I’ve been on a bit of a Dyson dupe mission the past couple of weeks, having tried the new Revlon Blow-Dry Multi Styler, which gives you the option to curl, style and dry with just one tool. Although similar in some aspects to the Dyson, I wouldn’t say that it was a die-hard dupe.
Then I saw Shark’s FlexStyle 5-in-One Air Styler and Hair Dryer, and had to do a double take before realising it wasn’t the Airwrap.
Similar in design and in function, the Shark FlexStyle dries and styles the hair, with five different attachments to achieve a range of looks.
Now, a disclaimer: I am a BIG Dyson fan, using my own Airwrap daily to style my own locks, meaning I have pretty high standards when it comes to multi-use hair tools. For this reason, you could say I am perhaps the best person to test any dupes out.
So how does the Shark tool match up? Let’s get into it…
Shark FlexStyle v Dyson Airwrap: how do they compare?
Shark FlexStyle 5-in-One Air Styler and Hair Dryer
Attachments: Comes with five, more available to buy
Heat settings: Three heat options and a ‘Cool Shot’ button
Suitable for: All hair types
Extras: Can also be used as a hair dryer
To put the Shark FlexStyle to the ultimate test against the Dyson, I used each tool on one side of my head to see the differences side by side. I opted to compare the curling barrel and round brush attachment from each brand, as those are the two tools I use almost everyday with my Airwrap.
On first impressions, the design of the Shark FlexStyle is very similar to the Airwrap, with a long styling wand that features three buttons to change the temperature and air flow. Picking up the individual attachments, the Shark curling barrels had a matte coating which feels almost like silicone (the Dyson’s has a smoother surface), while the Shark round brush is a lot larger and bulkier than the Dyson version.
The other main difference is that Shark requires you to change the barrel when you curl each side of your head, while the newest version of Dyson’s has been streamlined to one barrel which allows you to switch to change the direction of airflow.
Attachments: Comes with six, more available to buy
Heat settings: Three heat options and a ‘Cool Shot’ option
Suitable for: All hair types
Extras: Can customise which attachments it comes with
Now be prepared: the Shark, like the Dyson, is pretty noisy (think usual hair dryer noise levels), but you get used to it. The curling barrel pulls in the hair using air flow technology, creating less heat damage than normal curling tools and curling the hair more quickly.
When using Shark’s barrel to curl my hair, I noticed that it was pulling in slightly less hair than the Dyson, and that there were noticeably more fly-aways. It wasn’t a lot, and definitely not something that would put me off using it, but something to note when comparing the two.
The curls also set slightly less smoothly (as you can see in the video on our Instagram) compared to the Dyson, but overall, it still gave me gorgeous, blowout-style curls.
I used the round brush to style my fringe and found that while it was a bit bulkier to use, the results were the same with both tools. If you have a shorter fringe or finer hair, you’ll likely prefer Dyson’s round brush attachment which is smaller, allowing hair to wrap around more easily.
The rest of the Shark attachments also match up pretty well to Dyson’s, including the diffuser and paddle brush. With Dyson, you’re able to customise which attachments it comes with, which is a bonus over the Shark, but taking into consideration the £180 price difference, it’s up to you whether that customisation is worth the price.
Both of the tools also allow you to dry your hair but in slightly different ways. To change the FlexStyle to a hair dryer you simply need to twist and can choose to add the smoothing attachment or diffuser. With the Airwrap, simply pop on the chosen drying attachment and go.
Overall, I think the Shark is the best dupe for the Dyson I’ve come across. It is still pretty spendy at nearly £300, but the technology and styling abilities are very close to the Airwrap.
Would I still choose my Airwrap over the FlexStyle? Yes, but if you’ve not already got hooked on the Dyson look and feel, then you aren’t likely to feel like you’re missing out on anything going for the Shark.