The Dyson Airstrait Is Breaking the Rules of Hair Care

I have learned many hair care tips along the way—some stuck, others I abandoned, along with relaxers and boxed hair color. I have naturally thick curly hair—a mix of 3b and 3c, and I only got serious about caring for my curls in the last few years. Before then, I used chemical straighteners and a flat iron daily. To say I’ve been reckless with my hair in the past would be a vast understatement, but one thing I didn’t dare do, was apply heat to my hair when wet. It’s one of the only hair care tips I abided by, so when I heard of Dyson’s Airstrait, which claimed to straighten hair while wet with no damage, I was skeptical.

But alas, I am a beauty editor, and these are the risks of the job. It’s not easy, but someone’s gotta do it.

About the Expert:

Kate Craft: Reliability Engineer at Dyson

What You Need to Know About the Dyson Airstrait

The Dyson Airstrait is not your mama’s straightener, or your sister’s, or anyone you know ‘cause it’s in a league of its own. I studied the instruction manual more intensely than I did my finals for college—this device felt completely foreign to me.

The key element to know about the Dyson Airstrait is that it dries and straightens hair simultaneously, so you can take hair from wet to finish. It’s engineered to create a natural straight finish for all hair types. The appeal is that it doesn’t use hot plates and only airflow; Dyson claims “no heat damage” when straightening your hair with the Airstrait.

In their press release, James Dyson, Founder, and Chief Engineer, said, “having a strong understanding of how to manipulate and realize the potential of powerful airflow is fundamental to the performance of the Dyson Airstrait. This expertise, which we’ve gained over the last 25 years, is what has enabled us to deliver our first wet-to-dry straightener, with no hot plates, and no heat damage.” With this in mind, the tool is intended to act as a time saver and maintain your hair's integrity while allowing you to achieve straight and shiny hair every day.

I asked Dyson how this applies to type 4 hair specifically, "All hair, regardless of curl type, is made of the same basic structure and bonds. The difference between curl patterns comes from the distance between the disulfide bonds in your hair. The further apart the sulfur atoms, the more the protein molecule bends, and therefore the more your hair curls. Because all hair has the same basic structure, the same thought of using the weakened, wet state, of the hair to help with styling applies," Craft explained.

How the Dyson Airstrait Works

You can use the Airstrait in two ways: on wet or dry hair. Rather than two hot plates pancaking your hair into submission, the Airstrait uses a focused jet of air to straighten hair as it dries. In more science-y-Dyson terms: Two high-velocity downward blades of air converge at a 45-degree angle, and the downward force created is what straightens the hair.

There are two main styling modes: wet and dry. There’s also a “cool” mode to set your style once finished. The “wet” and “dry” modes are pre-set with specific heat and airflow combinations. In “wet” mode, you can choose one of three heat settings: 175°F, 230°F, and 285°F. When using “dry” mode, you can choose between 250°F or 285°F. And for airflow control, there are two speed settings, low and high. In addition to these modes, there’s a cold shot and root drying mode—the cold shot was great for sealing in my style.

Because the heat levels are low, Dyson ensures it's safe to use daily (a stark contrast from our flat irons). "The Airstrait uses no extreme heat during styling in the wet-to-dry mode, so yes, it is safe to use every day for full wet-to-dry styling or touch-ups," says Craft.

Styling Tips Directly From Dyson:

  • "Small, slow passes are the key to getting the best results, really giving the tool the time to work on the section."
  • "When styling each section, make sure to take the time to dry the roots. To do this, lock the arms in place to have the airflow setting set to high. Hold the tool close to your roots (similar to a blow dryer) to dry the roots before continuing with styling passes. You can also hold each section of hair with tension while drying the roots."
  • "Start with wet hair on the wet-to-dry mode for the 'initial styling'. Once your hair is dry and styled, switch over to the dry mode and use the “boost” setting for an extra smooth look."
  • "There’s a wide variety of settings on the Airstrait (both heat and airflow). We suggest playing around with the settings to find the best one for each individual’s hair type."
  • "Don’t be afraid to use any prep products! This tool can be used with any styling creams, gels, or oils since the tool it is self-cleaning, and the diffusers can also be removed for a deeper clean."

My Dyson Airstrait Review

I was genuinely excited to try this sophisticated form of technology on my lil’ ol’ head of hair and tried to keep my expectations tamed. After shampooing and conditioning, I used Maria Nila’s Coils & Curls Oil in Cream as a leave-in. I then dried my hair with a microfiber towel and added a few drops of Olaplex No.7 as a heat protectant. Because even though Dyson says no heat damage, I have trust issues.

At first, I was surprised by how loud the Airstrait was. It releases a gust of air every time you pass it over your hair, making the straightening process a little noisy. It’s not blow-dryer-loud, but if you’re getting ready with friends in the bathroom, you’ll need to raise your voice to keep the convo going. One feature I absolutely love, though, is the auto-pause technology. Every time I set it down, it turned off and resumed once I clamped it down on my hair again—a great way to preserve energy; I expect nothing less from Dyson.

Like a flat iron, it takes a couple of passes to straighten the hair—especially when running it over wet hair. Given there are preset heat settings (all below 300°F), I felt comfortable going over each strand a few times, and there was none of that dreaded burnt-wet-hair smell. However, I noticed some frizz and dryness on my ends upon use.

It took about twenty minutes to straighten my whole head, which was a new record. However, my hair didn't look as smooth as I had hoped, and I believe it's because it wouldn't get completely dry. However, to my surprise, my hair looked better the next day and the days following. It was soft, shiny, and laid more naturally than the first day I straightened it. It also only required touch-ups a few days later. In the future, I will rough-dry with the Airstrait first before passing over smaller sections to get that blow-out look the day of; using it on smaller sections is key for those with curlier textures. "For curly/coily hair, small, slow passes and styling from wet will help yield the best results," says Craft.

Overall, I plan to reach for the Airstrait first when straightening my hair but I won't replace it with my flat iron just yet. I will continue to use it as a tool in the straightening process to help reduce how much heat I use on my hair. It's a revolutionary device, and I'm grateful there’s a brand innovating ways for us to rock our fave hairstyles while protecting our beloved strands.

The Dyson Airstraight Is Breaking the Rules of Hair Care
(image source: Jasmine Desiree)

Curious about other Dyson products? Read our review of the Airwrap HERE!