The 2022 update to Dyson’s must-have Airwrap curling tool comes with some clever new features
- Fast and easy styling
- Air curling rather than direct heat reduces hair damage
- Solid build quality with fashionable looks
- High price
Dyson might be known for its innovative cordless vacuum cleaners, but it has gradually been making waves in the hair styling market as well. With the introduction of the Supersonic hair dryer, Corrale cordless straightener and the original Airwrap curler in recent years, it’s become something of an iconic brand in the electrical beauty space.
Each launch brought with it some form of revolution in hair styling, with a focus on using technology to help reduce heat damage and improve long-term hair health. The original Airwrap, launched in 2018, championed this approach by using air rather than direct heat to style hair into natural-looking, bouncy and shiny curls.
Cut to 2022, and Dyson has launched a new version of its cult product, with some clever new additions. At nearly £500, it’s a lot to pay for even the best hair curler – but will the updated Airwrap sell out as feverishly as the original?
New Dyson Airwrap 2 review: What you need to know
Where traditional curling tongs use heated metal barrels to shape the hair into curls and ringlets, the original Airwrap instead utilised hot air and a phenomenon called the “Coanda effect”. This is where a high-speed airflow attaches itself to the surface that it’s blowing across, causing the hair to wrap itself around the Airwrap’s barrel, where it dries into the desired curl shape.
Compared to traditional curling methods, using air rather than direct heat reduces breakage and damage to the hair. It also allows hair to be styled from damp rather than dry, reducing the time needed for styling.
The biggest difference with the 2022 Airwrap is that the curling barrels have a new switch that allows for the direction of airflow to be changed. This makes it easier to choose curls that best frame the face, with the ability to alternate between clockwise and anti-clockwise curls. The new tool also has improved airflow for faster drying and styling, as well as a selection of new bundled attachments.
READ NEXT: The best hair dryers for salon-fresh results
New Dyson Airwrap 2 review: Price and competition
Dyson’s new Airwrap Multi-styler Complete costs £480 in the UK and this gets you the curling wand with eight accessories, including 30mm and 40mm barrels, firm and soft smoothing brushes, a filter cleaning brush, round volumising brush and a Coanda smoothing dryer. You also get a free soft fabric storage case.
The Airwrap isn’t alone in using air as the main hair styling method, but it’s by far the most expensive. Revlon’s One Step hot brush costs £63 and blows hot air through vents in the side of a ceramic-coated brush, drying and styling hair at the same time. Babyliss’ Hydro Fusion Air Styler (£60) also combines rotating brushes with ionic technology for a glossier finish.
The T3 Airebrush Duo, meanwhile, includes both a flat brush and a round brush for sleek or curly styling, and includes smart heat controls for £170. The hot brushes are more suited to a rounded blow-out than classic ringlets, however.
A different kind of innovative curler is GHD’s Oracle (£135), which uses U-shaped ceramic plates surrounded by a “cool zone” that create curls as the hair is pulled through. The gliding method produces a soft and shiny finish and a more natural-looking curl than traditional tongs, and also reduces damage compared to curling at higher temperatures.
New Dyson Airwrap 2 review: Design and key features
If you’re familiar with the original Airwrap, then the new design will feel very similar. The airflow is powered by a V9 digital motor that blows through slots around the barrel and creates a pressure differential, causing the air to flow in a circle around the barrel. Placing a tress of dry or damp hair near the Airwrap causes it to wrap around the tool, where it takes on the shape of the barrel.
The tool comes with two different barrel sizes (30mm or 40mm) to create looser or tighter curls as desired; two paddle brushes for smoothing; and one round brush for salon-style volume. There’s also a new drying attachment to prep the hair for curling – you simply use the attachment to rough-dry wet hair and smooth down flyaways.
All the attachments clip on securely with a lock to keep them in place while in use, with cool-touch handles at the top of each attachment for safe removal.
There are three switches built neatly into the handle to control the heat and speed of the airflow; the third switch powers the unit on and off and also switches the air to cool shot mode to finish each curl. The switches are easy and intuitive to locate and use when styling; once you’ve dried the curl in place, simply flick the cool shot button to seal the cuticle and set the curl, for a longer-lasting result.
The most important addition to the updated Airwrap is a new switch on the barrel that reverses the direction of the airflow. This makes it much easier to change between clockwise and anti-clockwise ringlets, meaning you can style towards or away from the face, flick the ends out or under, and alternate between ringlet directions for a more natural result rather than styling each tress in a uniform way. There’s a slight knack to choosing the correct direction for each curl, but after a few goes with the tool this becomes more intuitive.
The new Airwrap uses an improved airflow system for faster styling, while retaining the intelligent heat control system from the earlier model. This ensures the tool never exceeds 150˚C, preventing heat damage to the hair. And like many modern styling tools, Dyson’s Airwrap incorporates ionic tech, which breaks down water droplets – heating the element produces negative ions, speeding up the drying time and sealing in moisture, leaving hair hydrated and glossy.
The new Airwrap has a 2.6m cord, which allows plenty of room to manoeuvre the tool around the head, and it comes in four stylish metallic combo colours: blue/copper, nickel/copper, copper/nickel and the classic fuschia/nickel. Build quality is good – the Airwrap itself feels solid and well balanced in the hand, without becoming tiring to use over the course of a full hairstyling session.
New Dyson Airwrap 2 review: How to use it
To curl with the Airwrap, you first need to wash and prepare your hair as you usually would for styling. Rough dry using the dryer attachment until hair is about 90% dry, brush and spritz with a heat protector spray, then section so that you can start from the bottom of the head and work your way up. The Airwrap works best on small sections of hair about 1in wide, so keep a sectioning comb handy.
Using the Dyson Airwrap is pretty intuitive – simply slide on your chosen styling attachment, select your preferred heat and airflow settings, and switch the tool on. Then you hold a section of hair close to the attachment and watch in wonder as it wraps itself around like magic. Keep the hair in place for around 15 seconds for it to dry and set around the barrel, then press the cool-shot button to cool down the hair and help the curl remain in place for longer.
To reverse the direction of the airflow, simply flick the arrow switch at the top of the tool. There’s a slight learning curve to working out which way the air is flowing, but it becomes obvious once you hold your hair to the tool. As soon as you’ve added your ringlets, use fingers to gently loosen the curl.
How long a full head of curls takes depends partly on the length of your hair and partly on how defined a style you’re aiming for. Our medium-length and medium-thick hair took around 30 minutes to style into loose, beachy waves. With practice, you should be able to achieve a variety of looks, from red-carpet ringlets to a voluminous bouffant. Changing the direction of the airflow between curls definitely produces a softer, more natural effect, but you can deliberately choose a more uniform look if that’s your preference.
Hair feels very soft after curling, and the Airwrap method is particularly kind to dry and damaged ends, which can look a little frizzled after heat styling with tongs. The drying attachment is great at smoothing flyaways for a sleek and professional finish and the curls themselves last well, especially when held in place with a puff of hairspray.
READ NEXT: The best curling wands
New Dyson Airwrap 2 review: Verdict
Like its predecessor, the Dyson Airwrap offers a genuinely innovative way to curl hair quickly and with less heat damage. There’s something quite magical about holding up a tress to the barrel and watching it wrap around, and the resulting curls are soft and shiny – and thanks to the ease of switching curl directions on the new model, curls look even more natural than before.
There’s no getting around the fact that this is a very expensive styling tool, however. The Airwrap costs significantly more than any comparable tool on the market, even its predecessor. If you have an original Airwrap that you’re happy with, it’s worth looking at the new accessories, which according to Dyson will be available to purchase separately soon; these will add flexibility to your current tool at a lower additional cost.
At almost £500, the new Dyson Airwrap is a significant investment and is likely to appeal most if you curl your hair very often and are looking to produce salon-quality curls while minimising heat damage to hair. If that sounds like you, we can’t deny that this is a great tool – only the price stops us giving it five stars.