Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly need or want another hair tool (if you read my review on the GHD Hot Air Styler, you’ll know why), another one shows up, luring me in like a moth to the flame. I’m minding my own business, sipping my takeaway oat flat white and there it is plastered on the side of a bus. I’m waiting for the tube after a long day of events and meetings, and there it is again, staring down at me from the opposite side of the platform. Finally it’s time to get into my PJs, put my feet up and treat myself to an uninterrupted scroll session—of course it’s the first thing I see when I open social media. Okay, okay. You’ve got my attention.
The tool in question is the Shark FlexStyle 5-In-1 Air Styler & Hair Dryer, which has been making waves in more ways than one since it launched back in September 2022—it's already racked up an impressive 338.2M views on TikTok and counting. Much like Dyson, Shark is best known for its vacuums, and first launched with a hairdryer in 2021 as I can only assume it also ended up getting FOMO because the beauty industry is pretty darn great and, if done right, exceptionally lucrative.
The Shark FlexStyle has six different attachments
The moment I finally gave into the signs the universe was clearly trying to give me (in other words, I’m an advertisers dream) was when an email came through one morning last month announcing my favourite celebrity hairstylist Chris Appleton as Shark Beauty’s newest Global Ambassador as well as the release of the SpeedStyle and SmoothStyle. A quick email back to the PR and I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of my newest hair tool.
As an owner of the Dyson Airwrap, on first glance, the Shark FlexStyle is extremely similar—they both have attachments to allow you to create straight, wavy or curly hairstyles with the use of an airflow design to reduce breakage and coanda technology that wraps hair around the barrels. The main point of difference? The Dyson Airwrap will set you back £479, while the Shark FlexStyle comes in £200 cheaper at £279.
But the real question is, how does it actually perform? Keep reading for my honest first thoughts, including my opinions on the attachments and if it’s worth investing in.
1. Hair Dryer Mode
The main body of the FlexStyle has four heat settings and three airflow options. You can attach and detach each styler by pushing it onto the nozzle until it ‘clicks’. First I put the styling concentrator to the test, which dries and styles the hair at the same time. A real USP of the FlexStyle is the rotating nozzle, which makes it feel more like a traditional hairdryer. I found it dried my hair quickly and I was really happy with the style, softness and shine. However, I still count the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer as my number one blow-drying tool, but with a £329 price tag, I would definitely advise investing in a multi-styler instead.
2. Oval & Paddle Brush
The oval brush is designed to smooth, defrizz and add volume and bounce, while the paddle brush features bristles designed to create added tension for straightening, smoothing and shining. I am extremely prone to flyaways, and I really rated both heads for making it look super slick while adding the most incredible shine and softness to the hair. For me, the oval brush reigns supreme when compared to its more-expensive counterparts, as it has more grip and adds way more volume.
3. Auto-Wrap Curlers
If you have or have already tried the Airwrap and other similar devices, you'll take to these attachments like a duck to water, otherwise it may take some time getting used to it. The left barrel will counterclockwise the curl and is recommended for the left side of the head, while the right barrel will create a clockwise curl and is recommended for the right side of the head. Shark advises to hold the barrel in place for 10 seconds then press the cool shot button and continue to hold for another 10 seconds. On both the FlexStyle and Dyson Airwrap, I've found the curl is inclined to drop out quite quickly, so I would recommend adding a styling product to your hair beforehand and investing in a good hairspray. It also tends to work better if you're hair isn't freshly washed.
4. Curl-Defining Diffuser
The top image shows the retracted prongs for shorter, finer hair and the bottom image shows the extended prongs for longer, thicker hair.
The curl-defining diffuser promises fast, even drying from root to tip and has a lever on the side to extend or retract the prongs for customisable air flow. As someone who doesn't diffuse their hair, I couldn't give this an honest first person review but in carrying out research for this feature I have read countless reviews singing its praises from people, especially with curly and coily hair.
I also wanted to get an opinion on the Shark FlexStyle 5-In-1 Air Styler & Dryer from someone with a different hair type to my own. I reached out to Who What Wear UK social media editor Joy Ejaria, who has been using the tool for a few months.
"I've been a Dyson Airwrap girl for a long time and swear by it so I didn't think any other hair tool would come and knock it off the top of my leaderboard— Shark's FlexStyle 5-in-1 Hair Styler & Dryer has managed to do that. The different attachments of the flexistyle tool make achieving whatever hairstyle I desire oh so simple. On the days when I want to wear my hair bone-straight, I dry my hair with the paddle brush and often find that I don't even need to use a hair straightener afterwards. Wash days are a total breeze now."
The Final Verdict:
In all honesty, the Shark FlexStyle has really won me over. The styling concentrator, oval and paddle brush really stood out to me for adding unrivalled shine, volume and smoothness to the hair. I also found the auto-wrap curlers to be on par with the Dyson Airwrap but the Airwrap does feature two different barrel sizes, which gives you the choice between a tighter or looser curl. Really, it all boils down to budget, and if you have the money to spend on Dyson's much-loved tool, I would say to go for it, but if you're unwilling to do so the FlexStyle is a great option. Plus, you'll have £200 to spend on a pair of new shoes instead.
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If you spend an extra £20, you'll also get an ultra-lightweight storage case for your FlexStyle. The compact design makes it perfect for travelling.