I've been in a deep, committed relationship with my straightening iron since I was 12. Starting in the 6th grade, I would wake up a full two hours before I had to leave for school to blow-dry and flat iron my natural curls until they were silky smooth. Though this process has changed slightly in the last two decades, I'd still estimate that I use my straightener for touch-ups or a full-styling at least five days a week, 9 months of the year (I only take a break in the summer, when the humidity decides to work for my waves instead of against them). And if you do the math, twenty years times five days a week times 39 weeks equals... a lot of damage.
I'm a beauty editor, sure, but even the average person knows that incessantly clamping your strands between two 450ºF plates is a recipe for disaster. And for me, this created a vicious cycle: The only way to keep my hair from looking as dry and frayed as it actually was was to straighten it into submission... and repeat the process ad nauseam. I've tried countless blowdryers and better-for-your-hair hot brushes, but none of them gave me the silky smooth strands I wanted.
So when I got my hands on Dyson's latest launch, the Dyson Airstrait ($499), I was both elated and skeptical. The tool promises to take your hair from wet to straight in a matter of minutes without damaging it in the process—which honestly sounded too good to be true. Though I've been a longtime user of the Dyson Supersonic Blowdryer, I'm not a fan of the brand's AirWrap styler or Corrale straightener for my particular hair needs (I've found that AirWrap's curls don't hold in my hair and that the Corrale is heavy and annoying to use), so I was unsure about how well this new device would deliver. But it's now been in my possession for two weeks and—shock of all shocks, to me in particular—I haven't touched my blow-dryer or straightener since.
How the Dyson Airstrait works
If you're familiar with Dyson's hair tools, you know that the brand's entire thing is making products that won't compromise the health of your hair. The Airstrait is no different. Unlike a traditional straightening iron, which uses a set of hot plates, the Airstrait uses “precise directional airflow" to dry and smooth your strands.
To get a little science-y for a second, changing your hairstyle requires breaking the hydrogen bonds within your strands and then resetting them into the new shape, which is typically done with heat. When your hair is wet, it's easier to manipulate these bonds, so you can shape them to the form your liking (in this case, straight) without using extreme temperatures.
"By using the optimum level of heat and controlled airflow, we’ve found a way to style hair with less damage," the Dyson team shared in a press release. "Styling with air allows for the creation of straight styles whilst maintaining volume and movement. Once hair is dry and aligned, the bonds are reset in different ways, locking the new style in place."
The tool is equipped with a Hyperdymium™ motor that is—no joke—faster than most professional race car engines, which shoots out temperature-controlled air at a 45-degree angle to dry and straighten your hair in one fell swoop.
Using the Dyson Airstrait
As you may have gleaned, the Airstrait is basically a blowdryer-straightener hybrid—and looks like exactly that. When it's in the locked position, it functions as a traditional blowdryer and basically blasts (very intense, not so hot) air onto your strands. And when it's unlocked, it looks like a straightening iron (meaning that you can open it up and place a section of hair between the two arms), but features jets where the plates would typically be.
It's equipped with an LED screen that makes it easy to switch between the tool's modes and airspeeds. There's a 'Wet' styling mode, which has three heat settings (175°F, 230°F, and 285°F); a 'Dry' styling mode that has two heat settings (250°F or 285°F, which, you'll notice are much lower than the 450°F temps most traditional straighteners top out at); and a 'Cool' mode to help you set your style. There's also a root drying mode and a cold shot mode, as well as options for low-flow and high-flow air pressure.
The brand claims that the tool works on all hair types, and based on what I've seen on social media, that rings true. I have 4A waves, which are pretty easy to straighten in general (at least, with an iron), so I had high hopes about what the AirStrait would do for my individual strands. On curlier and kinkier textures, you'll still get a straightening and smoothing effect, but it may require a bit more time and legwork.
@beingcrystalnicolee scared was an understatement | trying the new dyson airstrait #type4 #dysonairstrait #dyson #naturalhair #fyp ♬ original sound - CRYSTAL NICOLE
My Dyson Airstrait review
I assumed there would be some sort of a learning curve the first time I used the AirStrait, but frankly, this thing is fairly idiot-proof (and I say this as someone who still doesn't know how to properly use a curling iron).
When you turn it on, it goes through a 10-second cleaning process to ensure the vents aren't clogged with any dirt and debris, which the brand says is a helpful step in ensuring the tool functions properly for as long as possible (when you're spending $500 on anything, you don't want it to crap out after six months, so I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this inclusion).
TikTok told me I should rough dry my hair—particularly the roots—before attempting to straighten it, so I blasted my strands with the dryer on wet mode and in the locked position until it was about 50 percent dry. Then, as directed, I took a small section of my hair between the jets, ensuring that the airflow was pointed down (this, apparently, is really important). I moved the tool s-l-o-w-l-y from root to end, and after a single pass it was perfectly dry, straight, and smooth.
As I worked through the rest of my head, there were a few things that struck me about the tool. For starters, there wasn't a single whiff of the typical burning hair smell that I'd become so used to after all those years of flat ironing. I also loved that the tool didn't pull on my hair as it straightened, because I know that type of tension can create additional damage. And unlike the AirWrap, the device goes to sleep after 3 seconds of inactivity, which meant that I could set it down on my desk between passes and not worry about it blowing everything all over the place (FWIW, it turns back on immediately when you want to use it again—all you have to do is close it around your hair).
It typically takes me a half an hour to blow-dry and straighten my hair, but this process took—and this is not an exaggeration, because I timed it—seven minutes from start to finish. To say I was blown away would be an understatement. In all my years of working in beauty (and in all the years before that of using beauty products), I have never, ever experienced a product this game-changing. I'm hesitant to tell anyone that they need a $500 hot tool, but if you're looking to save time and mitigate damage in your styling routine, the Airstrait is a worthy investment.
@zoeweinerrr I tried the #dysonairstrait ♬ original sound - Zoe Weiner
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