Dyson has already sexed up the vacuum cleaner and even the hand dryer, and now it’s turned its attention to the humble hair dryer.
The Supersonic has been four years in the making, at a cost of a cool £50 million. In excess of 600 prototypes were created on the way to the finished article, tested on more than 1,000 miles of human hair.
As a result, Dyson reckons it’s created the fastest, quietest, most hair-friendly hair dryer in existence. So will the Supersonic leave you feeling like you've just stepped out of the salon?
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There’s no question that this hairdryer looks cool. It's like no hairdryer you’ve seen before. I can even forgive the fuchsia-pink accents – perhaps there in case us ladies weren’t sure it was the product for us. Urgh.
The unboxing experience isn’t your average affair, either. With a standard hair dryer, you’ll likely be hit by an avalanche of clips and attachments as you pull open the box. But as you lift the lid on the Dyson, you’ll see your hairdryer and various attachments presented neatly in their own moulded compartments.
So why is the design so different? Well, the smart bods at Dyson have created a digital motor that’s small enough that it can sit in the handle, rather than be bolted on at the back of the dryer head.
One advantage of this, ahem, ‘cutting-edge’ technology is that the Supersonic feels more balanced, so you’re less likely to get arm ache as you’re using it. And if you have hair as long and unruly as mine, that’s kind of a big deal.
That said, it’s not lightweight. I pitted it against my existing, much bulkier hairdryer and they both weighed in at 700g, without attachments. The Supersonic is compact, though, and could easily squeeze into your hand luggage if you wanted to take it travelling.
Air is drawn into the motor, and then Dyson’s Air Multiplier technology amplifies its volume. This makes for a very fast, powerful and targeted current that’s easy to aim at whatever bit of hair you want to style. There’s also a heat-protection sensor that stops the temperature of said air ever getting high enough to damage your luscious locks.
One last feature of note is that each of the attachments is magnetic, so they snap into place at the front of the hairdryer with no effort whatsoever. There’s a Smoothing Nozzle, which dries and gives a smooth finish at the same time, and a smaller Concentrator that can be used for more precise styling. The final and largest attachment is the Diffuser for defining curls and defrizzing.
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The Dyson Supersonic is easy enough to use. Simply slide the switch to the 'on' position, and away you go.
To adjust the heat and speed, you’ll need to tap the fan and temperature buttons at the back of the dryer. There are four levels for each, indicated by blue LEDs. I’ll admit, I did find this a little fiddly. On my existing dryer, these controls are chunky and close to my thumb, so I can change them without looking. On the Dyson, the buttons are far smaller, so you need to have a good sense of where they are.
There is, however, a button conveniently close to where your forefinger would naturally sit as you hold Dyson’s dryer. Press this when styling for a blast of cool air. I tried the Supersonic first with the Smoothing Nozzle. Rather than blowing my hair around randomly like I was stuck in a Force 10 gale, the nozzle directed the heat efficiently.
Even when I rested it right against my hair, there wasn’t a whiff of that dreaded burning smell. Nor did my ears get uncomfortably hot as I dried around them. I have a blunt fringe that likes to do its own crazy thing, but the Styling Concentrator quickly coaxed it into submission.
But what really blew my mind was the Supersonic’s speed. I swear my hair was dry in around half the time it would usually take.
What’s more, it was visibly smoother and shinier. This meant I didn’t need to attack the frizz with the straighteners afterwards, or pile on a whole lot of finishing product.
Dyson has done a couple of things while engineering the Supersonic to make it run as quietly as possible. The first sounds relatively simple – using a rubber mount to reduce the vibration between the motor and the handle.
The second is more scientific. As James Dyson puts it, "by giving the motor impeller 13 blades instead of the usual 11, we pushed one tone within the motor to a sound frequency beyond the audible range for humans."
In reality, while the Supersonic is definitely much quieter than my existing hair dryer, it’s not the case that only dogs can hear it. The ultimate test came when I decided to dry my hair at the end of the bed where my husband was sleeping. A high-risk strategy, I’m sure you’ll agree.
He woke up. But he did drift off to sleep again almost immediately, and without pulling a pillow over his head as he might normally do. If you’re getting ready with the girls, you could certainly have a conversation over the Supersonic without having to raise your voice.
If you really care about your 'do, then I reckon the Supersonic is a worthy buy. Its ability to smooth hair was particularly impressive. It could save you a fortune in styling products, and you might even be able to ditch your GHDs or those pricey Brazilian straightening treatments at your local salon.
At £300, the Supersonic is hardly a snip. But if you’ve got the cash to splash, it’s well worth it to have a good-hair day, every day.