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Shark has a hot new beauty product designed to dry and style your hair quickly, all without doing any heat damage to your locks.
I got a chance to try this new gadget recently, right before it dropped on Amazon, when the brand sent me one for review.
The new Shark FlexStyle Air Styling & Drying System is a hair dryer, plus multi-styling tool designed to dry your hair quickly, give it volume and straighten or curl it. The system can flip back and forth, from a fast-drying hair dryer to brushes with heat and airflow for volumizing, de-frizzing and smoothing, or to two curling wands, one for each side of your face. Each attachment simply slides on and pops off in seconds, so there’s no need for separate styling tools, which helps keep your bathroom counter free of clutter.
The price for all this convenience in one gadget might not seem like a bargain — it’s currently listed at $270 at both Shark’s website and Amazon. (The FlexStyle is temporarily out of stock at Amazon, but a Shark representative tells Simplemost it’s expected to be available again in the next week or two.) But given how many tools it can replace and the impressive design, you’ll probably feel like you’re getting your money’s worth.
The FlexStyle uses low air and heat, which means minimal heat exposure and no heat damage to your hair, whether you’re simply drying it or styling it. The system also has four heat settings and three airflow settings, so you can turn it up or down depending on whether the air being emitted seems too hot or strong, or not enough, plus a “cool shot” button to set your style.
Testing the Shark FlexStyle
During my test of the Shark FlexStyle, I used it four ways: as a hair dryer, as a volume tool with the oval brush, as a straightener with the paddle brush, and as a curler.
It’s important to note that I have not had a haircut since I chopped it off myself in my bathroom seven months ago, so any split ends and flyaways you see in my photos are the fault of an amateur hairstylist and not the FlexStyle. Also, I have incredibly fine hair that doesn’t like to be styled … and I don’t think I’m good at doing hair, anyway, especially as an out-of-practice remote worker. Keeping all of that in mind, here’s how the FlexStyle worked for me.
Right out of the box, the pieces snap in and out easily and effortlessly and, despite being rather large, the FlexStyle is quite light and easy to use (it weighs 1 1/2 pounds). Once turned on, it is rather loud — loud enough to be startling at first and louder than any hair dryer I’ve ever used.
Test 1: Drying Fine Hair with the Shark FlexStyle
Despite having fine hair, my usual hair dryer takes 10-15 minutes to dry my hair to about 90%, and a bit longer if I want it to be completely dry. In comparison, the Shark FlexStyle dried my hair to 90% in about 5 minutes. I then used the oval brush to add some volume and the paddle brush to straighten and smooth. Neither the dryer or brushes pulled out or broke any of my hair, which I’d say is the first time that has ever happened. All dryers, straighteners and curling irons I’ve used before have broken pieces of my hair or pulled out full strands.
Shark says the FlexStyle will not lead to heat damage on your hair because it regulates the temperature consistently, and after my test, I’ll back the brand up on that claim. I was beyond impressed at how smooth and sleek my hair looked and felt — and ecstatic to not have any hair ripped out. Even running a straightener directly on my hair has not gotten my hair as smooth or soft, and dryers usually leave it feeling a bit too dry.
While it took some getting used to, once I got the hang of using the FlexStyle, I’d say this was by far the best hair dryer and straightener I have ever used. My hair has never felt softer after applying heat, and even two days later (without washing it), it still feels soft, light and airy.
Here’s how my hair looked after using the dryer, then switching to the oval brush and then the paddle:
Test 2: Curling with the Shark FlexStyle
Next up was the curling iron, which I was excited but hesitant about, as my hair does not hold a curl longer than a few minutes unless it is absolutely covered in hairspray and often struggles to hold a curl at all.
As I was expecting, curling didn’t work well for me. The instructions for the curling setting on the FlexStyle say to allow the system to pull your hair in on its own, then simply move it toward your head with no need for manual twirling. With my fine hair, however, the FlexStyle couldn’t seem to pick up my strands that well, and when it did, they kept falling out of the barrel. After following the instructions on one side, I moved to the other and got some curl when I either used very small strands or wrapped larger ones around the barrel myself.
Here’s a look at the FlexStyle performed on my very-fine, won’t-hold-a-curl hair:
Is the Shark FlexStyle Worth the Price?
The two main downsides I found while testing the Shark FlexStyle are that it’s loud, and that you have to swap the pieces (including the left and right curling wands) each time you want to use a different function. Each piece gets hot, so you either need to put gloves on to swap them or wait for them the cool down before removing them, which isn’t great when you’re in a rush or when you’re trying to curl each side of your hair. You also have to use pretty small strands for curling, so if you have a lot of hair, it may take quite some time to curl your entire head.
The $270 price tag is much higher than a simple hair dryer or curling iron, but it’s not outrageous considering it’s a multi-tool from a top brand. If you do your hair often, it will definitely save you drying time, and if the curling works well for you, too, it will likely be worth your money.
If you are like me and only style your hair occasionally, the FlexStyle is likely not a must-have, but is nice if you have the extra money. If you dry your hair daily, however, I’d say this gadget is worth the price as heat damage can lead to problems that will end up costing more as you try to reverse the damage.
Similar Styling Products
While the FlexStyle is Shark’s first versatile hairstyling tool, the brand previously released a hair dryer, while rival Dyson has its own hair dryer, flat iron and, notably, a styling tool similar to Shark’s FlexStyle called the Airwrap, which comes with a price tag you’d expect from that premium brand, listing for $749 (but on sale for $699 right now) on Amazon.
The Dyson Airwrap uses air to attract and wrap the hair, while negative ions help reduce static. It includes multiple attachments, like barrels in two sizes, a soft smoothing brush, a round volumizing brush and a pre-styling dryer that dries hair from wet to damp.
With the Dyson being nearly triple the price of the Shark, it’s safe to consider the FlexStyle a product that still gives you high quality but at a much lower price.
Budget Multi-Styling Options
If you need an even lower price point, however, other similar products include the Inglam 4-in-1 blowout brush, which lists for a more reasonable $91 but has softer reviews from users.
The top-rated Revlon One-Step Volumizer Plus 2.0, which is $70 on Amazon, is designed to dry your hair and give it soft waves.
The Revlon One-Step Volumizer Plus 2.0 has four heat settings and charcoal activated bristles that the brand says are great for next day hair freshness.
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.