—but for me, it was not. At least not at first. Once you figure it out, though, it really does become second nature, and you stop thinking about it.

After you’ve held the section in place for a few sections, switch from the heat setting to the cool blast setting to “set” the curl, then turn off the Airwap. Grab a new section, and repeat. Once you’ve finished all of your hair, use your fingers to shake it out, or a boar bristle brush to soften the curls.

Realistically, regardless of your hair type, you’re going to get the smoothest, straightest hair with a traditional round brush and blow dryer (since it uses tension to straighten hair), or with a flat iron (which clamps your hair flat and straight). The Airwrap is more for the blown-out, softly straightened look (like you could get from a blow-dryer brush), not the stick-straight, super-sleek look.

Still, if you have finer, thinner, and/or straighter hair (think type 1a to 3b hair), yes, the Dyson Airwrap will help straighten your hair without making it look flat. But if you have a tighter curl type (think type-4 hair)? You can expect the Airwrap to stretch your curl pattern, but it definitely won’t give you the super-sleek finish of, say, a silk press, or even a traditional flat iron.

Listen, any heat tool is going to damage your hair more than using zero heat tools at all. But unlike your other heat-styling tools that get hotter than your oven’s broil setting, the Airwrap measures the temperature 40 times a second and regulates heat so it never gets too hot and fries your hair. And because it uses a combo of heat and air, it doesn’t need to be scorching hot to work. Less heat = less damage.

They can—but it’s not totally foolproof. Now that I have the hang of it, my curls look pretty good all day (see my photo here taken 10 hours later. The curls aren’t perfect, but they aren’t flat either). But how well your style holds will vary drastically depending on the products you use. “If you hair is having a difficult time with style retention, stay away from creams, oils, or anything that’s a softening agent because those will compromise your style,” Reyman says.

You’ll have to experiment and play around to figure out the combo of styling products that works best for your hair type, but for my fine, straight hair, volumizing mousse, salt spray, and texturizing sprays on damp hair made all the difference before styling. If you still struggle, try misting on a hairspray before you curl, or pinning up your warm curls while they totally cool and set. And remember the additional barrel attachment I talked about earlier that’s longer and skinner? It not only allows for tighter curls, but it also will help curls last longer in fine hair.

The Dyson airwrap is expensive, but you get what you pay for. In other words, you pay a lot and you get a lot. And it’s not all about packaging and presentation (although I do love that leather case). The technology and all the attachment options make it a single replacement for your blow-dryer, hair-dryer brushes, and curling wands, and I have yet to see an all-in-one hair tool that completely compares to the Dyson Airwrap.

But if you can’t justify the price and know you only want it for very specific attachments, you might be happy with one of the below cult-favorite hair tools instead.

It might have been love at first sight (so beautiful!), but did I love the Dyson Airwrap the first time I used it? Or the second or third? Not so much. The curling barrels are so different from traditional curling irons, so there was definitely a learning curve. But once I got the hang of it and figured out the right product combination to use first, the Airwrap really was a game changer.

I’ve never been able to make my hair look so bouncy and voluminous on my own, and it’s never looked so good (or, at least, not bad) by the end of the day. And as someone who always has to check a bag, I appreciate how light it is and easy it makes traveling with all your hair tools. I really thought the hype wasn’t going to be deserved, but I’ve found that I’ve only used the Airwrap since getting it, and my hair seems healthier for it, which is surprising.

Does that make the price easier to stomach? Kinda, yeah. But would I also recommend you beg for this for your next birthday/holiday/wish list instead of spending the money yourself? 100 percent yes, absolutely. Time to go ingratiate yourself with your parents/significant other!

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