There are a lot of good hair styling products by well-known brands these days and the latest obsession for us beauty gadget junkies is styling tools that can take care of multiple needs in one device. Case in point, the Shark FlexStyle. It’s a blow dryer, styling brush and curling device all in one. It’s not that much different from something like a Dyson AirWrap, if I’m being honest, but that gadget costs many times what this one does… so in this review I’ll take a look at what this device can do, how well it blow dries and styles hair as well as how it curls too. I’ll wrap up by telling you if I think I can recommend the Shark FlexStyle for you.
Shark FlexStyle multi-styler
The hair dryer and attachments absolutely hold up to their advertising claims and you can really experience that premium feel the moment you start trying it yourself. I think this is also an ideal styling options to bring on travels with you since it’s effective, but it can be broken down into smaller parts that would even hide in a carry-on.
- Blow dryer is surprisingly powerful
- Dries hair fast
- Brush attachments create nice looks
- Hot air curling is effective
- Good bristles for grip, smoothing
- Compact, portable
- True all-in-one device
- Curl wands take practice
- Tool feels heavy after a while
- With attachments on, it’s long
When Shark, the mastermind behind the Shark HyperAIR, announced a high-end multi-styling tool called the Shark FlexStyle, I knew I had to give it a try. Read on to see if dropping $349.99 CAD on this innovative transformer is enough to dethrone the rest of your hair dryers and stylers—even Dyson models?
What’s in the box?
Let’s take a look at what you get in the package. There is the main motor wand, and an array of styling attachments. The main motor wand is unique in that it can adjust position with the click of a button, turning from a small but powerful directional blow dryer, into a wand that can also be used with these attachments.
On the handle are the controls; there’s a power button plus three airflow speeds; low, medium and high, and three temperature settings, plus a cool shot button. Attachments are added or removed by clicking the release button.
See my hands-on video review
When it comes to those attachments, there’s a round brush, a flat paddle brush, a directional blow drying nozzle and two curling wand attachments, labeled left and right.
One of the first things I noticed about these attachments is that they don’t simply use plastic bristles; there appear to be something a kin to natural fibre bristles on each of the brush attachments.
Each of those attachments simply snaps into the end of the wand. If you want to use it for blow drying, just remove the styling attachments, then release the clock to transform the FlexStyle to an L-shaped blowdryer.
Using Shark FlexStyle
The shark flex style uses heated air to dry and style your hair. Shark claims there’s “no heat damage” but it doesn’t explain how that’s possible.
The Shark FlexStyle handle measures about 11.5 inches, so it’s not small, and the device itself weighs about 1.5 pounds.
What is most important about these accessories is how Shark designed them to not only attach securely to the body but also maintain the styler’s overall balance. For instance, adding the Auto-Wrap curler attachment bumps up the length to 17.5 inches which could spell trouble for storage but it actually doesn’t seem to impede its usability.
The Shark FlexStyle can literally flex its muscles with its 1,300-watt motor. That should translate to speedy drying performance when using it as a hair dryer. It’s also necessary to drive some powerful airflow for the brushes and curling attachments to work effectively.
One of the first things I noticed about using the FlexStyle as a dryer is that the nozzle is quite small. Size wise it’s more a kin to a travel hairdryer than a full-size hairdryer, so the wattage keeps it powerful. Initially I thought the narrow size of the barrel opening would mean it takes longer to dry my hair, but I found just the opposite. I was able to rough dry my hair in an outstandingly quick 3 to 4 minutes. I also found that that narrower opening and L-shape was a little better able to get in towards the roots giving them a really good lift. An unexpected but pleasant surprise!
I tried both brush attachments, the round or oval brush attachment is meant to give more bounce and lift to your look, while the flatter paddle brush is aimed at getting smoother sleeker strands.
The oval brush did a great job of giving me bounce, and dried my hair quite effectively. I also really began to appreciate the natural brush fibers, since they seemed to grip my hair a lot better, resulting in a slightly slower pull-through. With another similar tool, the old plastic bristles means it slides through your hair faster, and doesn’t grip it as much meaning you have to work more at creating the style. With this one, I felt that the natural brush fibres meant less work on my part. The Oval brush has a handy nub on top which shark calls a “cool touch” location, but I found it provided an alternate area to grip when trying to create smooth bounce. I also found those cool touch knobs to be quite handy to take some of the pressure off my wrists and shoulders, since after styling my entire head, the flex style did start to feel heavy.
The paddle brush attachment doesn’t have a similar nib and I found myself wishing it did. Even so I was able to get fairly sleek results.
With this brush attachment I did find it was a little easier for the powerful motor to blow the hair off the brush as opposed to holding it against the heat output, and as a result I personally needed extra passes with this brush to get my final look. Not necessarily a criticism but just something to be aware of if your preference is for that type of style.
Auto Wrap Curlers
As I noted earlier there are two auto wrap curling attachments in the package and they are labelled left and right. Fortunately the operation of these is simple; use the one marked left on the left side of your head and the right on the right, and this will give you a more balanced look than simply curling your whole head with curls all going in the same direction.
These stylers use what’s called Coanda technology which essentially and in my assessment sucks your hair onto the barrel, wraps it around, and holds it there with hot air, creating the curl. It seems weird to have that almost magnetic sucking effect since the dryer is blowing air out, but that’s how it feels to use.
Each of these curling attachments also has that cool touch knob which does make it easier to operate.
I have never used this type of styling tool before, so there was a bit of a learning curve for me. To use these effectively your hair should be at least 80 to 90% dry, if not fully completely dry.
To use the auto wrap curler attachments properly you want to work in smaller sections then you might with a curling iron or wand; more like a half inch to 1 inch section of hair. Turn the styling wand on and bring it around behind the ends of your hair and let the ends get caught up in the vortex and wrap around the barrel. This should happen automatically. Once the ends have wrapped you can let go of the rest of your hair section and then slowly bring the barrel towards your head. Your hair should continue to wrap itself around the barrel and you don’t need to twist the wand to help it, though I did end up doing this early in my testing. Shark recommends you hold the barrel in place for about 10 seconds then blast it with the cool shot button for a further 10 seconds.
In my testing I found that creating the looser waves I was after were possible in more like 6 to 8 seconds, and without needing the cool shot button.
In short, there’s a learning curve to this technology, like anything, but you’ll figure it out after a couple of uses. It’s quite effective and gave me good results.
In every case, I felt like I got really good results and the style I was after. It’s hard to fact-check Shark’s claims about no heat damage, since it’s hard to tell in a short amount of time. I think for the most part this tool left my hair smooth and well styled, if it might be missing some of that “smooth as glass” feel.
The accessories that come with the Shark FlexStyle depend on the bundle you decide to get. Shark offers the FlexStyle in two distinct bundles to cater to folks who want straight and wavy hair and those who want curly here. Have special needs? You can also pay a bit more to create your own bundle where you can pick three out of the five accessories.
The attachments themselves don’t have the premium fit and finish that the FlexStyle body boasts and that’s acceptable given the asking price.
The arrow indicators do a good job in teaching how to add and lock the attachments into place. There is a dedicated unlock button that you need to keep pressed before removing the attachment and it might take a bit of time to get used to but it is a welcome addition as it keeps the attachment stable and secure while using it. It is also simple to change settings whenever necessary using the dedicated settings button.
No matter what bundle you pick, the Shark FlexStyle offers tremendous value compared to buying dedicated styling products and goes beyond the perceived notion that a multi-styler tool that doesn’t command the highest price tag is automatically an inferior product. It also has the potential to become even better as Shark is planning at least one additional attachment. The upcoming wide-tooth comb should prove to be useful for folks with curly hair.
Overall review: Shark FlexStyle
The hair dryer and attachments absolutely hold up to their advertising claims and you can really experience that premium feel the moment you start trying it yourself. The blow dryer, though it appears small, it’s quite powerful and effective. While the larger oval brush was my preferred attachment, the paddle brush attachment was worked quite well too, if it did require a few more passes. The interesting auto wrap curling attachment do take some practice, but they two are quite effective.
I think this is also an ideal styling options to bring on travels with you since it’s effective, but it can be broken down into smaller parts that would even hide in a carry-on. When it comes to the downsides, using the tool does start to feel a bit heavy after a while, and that paddle brush could certainly use a convenient place to grip to help with this. I’m also not 100% sold on the paddle brush’s effectiveness as it didn’t seem to grip my particular hair quite as well. But I am being nitpicky here.
Although the Shark FlexStyle could use some improvements, it is Shark’s first try in making a multi-styler and continues the Shark HyperAIR’s momentum in making premium products more affordable. What makes the FlexStyle really shine is how the strengths of the product far outweigh the small compromises Shark made to significantly undercut the Dyson Airwrap.
For that reason I can definitely recommend the Shark FlexStyle to you.
It sells for about $349CAD/$269USD and you can get it from Amazon.
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