Mon. May 20th, 2024

To dupe or to not dupe?

That is the query one should ask themselves when wanting on the $600 Dyson Airwrap(opens in a brand new tab), a hair software with loads of hype and a hefty price ticket to match. Although there are many Airwrap dupes on the market, none have come so near recreating the Dyson expertise because the Shark FlexStyle(opens in a brand new tab), which begins at a way more manageable $279.99.

These two multi-stylers are as near similar as you will get.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

They appear mainly similar, however the similarities do not simply cease there. The Shark FlexStyle performs simply as nicely, and in some instances even outperforms the Airwrap — however Dyson nonetheless has considerably of an edge. We have been testing each merchandise for months, and have executed a deep dive in evaluating them with a view to decide as soon as and for all a winner on this battle of the recent air instruments. (And in the event you’re into deep dives, remember take a look at our full evaluations of the Airwrap and FlexStyle).

How is the Shark FlexStyle the identical because the Dyson Airwrap?

The FlexStyle bares a placing variety of similarities to the Airwrap, in all probability as a result of the truth that the unique Airwrap dropped in 2018, and the newer era in June 2022, solely constructing on the product’s recognition. In pure dupe timing, Shark’s iteration got here out in September 2022.

The large draw of the FlexStyle was that it makes use of the identical Coanda air know-how that Dyson appeared to have on lock for thus a few years (and from its web site appears to imagine it nonetheless has sole declare over). With that tech and the curling barrels, gone are the times when folks needed to persuade themselves they may get Airwrap curls with their Revlon One-Steps.

*Dakota Johnson voice* Really, no, that is not the reality, Dyson.
Credit score: Dyson / Screenshot

In phrases with what comes with every multi-styler out of the field, Dyson does provide barely extra instruments. Nevertheless, Shark fees a cheaper price ($279.99) for fewer instruments — however instruments which you can select. Or, for $299.99, you possibly can select between the set for straight and wavy hair(opens in a brand new tab) or curly and coily hair(opens in a brand new tab). Each stylers have attachments obtainable for added buy, which we’ll contact on extra beneath.

What attachments are included with the Dyson Airwrap:

Be aware: I’ve lengthy hair, so Dyson despatched me the “lengthy” model of the Airwrap (which mainly simply applies to the curling barrels), nevertheless it’s the very same worth.

What attachments are included with the Shark FlexStyle:

Clearly, Dyson affords some selection within the curl sizes and Shark is available in scorching for textured hair with a diffuser (which even within the array of extra choices, Dyson doesn’t have). In case you have curly hair, Dyson does provide a curly/coily model of the Airwrap(opens in a brand new tab) that swaps one of many smoothing brushes for a large tooth comb.

Most of the attachments are practically similar, with a pair outliers.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

The FlexStyle additionally has a twisting mechanism in its base, which lets you use to software extra like a conventional hair dryer. It does will let you use the attachments and multi-styler in a manner that you just cannot with the Dyson, which helps make up for the truth that it comes with fewer attachments general.

The Shark FlexStyle swivels on the hinge for a extra conventional hair dryer expertise.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

For the attachments which are mainly the identical between the 2 instruments, I hardly observed a distinction between their efficiency when reviewing the FlexStyle (which I reviewed after the Airwrap). To verify their similarity, I used probably the most comparable attachments once more to model one half of my hair every, to get a real aspect by aspect comparability. Here is what I discovered:

The curling barrel attachments

As I discussed, the Dyson curling barrels are a little bit longer, the place Shark remains to be a one dimension solely operation. When really styling my hair, nonetheless, I did not actually discover the Shark feeling tougher to work with or extra limiting within the sizes of sections I may decide up.

Shark actually mentioned “copy, paste.”
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

The larger distinction comes from the truth that the Shark barrels are extra akin to gen-one Airwrap barrels — for switching the path of the curl, you must change the barrels. As I famous in my FlexStyle assessment, this was really manner much less of a problem than I anticipated, however I did discover the distinction extra when styling my hair aspect by aspect.

I like a barely extra undone look, and curls going towards and away the face assist obtain that — the Airwrap made that change tremendous straightforward. Nonetheless, by itself, it isn’t sufficient of an inconvenience to spring the additional $300. On the finish of the day, curling my hair took roughly the identical period of time (with the Airwrap being a couple of minutes quicker) and produced the identical look.

Each wands additionally produced types that held for a similar period of time, which is to say not all that lengthy — in each of my prior evaluations, I famous how even with prepping the hair and utilizing hair spray, scorching air curls simply do not maintain the identical manner these from a curling wand or iron do. For me, these attachments aren’t the rationale to get both of those multi-stylers, however some folks appear to actually love them. Both manner, between the 2 instruments, the efficiency is sort of similar.

Are you able to truthfully inform a distinction? (Shark model is on the left, Dyson on the fitting)
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

Styling concentrator and smoothing dryer attachments

For drying down my moist hair to the 85 % dry vary for many of those types, I used every multi-styler’s dryer attachments (revolutionary). Right here is the place the Dyson’s grasp on the Coanda tech actually shined.

The smoothing dryer supplies an all-over tough dry, after which might be switched to a smoothing aspect, which makes use of the Coanda air movement to seize your hair, drying it and taming frizz on the identical time. It is tremendous easy to make use of, and whereas it may not fully rid you of frizz (or do nearly as good a job because the devoted smoothing brush), it does elevate the tough dry course of.

The Dyson smoothing dryer attachment.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

The Shark, alternatively, has a leg up in that it may be used to dry hair sans any attachments. The air movement is by no means concentrated, nevertheless it will get the job executed, and positively provides to its travel-friendly issue. The styling concentrator itself works high-quality, is nothing all that particular, and form of appears to be like like a vacuum attachment.

It is giving vacuum attachment on a hair dryer, however we’re nonetheless right here for it.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

When it comes to dry time, Dyson as soon as once more has a slight edge, proving to be a pair minutes quicker.

Oval and spherical brush attachments

You could be stunned (by which we imply by no means) once more to study that for probably the most half, it was arduous to discern an actual distinction between the spherical brushes of the Shark and the Dyson. Most clearly, they produce barely completely different outcomes as a result of they arrive in numerous sizes.

Technically, the FlexStyle is an oval brush, which has a bigger, rectangular diameter. The Airwrap is a pure spherical brush, with a 2.21-inch diameter. The smaller dimension makes for getting a slight curl or flip on the finish of your hair simpler, as you possibly can see beneath, the place I styled the fitting aspect of my hair with the Dyson.

Identical deal as earlier than — I used the FlexStyle to model the left aspect, and the Dyson to do the fitting.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

Shark has not too long ago launched a real spherical brush(opens in a brand new tab) that appears like an much more one-to-one duplicate of the Dyson brush. For what I examined although, each have been pretty straightforward to maneuver by my hair. The Shark has the basic combo of nylon and boar bristles whereas the Dyson makes use of solely tinier nylon bristles, and general appeared to have extra venting, which did barely velocity up the drying course of.

Although very completely different in dimension, each brushes gave me quantity, smoothness, and shine.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

The one different distinction right here is that the Shark brush can maintain a bit extra rigidity, which is particularly noticeable within the twisting mechanism within the base. It by no means felt prefer it was going to interrupt, nevertheless it did make the general Dyson expertise really feel higher.

Smoothing brush attachments

In my authentic assessment of the Dyson, the smoothing brushes have been my private favourite of the attachments, as they proved nice for taming frizz (a godsend on my wavy, dry hair) and reaching a straight glossy look, all with simply the hassle it takes to mainly brush my hair.

The FlexStyle paddle brush affords an identical look, however has extra rounded edges if you wish to obtain extra flip on the ends of your hair. The place the Dyson affords two brushes, every with a singular clean and agency bristle sort respectively, the FlexStyle brush makes use of boar and nylon bristles, similar to its spherical brush.

Although Dyson has two completely different smoothing brushes to Shark’s one, all three deliver roughly the identical factor to the desk.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

Actually, these variations weren’t that noticeable within the precise efficiency of the brushes. True to kind, the Dyson dried my hair a tiny bit quicker — although each stylers have been utilizing the center warmth and full fan velocity — taking a little bit over 5 minutes the place the FlexStyle took nearer to 10. The Dyson was perhaps a bit lighter, which felt extra noticeable as I slowly moved the comb down my hair.

When it was all mentioned and executed, my hair seemed and felt precisely the identical — straight, shiny, and mushy — and held the model all day (although this is not uncommon for my hair to do when straightened).

My 80 % air dried air earlier than styling.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

My hair post-smoothing brushes. I used the FlexStyle on the left aspect of my head and the Airwrap on the fitting.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

Further attachments provided

The opposite main attachment that comes included in Shark’s curly hair set is the diffuser, which supplies Shark a giant benefit over the Airwrap. Wavy- and curly-haired of us frequently use diffusers, so it looks like fairly the oversight for the Airwrap to not have one.

Dyson has no Airwrap counterpart for Shark’s FlexStyle diffuser.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

That is the place Shark’s twisting mechanism actually comes into play, as a result of it means that you can use a diffuser in a manner that is extra pure, and that Dyson merely cannot replicate. We’ll maintain our fingers crossed for the longer term, however in the intervening time, in order for you a Dyson diffuser, you may must go along with its Supersonic hair dryer.

Shark extra attachments for buy:

Factoring in these extra attachments, Shark affords a grand complete of eight completely different attachments, priced individually at $29.95 every.

Dyson extra attachments for buy:

Dyson’s particular person attachments value a bit extra per piece at $39.99. General, the Airwrap has 10 appropriate attachments, not accounting for the doubles between the “lengthy” and regular variations of the barrels (since you’ll doubtless get one or the opposite).

Neither model affords something that completely different with the extra attachments, however Shark affords extra selection usually with the meant goal of the instruments — providing a diffuser and a large comb, as an example, feels higher than Dyson’s 4 completely different smoothing brushes. In case you’re into micro-customization although, the Airwrap will you have got you coated.

Variations in warmth injury

One of many enormous advantages of utilizing scorching air instruments is that they do not expose your hair to as excessive, direct warmth as conventional scorching instruments like flat irons or curling wands.

Dyson’s warmth management system measures the Airwrap’s temp over 40 occasions per second to verify the hair won’t ever be hit with air hotter than 302 levels Fahrenheit. A Shark consultant instructed Mashable that the FlexStyle tops out at 203 levels and measures the system’s temperature as much as 1,000 occasions per second.


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Clearly, it is a a lot increased quantity, and never doable to measure whereas utilizing it. What I’ll say is that I do not discover an enormous distinction between the highest warmth on the Dyson and the Shark, and positively not a 100 diploma one.

Although particular person injury can be practically not possible to measure, I do not discover my hair initially feels extra fried utilizing one software over the opposite. I’ll say that the FlexStyle has extra warmth choices, providing a heat, medium, and scorching warmth along with the cool shot button. The Airwrap, alternatively, has a chilly, heat, and scorching air movement, in addition to a cool shot change, although there is not a discernible temperature distinction between the cool setting and funky shot change. Each instruments have three air speeds.

The Shark has barely extra temperature choices.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

As a fast apart, although the controls are barely completely different, neither felt higher than the opposite, although I did barely desire the cool shot change mechanism of the Dyson to the button of the Shark. Nevertheless, I do not suppose that is a make or break function.

General, each really feel higher for hair well being than conventional scorching instruments (and felt much better than cheaper scorching air instruments just like the One-Step). As with all warmth styling, you need to all the time be utilizing a warmth protectant when utilizing both.

The largest perks of splurging on an Airwrap

So why would anybody spend double the value? As with all costly luxurious product, Dyson does surpass Shark when it comes all the way down to the small print.

For example, Airwraps have all the time include a carrying case. It is a little bit cumbersome, however its velvet inside and clean exterior really feel good, and much beat storing your multi-styler in its authentic field, as I’ve with the FlexStyle. It’s value noting nonetheless, that Shark has not too long ago come out with its personal storage case(opens in a brand new tab).

Although nothing too particular, the Dyson case is nicer than the Shark FlexStyle field.
Credit score: Bethany Allard / Mashable

Although Shark’s new case exhibits some promise.
Credit score: Shark

Nonetheless, Dyson has the leg up, additionally providing a show stand(opens in a brand new tab) and a journey case(opens in a brand new tab) for taking your Airwrap on the go.

Past storage, as famous above, the Dyson does dry a tiny bit quicker. Personally, I am extra a fan of its colours than the beige Shark. Lastly, the Dyson is a tad quieter, however not a lot in order that it might make any useful distinction in say, waking up a roommate over the Shark — primarily, it is simply barely extra nice to hearken to as you do your hair.

Which is a greater worth?

In case you’re buying by way of pure worth, the reply is fairly apparent: Go for the FlexStyle. Once more, it’s at the least half the value of the Dyson, and largely performs the identical. Sure, there are some minor areas the place the Dyson will likely be a bit higher — and perhaps if it have been $50 or $100 extra I would say go for the Dyson.

However you might purchase two FlexStyles for the price of one Dyson. You should buy extra attachments for cheaper. Once more, I’ve had each for months, and neither feels prefer it’s performing any worse than the day I acquired it.

In case you’re keen to let go of only a little bit of that luxurious really feel, and as an alternative simply desire a software that may model your hair and do it nicely, the FlexStyle is the way in which to go.

Is it simpler to search out the FlexStyle in inventory?

Each the Airwrap and the FlexStyle can be found at a number of retailers, together with:

Although inventory can nonetheless be a hit and miss with each instruments, the Airwrap will not be practically as elusive because it as soon as was. On the time of writing, it is in inventory on Dyson’s web site, at Sephora(opens in a brand new tab) in its particular version colour, and at Finest Purchase(opens in a brand new tab). The FlexStyle can be extensively obtainable.

The ultimate verdict: Shark FlexStyle vs. Dyson Airwrap

This doubtless comes as no shock primarily based on every little thing above, however in the event you’re not somebody who desires luxurious for the sake of luxurious, it is a clear go for the dupe — the FlexStyle affords practically every little thing the Airwrap does, after which some extras that the Airwrap would not, for half the value.

Based mostly on the FlexStyle’s additions thus far, from the storage case to the expanded vary of attachments, evidently no matter Dyson does subsequent with its multi-styler, Shark is prone to comply with. So why not go for innovation at a way more cheap worth?

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