Dyson Hair Science

Dyson Hair Science

Dyson is dedicated to understanding the science of hair – it is the very foundation underpinning all our beauty technology. We have been researching the science of hair for a decade, investing over £100m into global hair laboratories across the world and employing thousands of hair scientists, engineers and professionals to glean new insights into hair profiles globally.

Dyson is dedicated to understanding the science of hair – it is the very foundation underpinning all our beauty technology. We have been researching the science of hair for a decade, investing over £100m into global hair laboratories across the world and employing thousands of hair scientists, engineers and professionals to glean new insights into hair profiles globally.

In fact, a team of 30 scientists studied over 1,000 miles of real human hair from around the world over four years. Hair is categorised by three factors: type, which ranges from poker straight to tight coils; the diameter of hair which varies from very fine to coarse; and density which is the combination of hair thickness and number of hair strands on your head. They tested Dyson's first hair dryer on different hair types and built test rigs that mechanically simulate hair drying techniques. It was here that they found that different types of hair handle stresses differently. For example, Asian hair is circular instead of oval like Caucasian hair. It's also the heaviest and coarsest, meaning it tends to align more easily and therefore tangles less – even under turbulent airflow. Caucasian hair, on the other hand, has the highest density of all.

But at its core, a strand of hair has the same following make-up.

What is hair made out of?

79% protein*

α-keratin is a long, fibrous protein that gives hair its shape and structural properties.

Keratin is also found in nails and skin.

17% water*

Hair naturally contains 'bound' water.

The amount depends on the humidity of the environment.

When there is an excess of 'free' water, hair is considered wet.

4% other*

Fats and oils within the hair act as a glue to help hold the structure together and make it water repellent.

Melanin pigments give hair its colour.


The outside layer of hair is made of overlapping transparent cells that:

Protect the hair from mechanical and chemical damage

Reflect light to make your hair shiny

When grown they lay flat, are tightly bound together and provide a smooth surface. The cells are coated with a layer of fatty acids that help the hair repel water.


The centre of the hair is made up of long, thin cortical cells containing α-Keratin, these structures:

Provide hair its strength and elasticity

Contains melanin pigments that give hair its colour

Keratin fibres are very small, less than 2nm wide and 45nm long. Millions of these proteins combine to form a single strand of hair.

It's this keen understanding of hair, knowing how to manage it, and our relentless approach to engineering that led us to introduce new technologies that deliver better ways to style hair. Our research also uncovered that one of the main frustrations was hair damage due to the use of heated devices to style hair.

Facts on Hair Damage:

Dyson learned that extreme heat damage was a top concern associated with using hair appliances and has become a key issue that users truly care about. There is a clear correlation between healthy and shiny hair. To keep hair looking healthy, the cuticle and cortex structure needs to be preserved. One of the best ways to do this is to protect it against excessive temperatures

A deeper analysis showed that when it came to the issues faced during the use of hair dyrers, straighteners, and curling irons were the difficulty in styling the back of the head, imprecise heat settings, appliances tangling or catching hair, and difficulty in cleaning them as the most prevalent issues.

It was discovered that in order to prevent hair damage, intelligent heat control and the option of choosing different temperatures have become the top features that consumers look for when choosing hair dryers and stylers. In 2016, powered by the Dyson V9 digital motor4 , Dyson marked it's foray into the beauty industry with the launch of the Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer – the first time a hair dryer that was designed for fast drying without the reliance on extra heat, while meeting everyday styling needs.

Dyson Airwrap™ Styler

With regard to the Dyson Airwrap™ styler's development, a core piece of technology critical to the understanding of hair and the science of styling was the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). By seeing the hair strands at microscopic scales, the health of the hair could be better determined after testing prototypes created by our engineers.

The Intelligent Heat Control system in the machine, which regulates air temperature and ensures it stays below extreme heat temperatures, relied heavily on being able to visualise the hair at this level. We measure the strength and elasticity of each hair strand in relation to changes in temperature. This enables us to understand the impact of thermal damage on hair and how this might relate to drying and styling.

Core Technology

Propelled by the Dyson digital V9 motor

Uses Coanda technology to achieve voluminous curls, natural waves and smooth blow-dry finishes at home

At the heart of the tool comes a radical idea: harness Dyson's digital motor to create a phenomenon known as the Coanda effect – when high pressure airflow passes over a curved surface to create the colander effect to attract wrap and set your style

Taking advantage of this principle, Dyson's team of aerodynamicists created a way to style hair using only air combined with heat.

No extreme heat – intelligent heat control prevents against extreme heat damage and helps protect natural shine

Intelligent Heat Control measures and regulates heat. By keeping the temperature below 150°C, it helps to protect hair from extreme heat damage and maintain shine across all hair types

3 heat and speed settings

8 attachments for multiple hair types and lengths

Dyson Airwrap™ styler in numbers:

6 years spent in development

£24m investment in research and development

642 prototypes

230 engineers and scientists

Healthy Hair tips and tricks

Condition with every wash: Conditioners are some of the best products you can use on your hair. They coat the hair and lubricate it meaning a comb can more easily reduce static build up and reduce flyaways. Conditioners do not repair hair but they help to reduce the signs of damage for the future.

Wide tooth combs: Using a wide tooth comb works well to reduce friction and mechanical damage when your hair is wet and much weaker.

Brush down: A good brushing technique is to brush down starting from the ends of your hair to remove tangles. Starting from the root will only tighten the knots further.

Milder shampoos: Greasy hair and scalp is caused by the build-up of the sebum produced by each hair follicle. Washing your hair often is not necessarily bad; reducing unpleasant residues such as sebum, loose skin cells, sweat and environmental pollutants. If you wash your hair every day try using a milder shampoo; cocamidopropyl betaine (look on the ingredients list) can help make a shampoo less irritating and milder. There is currently no clear scientific evidence that using a pre-shampoo is actually needed. If you use a milder or moisturising shampoo your hair will remain in good condition without the extra step.

Hairspray, mousses and oils: Hairspray and mousses work like a glue to help with style retention by holding the hairs together in your desired style. High hold hairsprays change how your hair feels because the strands are held more tightly together, so your hair is less able to move around. Natural oils and silicones can be used on your hair to reduce water from getting in, keeping your style in place longer. Too much however can weigh down your hair and have the opposite effect.

Dry shampoo: Some dry shampoos can be used for styling as they give the same benefits of back combing but without the damage to the cuticle. It can help to create a beachy/voluminous look or mattify the hair. A texturizing spray, or some dry shampoos, can leave a powdered residue in your hair.

Mechanical damage: This is the most frequent form of hair damage. Examples of causes are brushing, towel drying and running fingers through the hair. If towel drying, wrap hair in a towel and let it dry naturally to avoid further mechanical damage.

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