Why the new Dyson Supersonic hairdryer is blowing the competition out of the water

Why the new Dyson Supersonic hairdryer is blowing the competition out of the water

What's the fuzz?

Text: Renée Batchelor

When Dyson first introduced the $599 hairdryer, it begged the question as to what was behind such a pricey piece of technology. To uncover the answer, we try it out for ourselves... and ask the experts

Dyson, started by its British founder and namesake James Dyson, is no stranger to controversy. With convention-busting designs (like the bladeless fan), the oft-imitated brand prides itself on breaking the mould when it comes to everyday household items. The next item to receive a complete makeover? The humble hairdryer. Several months after its launch in the UK, the Dyson Supersonic has finally made its way to our shores, as the brand takes a big leap into beauty.

Salon Vim is the first salon in Singapore to be changing all its hairdryers to the professional version of the Dyson Supersonic. Says Salon Vim co-founder Gary Chew, "I was amazed when I first saw it. The first thing I noticed about the hairdryer was its unique form. It looks like something from the space age! Being a seasoned veteran in the hair styling industry, I have always been on the lookout for lightweight and efficient hairdryers. From the moment I set my eyes on it, I knew I just had to own one." 

And customers who have had the opportunity to experience it have been pretty much sold. "It's definitely been drawing a lot of attention and questions. Many of them are surprised to hear that Dyson now makes hairdryers. Some are really keen to own one just based on its looks, but it's only upon learning what it can do that they fall in love with it. Typically they comment about how well the heat is managed on their hair, and that they don't feel the intense burn that they get from regular hairdryers. The other thing they noticed was the speed at which their hair is dried. Usually it takes about 15-20 minutes to dry hair —  potentially even longer when working with long hair. With the Dyson Supersonic we've been able to halve that time in some cases." But before you decide to shell out $599 for this... or lift your jaw off the floor, here's what makes it so unique. 

Dyson hairdryer

One of the main differences with the Dyson Supersonic is that the motor  — which incidentally is built in Singapore — is a bit of an engineering marvel. It is eight times faster than a conventional hairdryer motor found in Japan, yet weighs half of it. Because Dyson has made it small enough to fit in the handle of the dryer (as opposed to the head), it has much better balance and is easier to hold and control. The weight of the Dyson is not a whole load lighter than a conventional hairdyer, but it is is much easier to use. Chew says the dryer will help even seasoned stylists. "Arm ache is a real issue with conventional hair dryers, and the Dyson Supersonic has successfully addressed that. It's so much more manoeuvrable and lighter than machines that claim to offer similar performance. You can very well say that the Dyson Supersonic punches well above its weight."

The design of the dryer — it comes in two colourways, fuchsia and iron, and white and silver  — is undeniably sleek and chic. In fact it looks exactly like what you imagine a Jetsons-era hairdryer might look like.  Which makes us wonder why it took so long for someone to re-imagine such a commonly-used household item. (Hint: It may have had something to do with the US$71 million investment it took to create this).

But what is design without functionality? Bonus points go to the clever packaging as well as all the add-ons of the Dyson Supersonic. It comes in a moulded box so that all the parts stay exactly where they should be. Attachments, include smoothing and styling concentrator nozzles as well as a diffuser attachment, help the user rough dry, straighten and even enhance curls with ease.  Each attachment is magnetic so it clips on — even the most techno-phobic individual will find this pretty easy to use without instructions. Also included, is a non-slip mat, so you can rest your dryer even on slick surfaces, without it dropping.

Woman drying hair with Dyson Supersonic
The Dyson Supersonic is giving busy women (and men) everywhere something they all crave. Time. The drying time is cut in almost half, and it has an intelligent heat control system to not go beyond 150°c — the heat at which hair is irreparably damaged. What this means is that hair is not literally fried when dried, especially with long-term use. Says Chew, "The biggest selling point of this machine to me has got to be the intelligent heat control feature. My customers frequently gripe about the loss of colour brought about by hairdryers that frequently overheat. While stylists are trained to regulate the heat and have greater control in a salon, users at home may be subjecting their hair to more heat than required in their day-to-day hair drying regime. It's understandable because we live such fast-paced lives, and we try many ways to shorten dry time such as turning up the heat in our hairdryers, to the detriment to the colour and health of our hair." This hairdryer is so 'smart' the heat is recorded twenty times per second to ensure it never gets too hot.

While no hairdryer can be completely soundless, the Supersonic is a lot quieter than traditional hairdryers. It's great that some hair salons are adopting this dryer, as it will be welcome respite for frequent visitors to beauty parlours — think less ambient noise and shout-y conversations. It is also great for when you need to do early morning or late night blowouts without waking up the entire household. Says Chew "The other thing that struck me was quietness of the technology. Usually the sound of a hairdryer signals the end of a conversation. I didn't think it would ever be possible to have a normal conversation with my clients while a hair dryer was on its maximum speed setting!" The bottomline? If money is no object or you are the kind of person that knows the value of investing in a quality tool that does the job well, this baby is for you.

Available from 5 August at $599. It is available for pre-order here