As someone who’s put their hair through hell and back more times than I could count, I’ve struggled to keep my hair healthy. I’ve dyed it every color under the sun, damaged it with bleach and heat, and have even gone to the lengths of chopping it all off out of frustration in the hope of “starting fresh.”
Now that it’s grown back out and undergone (so, so many) deep conditioning treatments, I’ve been hesitant to start styling it again. My hair is extremely temperamental, frizzy, and any form of heat has often done more harm than good, so I’d taken a sabbatical from straightening it (like I used to every day) and curling it (like I would for a night out). That is, of course, until I was introduced to the Shark FlexStyle Air Styling and Drying System. Read on for our full review.
What is the Shark FlexStyle Air Styling and Drying System?
— Dimensions: 1.8 inches L x 1.8 inches W x 13.5 inches H
— Weight: 1.54 pounds, not including attachments
— Temperature Settings: No heat, low, medium, high, and Cool Shot
— Airflow Settings: Low, medium, high
— Price: $249.99 to $269.99
Everyone’s hair is unique; straight, wavy, curly, and coil-y hair all have different needs when it comes to drying and styling. While curls are more delicate, as they’re prone to drying and breakage, straight hair can be left looking flat and volume-less, and those with wavy or curly hair often struggle with frizz control. The variety of hair care needs means there’s about a million different products, dryers, and styling devices out there, all claiming to be the right one for you and your hair.
The most damaging aspect of any hair styling tool, no matter your hair’s texture, is heat. Our hair isn’t meant to face scorching temperatures and can become damaged when using hair dryers, straighteners, or curling irons that have either one heat setting or an unnecessarily high maximum temperature. But if given the choice between two styling tools that each produce great-looking results, you’d go for the one that removed heat damage from the equation (along with a bunch of other great perks), hands down.
In our Shark Flexstyle Air Styling and Drying System review, we found that the Shark FlexStyle is a sleek and innovative hair dryer and styler that sports a ridiculously cool design. The device at first appears to be a thick curling wand, but with a simple rotation, you have a uniquely shaped hair dryer ready to go. Finally, you can say goodbye to all of the hair styling tools taking up space in your bathroom, because with five attachable styling tools to choose from, the multi-functional FlexStyle does it all.
Groundbreaking, Multi-Functional Design
The styler comes in a classic, silvery color and is surprisingly lightweight considering how many functions it contains. Shark offers a few sets to choose from, depending on what your hair needs, and Shark’s website makes it easy to select the right bundle with in-depth descriptions and guides. The three options include a build-your-own bundle, in which you can choose three styling attachments to add to your cart; one with attachments more geared toward curly and coil-y hair; and one assembled with straight and wavy hair in mind. This breakdown gives you more freedom to select the correct tools without ending up with a bunch of accessories that’ll collect dust in your drawer for eternity.
With three buttons and three switches, this may seem like a much more elaborate hair tool than you’re used to. The bottom switch powers the FlexStyle on and off, while two more buttons control temperature and airflow, so you can customize based on how you’re using it. The Cool Shot button provides a cold blast of air, sealing your hair cuticles and finishing off your style. On the other side of the system, a slide lock lets you remove attachments (as they lock into place to avoid falling off). The hinge lock lets you transform the styling wand into a hair dryer and back again with a satisfying click. The included style guide also gives you great tips on the best ways to achieve each look, including which heat and air settings are recommended, as well as which attachments should be used.
Shark claims this is the perfect tool to minimize heat damage, as the FlexStyle measures and regulates its temperature 1,000 times per second for consistency. This ensures that it doesn’t heat up as you use it, like many other brands do, and minimizes heat exposure to your hair.
Five Attachments for a Range of Styles
The Shark FlexStyle comes with a range of attachments that can minimize damage and help you look like you just left the salon:
1.25-Inch Auto-Wrap Curlers: Two curling barrels are included with the FlexStyle; one recommended for the left side of your head for counterclockwise curls, and a right-sided barrel for clockwise curls. With air power, your desired section of hair automatically wraps around the middle of the barrel.
Oval Brush: For defrizzing, volumizing, and adding bounce, the oval brush uses dual bristles to smoothen and detangle your hair as you style it. It can build volume at the roots, or add a slight curl as you roll the brush.
Paddle Brush: Much like the oval brush, the dual bristles on the paddle brush are used to smoothen and detangle your hair, but the brush is recommended for straightening rather than volumizing.
Styling Concentrator: Designed for styling and drying at the same time, the concentrator gives you control over the direction of the airflow. Style your hair any way you like, and cut down on frizz and flyaways.
Curl-Defining Diffuser: Sometimes sold separately (depending on the bundle you choose), the curl-defining diffuser dries your hair quickly, while accentuating your natural curls. The built-in lever extends and retracts the inner prongs, allowing you to lift your roots up for a bouncier look.
When I embarked on this Shark Flexstyle Air Styling and Drying System review, I was accustomed to using a cheap, tiny flat iron, so the styling wand was much larger than I expected. With the paddle brush attachment, the overall length of the FlexStyle came out to almost 16 inches, but I was pleasantly surprised by how its lightweight design made it easier to handle and position. To be fair, it did take a few bumps on the head before I got used to its larger build and adapted my grip, but once I did, styling my hair was incredibly easy and the results looked salon-worthy.
With heat damage no longer a threat, I used my usual hair products before drying my hair, like Kerastase Nectar Thermique Cream. Although it may have been only a precautionary measure, it also created a smoother finish than without (and smells phenomenal).
I was impressed with each of the attachments, as they were easy to use and left my hair smooth and shiny. I’ve found that when using cheaper hair tools, I’m often left with a frizzy, singed texture at the ends of my hair, but this wasn’t the case with the FlexStyle. Funnily enough, I caught myself waiting a few minutes after I had plugged it in, as I’m so used to my curler or straightener needing at least five minutes to heat to the correct temperature. Probably my favorite aspect of the FlexStyle is that it’s ready to go as soon as you hit the power button. Less heat meant no waiting, no singe-ing, and no burns.
I have very few complaints about the Shark FlexStyle, and none of them outweigh the benefits. But as part of this Shark Flexstyle Air Styling and Drying System review, I found there are definitely a few things worth taking into consideration before investing in a product that carries this price tag.
While operating, it’s extremely quiet compared to other hair dryers, but it does emit a somewhat high-pitched noise. When drying my hair, I barely noticed this as I was able to keep some distance from my ears, but it did become slightly irritating when I was using it in styling mode. When I was straightening or curling the hair nearest to my ears it became a nuisance, and because the airflow is used in place of high temperatures, my only course of action was to minimize the air setting. Perhaps it’s something you get used to, but it was definitely off-putting compared to a silent flatiron.
In addition, it did take a little more time for the FlexStyle to dry my hair completely when I compared it to my $30 drugstore brand hair dryer. With that in mind though, I probably have my cheap hair dryer to thank for my countless split ends. This is such a small criticism that it almost doesn’t warrant mentioning, but it may be a factor for those who just want a hair dryer for the mornings when they’re rushing out of the house.
Finally, the Shark FlexStyle isn’t cheap. While I truly saw the value in it and would recommend this system to just about anyone, it’s worth noting that you can probably have all of your hair care needs met at a lower cost (if you only need a couple of styling tools). If you rarely manage more than a quick blow dry and shape, or you don’t have the space for the FlexStyle, you could easily get by with the Shark HyperAir and save yourself $30 or $40.
Final Thoughts on the Shark FlexStyle Air Styling & Drying System
The Shark FlexStyle Air Styling and Drying System did exactly as advertised: It changed the way I style my hair, without the heat damage. With the attractive and user-friendly design, it’s become my go-to hair appliance. From a quick post-shower dry, to a more elaborate look for date night, the FlexStyle made it easy and fun to get back into styling my hair — without the concern of damaging it.
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