Shark FlexStyle Air Styler and Hair Dryer: Our honest review

Dyson’s Airwrap hair styling tool was a groundbreaking piece of technology when it launched four years ago. Since then there has been no end of tips shared on how to achieve the same look as the pricey gadget for less, from copycat tools to DIY hair tricks, but none have really come close to knocking the Airwrap off the hot tools hotspot – that is until now.

Fellow vacuum cleaner maker Shark has just launched the FlexStyle Air Styler and Hair Dryer, £299.99 here, a 5-in-1 tool that creates styles using air flow instead of high heat temperature for minimal damage to hair (sound familiar…?). Shark claims that the tool is suitable for all hair types, textures and lengths, and for all abilities.

The FlexStyle starts off as a hair dryer, then twist it around into a wand and you can click in one of the attachments: blow-dry nozzle, paddle brush, oval brush, diffuser and – arguably the main attraction – two curling wands, which automatically pick up the hair and wrap it around the barrel to create shape. Use on 80% dry hair, hold the wand in place for 10 seconds before blasting with the cold shot button to set the style.

It’s not hard to see the comparisons between this and the Airwrap (albeit £180 cheaper in price). But how does it perform? Beauty editor Laura Mulley tests it out…

Laura’s review of the Shark FlexStyle

I love how clever the Dyson Airwrap is, but as someone who has never really mastered using it (no fault of Dyson’s – I have no arm coordination and my hair doesn’t like to be told what to do), I was keen to see if I would perform better with Shark’s new one.

It makes a good first impression – the main device clicks satisfyingly between being a hair dryer and a wand, and it’s all stored in a chic black case. I’m highly incompetent at styling my own hair, but after getting to grips with where all the buttons are, even I could get the hang of this – and I’m really impressed by it.

The hair dryer delivers a powerful blast for its small size, getting right into the roots. The curlers take all the arm manoeuvres out of creating bouncy waves. And the round brush is great for shaping my grown-out fringe. I personally wouldn’t use the diffuser attachment nor the smoothing paddle brush, but I can see myself reaching for the other three tools every time I style my hair. I also like that the attachments never get too hot to touch, and that both the temperature and air speed are adjustable.

In truth, I need the intense heat of a straightener or a tong (and some super-strength styling products) to hold my long, fine, poker-straight hair in a bouncy curl for any length of time, but this definitely gave me a more “done” look – and with less effort than my usual endeavours. I’ll popping into my suitcase the next time I’m travelling, too.

The Dyson Airwrap comes with more attachments – friends of mine swear by the flyaways smoothing nozzle in particular – and it is a more chic design, but I noticed very little difference between the results of both. If you’re tempted by the technology but want it for a slightly lower cost, I’d really recommend checking out the FlexStyle.

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