Friday 23 March 2018

Will this hairdryer change your life?

Iconic inventor James Dyson has vowed to end bad hair days with the launch of his first ever hairdryer - yours for €399. But is it worth the steep price tag? Victoria Moss has road-tested it and the verdict is in ...

Impeccable hair: singer Una Healy.
Impeccable hair: singer Una Healy.
Dyson handout image of the company's new Supersonic hair dryer, which features its trademark bladeless fan
Victoria Moss.
Lisa Armstrong.
Karen Koster.
Hillary Clinton.
Blonde waves: Goldie Hawn.

The first ever hairdryer was invented in 1890, by a Frenchman (of course it was) called Alexander F Godefrey - essentially a sort of bonnet attached to the chimney pipe of a gas stove.

In 1920 the first handheld electric versions appeared - producing a meek 100 watts of heat. Seated hairdryers hit salons in the 1950s. Since then the at home handheld versions got a bit less clunky, and more powerful, but in terms of refinement have basically stayed the same for decades.

All those fancy ionic promises and nifty-looking casing? Nonsense, apparently.

Enter James Dyson. June sees the launch of his ¤399 answer to frizz and frazzled ends. The company has spent £50 million over four years on development and investigating the "science of hair."

More than 100 engineers have tested it on 1,010 miles of human hair and created 600 prototypes. The final version will contain the V9 (right), its smallest, most advanced digital motor, which Dyson claims is up to eight times faster than other hairdryer motors and half the weight.

The dryer has controlled air flow and heat which will not exceed 150 degrees (current models can reach a damaging 230 degrees) and genius magnetic nozzle attachments (so they don't fall off).

It's fair to say they're quite serious about taking on the $1billion (in Europe) haircare industry.

Dyson have worked closely with Akin Konizi, creative director of HOB salons. Today's hairdryers, he says, are heavy, the distribution of air is all wrong, they blast your hair and you can't control the heat.

The Dyson, says Konizi, is "the next level. Once you've used it you won't want to go back. A bit like driving a Porsche then a jalopy, it doesn't feel right."

Tester: Victoria Moss

if Victoria Moss.jpg
Victoria Moss.

Hair type: Thick and very long.

Normal drying time:  15-20 minutes.

Dyson drying time: 10 minutes.

Overall impression: I’ve never really spent much time thinking about hairdryers. My current one is a Remington something-or-other, it’s large, heavy, loud and gets continually hotter until it burns my ears then turns itself off. I usually get arm ache and give up before my hair is dry.

But, disclaimer: I have good hair. So I don’t have to do a lot for it to look nice. The Dyson has the same sleek sexy look as an Apple product. I loved it straight away. It’s light and easy to manoeuvre, and quietly blasts out an effective but not scalding heat.

Within 10 minutes of only using my hands (no brush) I had a salon-perfect, sleek blow dry. No frizzy wispy halo effect. Plus — it really holds. The next night I went to a party and everyone thought I’d had it done that day (and by a professional).

Hot hair drying tips: I followed Akin Konizi’s back, forward technique. Brush your hair back (then dispense with the brush) and hold the dryer high up over your head. With long hair the trick is to dry the roots first, moving the hair around with your fingers, then move down to the middle sections, then the ends. Then flick your hair forward and repeat so the underneath is dry. Flick back and enjoy the glossy finish. 

Life changing? Yes. As soon as I picked up my old hairdryer my heart sank. And then my ears burnt.

Tester: Lisa Armstrong

if Lisa Armstrong.jpg
Lisa Armstrong.

Hair type: Super fine. Not that there’s anything else super about it.

Normal drying time: The hair-dresser takes about 20 minutes.

Dyson drying time: 8 minutes.

Overall impression: I wasn’t necessarily looking to speed up my drying time since it was already short enough to make styling my hair before it was completely dry a challenge, but I was drawn to the healthier-hair promises. I like the weight and design of the Dyson and the magnetic attachments that stay in place come what may.

Hairdressers always tell you to hold your dryer at arm’s length above your head: the lightness and shape of the Dyson means you can do it without your arm aching. It’s clearly less damaging - none of the suspicious singeing aromas I normally encounter.

That’s a big boost, especially on my baby hair. It’s also significantly quieter. I can now dry and listen to the radio.

Hot hair drying tips: Akin gave me the best (chin length) bob-drying tips I’ve ever had: hold dryer a reasonable distance from your crown and rough dry your hair forward using your hands. When it’s 90pc dry, dry from the front, again, using your hands to smooth your hair backwards, following the shape of your head.

Repeat drying from the crown again for a minute or so until completely dry.

Finished results are sleek but natural looking without the dreaded Mayfair-madam root lift and minus the 80s curled-under ends.

Normally I’d have used straighteners to achieve this after using the dryer, with dubious, flattening effects. For extra volume or glossiness, Akin recommends a small YS Park pure boar bristle or mixed bristle brush (diameter about 65/70 mm).

Most of the time, however, there’s no need. When it comes to fine hair, it turns out your hands are the most sophisticated tooling device out there.

Life changing? Actually, yes. Apart from for special events, my weekly salon blowdries are a thing of the past.

What’s your  blowdry  personality?

The bounce

Hats off to the Una Healy, who manages to maintain her impeccable  hair even dancing in heels on stage. Move over Kate Middleton, Una’s the new Queen of bouncy.

The root-lift

if Hillary Clinto.jpg
Hillary Clinton.

What was once a pristine shoulder-grazing bob (even a slick up-do at times) is no longer. Hillary Clinton’s hair is headed north. You know what they say, the closer to power, the greater the root-lift.

The Farrah

if Goldie Hawn.jpg
Blonde waves: Goldie Hawn.

Farrah Fawcett wielded one of the most iconic blowdrys ever to grace the silver screen. The influence of her golden mane is still visible, not least in Goldie Hawn’s fabulous blonde waves.

The heavy flat iron

if Karen Koster.jpg
Karen Koster.

A blow dry followed by excessive straightening seems counterproductive to us, but Karen Koster manages to pull off this sleek style by framing the face with shorter layers.

Irish Independent

Style Newsletter

Stay on top of the latest fashion, beauty and celeb gossip in our Style newsletter.

Also in this section