When you style your hair, you’re most probably using a hair dryer, and either a pair of flat irons (say, a ghd) or a curling iron.
If you’re like me, you crank up that dial to the hottest possible point – even though you know it’s not great for your locks – since that’s the best way to get a really smooth finish, or get your curls to really hold.
That’s because the heat temporarily breaks down the connective bonds in the hair, enabling it to be reshaped. More heat = easier styling, which is why I always let the straightener go to at least 200 degrees Celcius (sorry, I know, I know, it’s bad). Then, once it cools, the bonds reform and voila: a new style.
Unfortunately, all those minutes spent applying extreme heat have been steadily chipping away at the integrity of our strands, causing significant damage that can never be undone.
“Applying far too much heat to dry hair is the problem,” Sam Burrowes, an engineer who works for innovation company Dyson, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“150 degrees Celcius is where irreparable damage is done to the hair.”
Yes. Irreparable. And that also means that hair becomes progressively harder to style, as the damage makes it harder for the bonds to reform each time.
Which sure, this is all useful intel, but what are we meant to do with this information?
Well, Sam says, it’s safer to style hair from ever-so-slightly damp. Moisture, it turns out, is the other really good way to briefly break down the bonds in each strand, before drying resets them.
Using moisture instead of heat to style means less damage, which makes sense. Just don’t use completely wet hair.
“80% dry is where you want it to be,” he told Yahoo Lifestyle. “It should be closer to dry than it is wet.”
Which is where the new Dyson Airwrap comes in. I was introduced to this item at a top-secret launch event. We had to hand over our phones and sign non-disclosure agreements just to be allowed in the room to view the new tool, which had been six years in the making.
It’s pretty much the most closely guarded secret in beauty technology since Dyson launched the Supersonic hairdryer in 2016.
And not to get too over the top about it, but this gadget is a game changer.
The Coanda Effect what-now?
Ingeniously, the tool uses the same principle as Dyson’s fans – the ‘Coanda Effect’. In plain English, this simply means the fact that air flowing over a curved surface will follow the curve instead of bouncing off it.
“This principle exists in other industries,” Sam explains. “It’s the principle that makes planes fly and it’s used in a lot of air-flow systems. It just hasn’t been used in hair styling before.”
The upshot is, the tool makes your hair magically wrap around a wand as it dries it using heat low enough to keep it healthy.
“The Airwrap never exceeds 150 degrees,” Sam says. “It’s closer to around 100 – well below the range where you’ll start to see damage.”
It’s hard to fully explain how amazing the Airwrap is without sounding like a bit of a cult member. It’s so different from the tools we’ve all been using for the last 100 years or so, since it doesn’t rely on heat to get the job done, which means it doesn’t really feel like it’s doing that much when you first use it.
Even though you can curl with it, there’s no real tension. It won’t tangle you up in knots. It doesn’t need to be babied to make it work. it doesn’t blast your scalp with burning heat. It just gently wraps your hair up, curls it, and then you let it go. Done.
It even comes with a bunch of different interchangeable heads so you can use it to get a smooth blow dry, big waves, and even straight hair.
The only thing that might hold you back is the price – at AUD$699 it’s not exactly a cheapie. But when you think about the number of hair tools that are almost certainly cluttering up your bathroom cabinets right now and how much you’ve spent on them, it starts to seem a little less painful. This is a high-end tool in the same family as their also-expensive Supersonic hairdryer.
What did I tell ya? Game changer.
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