Sling your straighteners and chuck out your tongs
Sling your straighteners and chuck out your tongs. CLAIRE COLEMAN tests the new… Hairdryers that do EVERYTHING!
- Claire Coleman asks if you could replace all of your hair gadgets with one
- UK-based journalist puts the latest super hairdryers to the test, like UKLiss 6 in 1
- She also tested the new Remington Curl & Straight Confidence Air Styler
Could you really bin your hairdryer, your curling tongs, your straighteners and your barrel brush and replace them all with a single gadget?
That’s the promise of the new Swiss Army knife-style hairstyling devices, which boast as many as six attachments to give you every imaginable look without cluttering up your cupboards.
The latest contender comes from Shark, whose £300 Air Styler is clearly a challenger to the expensive Dyson Airwrap (£500). The Airwrap changed the styling game when it hit the market in October 2018, and has been relaunched this year.
These ultra-modern tools work by using hot air to fix your style rather than the super-heated metal of old-school curlers and straighteners. They promise to save you time and be gentler on your hair.
There are cheaper versions out there, too — but which is really worth your cash?
Claire Coleman (pictured) asks if you could replace all of your hair gadgets with one. UK-based journalist puts the latest super hairdryers to the test, like UKLiss 6 in 1
PRICEY BUT POWERFUL
Shark FlexStyle Air Styler & Hair Dryer (£299.99, sharkclean.co.uk)
Length of cord: 2.5m
Number of attachments: Five — a styling concentrator (rather like the nozzle on a regular dryer), a diffuser, an oval brush, a paddle brush and two curling barrels (you use one for curling your hair towards your face, the other for away).
Max power: 1400w, three speed settings, three heat settings, max temp 95c, and a cool shot.
We say: The big selling point of the Dyson when it launched was something called the coanda effect: the way in which air (and consequently hair caught in a jet of air) flowing across a surface will bend and follow the curve of the surface.
Shark FlexStyle Air Styler & Hair Dryer (£299.99, sharkclean.co.uk). This gadget uses the same tech in its curling barrels and I like their length, which lets you curl more hair at once than other stylers.
This gadget uses the same tech in its curling barrels and I like their length, which lets you curl more hair at once than other stylers. But it’s annoying having to swap them over depending on which direction you want your hair to curl (on the Dyson you just flick a switch).
The curls are softer and less defined than a curling tong — more like a classic bouncy blowdry.
Other plus points include a head that can swivel 90 degrees from a wand to a classic hairdryer shape; and the extra wattage seems to make drying quicker.
Verdict: The storage case is neat, and the diffuser with retractable prongs is a nice touch for curly and textured hair. It comes with a hefty price-tag though. 3/5
TOP NOTCH, TOP PRICE
Dyson Airwrap Complete (£499.99, dyson.com)
Length of cord: 2.5m
Number of attachments: Six — a dryer head that doubles as a smoother, a 30mm curling barrel, a 40mm curling barrel, a firm brush, a soft brush and a round volumising brush. Other attachments, such as a wide-tooth comb (£30) for curly or coily hair, are also available.
Max power: 1300w, three speeds, three heat settings with a max temp of 150c, and a cool shot.
We say: Subtle improvements in this redesign include brushes that use the coanda airflow effect to grip hair and an attachment to smooth flyaways.
Verdict: Pricey, but you’re getting what you pay for. This is a clear upgrade on the original. Of all the air stylers we tried, this had the strongest coanda effect, meaning that curls last longer. 4.5/5
FALLS SADLY FLAT
UKLiss 6 in 1 (£99.99, amazon.co.uk)
Length of cord: 2m
UKLiss 6 in 1 (£99.99, amazon.co.uk). Not worth your money — especially if you’re buying an air styler because you want to use low temperatures on your hair to prevent damage: the curling barrels get hot very quickly
Number of attachments: Six — two curling barrels (though essentially they do the same thing), a drying nozzle, a round soft bristle barrel, an oval brush and a flat brush.
Max power: 1000w, three heat settings.
We say: If you hadn’t tried the Dyson or Shark, you could be fooled by this lookalike, but there’s no cool shot to help set your style, the attachments don’t clip on convincingly and the drying nozzle is like a very average wall-mounted hotel dryer.
Verdict: Not worth your money — especially if you’re buying an air styler because you want to use low temperatures on your hair to prevent damage: the curling barrels get hot very quickly. 1/5
Babyliss Air Style 1000 (£70, babyliss.com)
Length of cord: 2.3m
Number of attachments: Four — drying nozzle, 50mm soft bristle barrel, firm paddle brush, conical curling wand.
Max power: 1000w, two heat settings and a cool shot.
We say: This seems like the sort of thing you’d throw in your suitcase if you wanted a do-it-all gadget while you were away. The placing of the cool-shot button is very unintuitive — you go from zero to cool shot to low heat to high heat on the slider, when you’d only normally use the cool shot after the heating settings, but that aside, it’s all fine. The round and conical barrel are both useable but not fantastic.
Verdict: Trying to be a jackof-all-trades, this ends up master of none. It will dry, curl and smooth, but there are better tools out there for all of these tasks. 3/5
Remington Curl & Straight Confidence Air Styler (£64.99, uk.remingtoneurope.com)
Remington Curl & Straight Confidence Air Styler (£64.99, uk.remingtoneurope.com). A neat case and attachments that click on and off nicely are the plus points, but a lack of power means drying takes a while
Length of cord: 2.5m
Number of attachments: Four — a drying nozzle, a firm paddle brush, a rotating 30mm air tong with clip and a rotating 40mm soft bristle barrel.
Max power: 800w, two heat settings and a cool shot.
We say: A neat case and attachments that click on and off nicely are the plus points, but a lack of power means drying takes a while. The rotating tong with clip seems like a recipe for disaster — causing the same hair damage as a regular tong but with the added issue of flyaways and tangling potential.
Verdict: Remington sells some good hair styling tools, but unfortunately this isn’t one of them. 2.5/5
LOOKS GOOD, BUT…
Envie 5-in-1 hair styling brush (£79.99, lloyds pharmacy.com)
Length of cord: 2m
Number of attachments: Five — dryer head, 25mm barrel brush, 32mm barrel brush, oval brush, paddle brush.
Max power: 900w, three heat settings, two speed settings.
We say: The grey and shocking pink colour scheme evokes the Dyson, as does the drying nozzle, but the similarities stop there. The nozzle doesn’t give good directed flow so you end up with a lot of flyaways, and the controls are impossible to use one-handed. It’s also difficult to get any sort of curl. On the plus side, the paddle and oval brushes have nice big heads.
Verdict: Doesn’t seem to have been designed by anyone who’s actually had to use it. 2/5
BEST BARGAIN BUY
Revamp Progloss™ Airstyle 5-in-1 Multi Styler (£59.99, boots.com)
Revamp Progloss™ Airstyle 5-in-1 Multi Styler (£59.99, boots.com). The paddle brush is a good size — helpful if you’ve got a lot of hair that you want to dry smooth
Length of cord: 3m
Number of attachments: Six — a drying nozzle, a diffuser, a paddle brush, a 32mm soft bristle brush, a 38mm rotatable firm bristle barrel and 19mm air tong with clip.
Max power: 1200w, two speeds, three heat settings and a cool shot.
We say: The way the attachments clip on isn’t as intuitive as the others, and you need to check carefully that they’re facing the right way. The dryer seems powerful and hot, although it’s not very well designed in terms of ergonomics.
The paddle brush is a good size — helpful if you’ve got a lot of hair that you want to dry smooth.
The curling tong gives good, tight curls on small sections, but you’re basically using hot air to heat it rather than the coanda effect, leading to more flyaways than a regular tong. The rotating barrel can give you bouncy curls, but the manual rotation feels clunky.
Verdict: This was the least expensive of all the air stylers we tried and by no means the worst. If you just want to dry your hair smooth and don’t want to mess around with extra tools, it’s a decent buy. 3.5/5
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