At a glance
Five attachmentsLong cableFast resultsLow heat
PriceyNarrow barrelSome initial trial and error
The Shark SpeedStyle hairdryer isn’t cheap – but it is effective. It’ll replace several other tools and leave your hair looking styled and shiny. For best value, we’d recommend getting the 3-in-1 kit for your hair type. Bear in mind that if you opt for this instead of the FlexStyle or the Airwrap, you won’t get the air curling barrels.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Shark SpeedStyle 5-in-1
Since the Dyson Airwrap appeared on the scene, hair multi-stylers have become a bit of a thing. Both the Airwrap and Shark’s rival the FlexStyle harnessed the power of hot air to create curls, waves and smooth blow-dried styles.
Both products are stylers first and hair dryers second. But what if that order were reversed? That’s where the SpeedStyle comes in. The SpeedStyle is a hair dryer that comes with a variety of styling attachments – and the promise to transform your hair.
High speed, high gloss, no heat damage: these are weighty claims, as is the pledge that the SpeedStyle will give you a style that looks up to six times less frizzy.
But what do you actually get, and what does it do? In this review, we’re testing the 5-in-1 SpeedStyle which has all five attachments, plus a storage bag.
You can also buy the SpeedStyle for either straight and wavy or curly and coily hair, which will just give you the attachments you need and at $/£199.99, will save you a big chunk of change. You can see all the options at the Shark UK and Shark US websites.
Design & Build
Light in use
High quality build
Cable length 2.44m
I won’t lie. Opening the SpeedStyle 5-in-1 box was exciting. My eyes were as big as discs, and the first sound I made was a very warbly “Oooooh.”
This is a beauty appliance that looks and feels glamorous and indulgent.
You get, at core, a hair dryer – and it’s a beautiful hair dryer. The base body is a cream coloured hard plastic with a champagne trim: both in chrome for the buttons, badge and ends, then plastic for the air intake vent.
It has a slightly unusual, though still familiar, hair dryer design. There’s a handle and a barrel, but the barrel is long and narrow, which concentrates the air stream to a 3cm across outlet, which means it’s a bit too focused for high air flow rough-drying if your hair is shoulder length or longer, and you may need to use the diffuser to avoid whip.
The SpeedStyle really lives up to the speed in its name
But the build itself is solid and it feels robust. Still, it’s light in the hand in use, weighing only 360g (not including cable, plug and attachments – it’s around 770g all in).
The accessory detachment lever is on the barrel below the air output vent. There’s a cool shot button at the inner top of the handle. The power slide button is at the base of the handle at the back, and just above that are buttons for air flow and heat.
At the top of the handle is the LED IQ badge that lights up when an accessory is connected to the dryer, and at the other end of the barrel is the removable filter that twists off for easy cleaning.
There are three air flow settings: low, medium and high. When you choose your setting, the little LEDs above the button will illuminate to show your selection. The same goes for the heat button, where you can choose no heat, low, medium, or high.
Out of the end of the handle sprouts a champagne-coloured power cable. This is a really good length of 2.44 metres with an integral plug on the end, so you have reasonable room to manoeuvre from a power point to your styling mirror.
Then there are . . . the accessories.
Obviously, with the 5-in-1 model, you get five and they are all in the same champagne tone as the power cable, with two boasting a copper-coloured feature.
First, the Defrizz Fast Diffuser. It’s huge: a good 15cm in diameter. It clicks into the air flow end of the hairdryer, and – no joke – the cup can practically cover one entire side of your head. The cup’s concave side has concentric circles of small air holes and then there are twelve vent tines to hold the hair as it dries.
But the extraordinary feature of this diffuser attachment is that the back has a slide which enables you to extend the tines by over a centimetre, roughly between 2.5 to 3cm to around 4cm, so you can change the tine length from being just under flush with the diffuser cup edge to standing proud from it.
The idea is that you retract the tines if you have shorter or finer hair, and extend them for longer and thicker hair, or if you want to reach and lift the roots. For curls or coils, the size of the diffuser cup will shorten your drying time substantially.
Then there’s the Turbo Concentrator. This is a typical narrow 7cm long nozzle for sleek straight styles. Once it’s clicked into the dryer, it will rotate 360 degrees in situ, so you don’t need to strain your wrist if you need to re-angle while drying.
Next is the QuickSmooth Brush, which is primarily a volumising tool. It’s like a vent brush with both hard plastic pins and clustered bristles that protrude from a base with both slit and small vent circles. Click this into the dryer, and a copper button on the side enables you to re-angle the brush at 45-degree intervals.
The Express Touchup Brush is your penultimate accessory. It is a cylinder brush with 360-degree hard pins and clustered bristles, interspersed with small vents. You click it into the dryer, and it revolves 360 degrees through a manual dial at one end. This accessory is designed for volumising, and styling fringes, layers and ends.
Finally, there’s the Rapid Gloss Finisher, which is similar to Dyson’s smoothing and flyaway attachments and uses the Coanda effect to smooth hair. It’s the strangest looking thing: a kind of blunt claw holding a roller with copper coloured tape on it. It looks quite daunting and at first, you may not be sure how to use it.
The SpeedStyle will be a fantastic styler for those who want super-straight hair and want to move away from straightening irons
As well as these accessories, you’ll get a styling guide, safety instructions and a black, lined neoprene storage bag, which fits the dryer and all the attachments in and closes with a zip.
Performance & Features
Max heat 110°C/ 230°F
Three heat settings
Four temperature settings
The idea of the SpeedStyle is that you dry your hair to 80%, using the diffuser if you have curls. Then you pick your accessory: staying with the diffuser for curls, or choosing the QuickSmooth Brush, Express Touchup Brush or the Turbo Concentrator. You finish your style with the RapidGloss Finisher to tame frizz and flyaway hairs.
What’s really interesting is that when you use an attachment, the SpeedStyle sets the airflow and heat that’s best for the accessory. You can change the settings if you prefer, but it’s a nice feature.
In terms of heat, the dryer never exceeds 110°C/ 230°F at its highest temperature. The low setting is around 65°C/ 150°F and the medium around 80°C/176°F.
As with all new hair stylers, you need to experiment a bit to learn not only how to use the styler, but also how to use it to get the result you want. The Shark styling guide has good directions with brief step-by-step photography, and some videos on its website, but there will be a bit of trial and error in the beginning.
We started with long, straight wet hair and a rough dry to 80%. Using the dryer with no attachment feels a little bit like pointing a pipe at your head, and the narrow stream does create whip on the medium to high air flow settings, which in turn, we found, leads to tangle. So, we changed to using the diffuser to rough dry, which had the added benefit of lifting root volume.
I went from towel dried to 80% in about three to four minutes. Then I moved onto the Express Touchup Brush. What I found was that it behaves very much like a Babyliss Big Hair but without the learning curve of for the revolve control. Suffice to say, the results were lovely: voluminous, soft hair that shone like silk.
I then moved onto the Rapid Gloss Finisher. You basically hold the attached accessory at the roots of your hair until the hair strands are attracted to the ionising strips through the Coanda effect, calming down frizz and flyaway. What I discovered was that this technology on straight hair creates what used to be called “blades” in the late 90s: a kind of super-straight and flat styling effect.
For this reason, we think the SpeedStyle will be a fantastic styler for those who want super-straight hair and want to move away from straightening irons. The use of the Turbo Concentrator and the Rapid Gloss is going to give you exceptionally straight results at a relatively low heat.
The results were lovely: voluminous, soft hair that shone like silk
Next, we used the diffuser to dry soft Mediterranean soft curls — and we have to say, it is a great curl dryer, largely due to the size of the diffuser cup. You can just dry large amounts of hair at one time and the ability to extend the tines gives you a lot of structure to the dry as the tines hold and dry a lot of the hair in position while also drying the roots.
For our next test, we rough dried, then used the Quick Smooth Brush. This is basically a vented brush that also incorporates a hair dryer, and we found it to be a really quick way of producing a sleek, groomed style with some root lift from towel-dried hair. All in all, from towel-dried to finished style, it took about eight to ten minutes, which we thought was remarkable. The SpeedStyle really lives up to the speed in its name.
Price & Availability
The Shark SpeedStyle 5-in-1 costs £249.99 from Shark UK and $259.99 from Shark US. This makes it slightly more affordable than the FlexStyle (£269.99-£299.99/ $259.99-$349.99, depending on attachments and accessories) and considerably more affordable than the Airwrap (£479.99/ $599.99). What you’ll miss out on are the air curling barrels, which are admittedly one of the best features of these styling tools.
But, if you already have natural curls, or are looking for a volumising and smoothing styling set, we think the SpeedStyle is better value. However, we’d suggest buying the 3-in-1 model based on your hair type (either curly/ coily or straight/ wavy). You’ll get three hair styling attachments and it’ll only set you back £199.99/ $199. That’s about the same as competing high-end hair dryers – which don’t come with everything you need to style your hair.
If you’re in the UK, you can buy the 3-in-1 from Shark, Boots and John Lewis.
In the US, we’ve seen it in stock at Best Buy and Sephora or you can buy direct from Shark.
There’s no price advantage from any retailer at the moment – but do make sure you get the model that’s right for your hair.
The 3-in-1 for straight and wavy hair comes with the Rapid Gloss Finisher, Quick Smooth Brush and Turbo Concentrator, whereas the 3-in-1 for curly and coily hair has the Rapid Gloss Finisher, Quick Smooth Brush and DefrizzFast Diffuser.
Should you buy the Shark SpeedStyle?
The Shark SpeedStyle is a pricey bit of kit, we admit, but the kind of flexibility and usefulness of this styler means it does the job of three or four different hair tools. It’s a hair dryer, a hair straightener, a hair volumiser, a curl preserver and it has the added Coanda “glossing” feature – all without high levels of damaging heat.
When you take that into account, it’s a reasonable purchase.
And it is a gorgeous styling set. So go on … treat yourself.
For more hair styling tools, have a look at our round-ups of the best hair straighteners and the best hair dryers we’ve tested.
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