How to make Dyson Airwrap curls last, according to hairdressers

The need-to-know advice for how to make Dyson Airwrap curls last for a whole day or night

Collage of two images showing Lucy with Airwrap curls and the Dyson Airwrap with its curling barrel showcasing how to make Dyson Airwrap curls last
(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)

After questions about if this expensive tool is worth the money, as a beauty editor I’d guess the next most frequently asked question is how to make Dyson Airwrap curls last. A cursory scroll through Airwrap-related social media content and Reddit threads suggests that it’s not something that users get right on the first try. 

The truth is that there’s definitely a right way to use this tool to achieve lasting results, whatever attachment you use – but particularly in the case of the curling barrels. Miss a few crucial steps or fail to prep your hair with the right styling products and your Airwrap curls are far more likely to drop out through the day. 

That’s where this expert guide comes in. Not only have I had my own tool for around a year, meaning I know my Airwrap hacks (read my full Dyson Airwrap review for my in-depth guide), but as a beauty editor I also speak to hairdressers nearly every single week, and have tapped into their insights to break down exactly how to make Dyson Airwrap curls last. Ahead is everything you need to know about holding them in place.

How to make Dyson Airwrap curls last

1. Apply styling products to clean, wet hair

As this tool is primarily a wet-to-dry styler, ideally you'll be starting from scratch creating Airwrap curls on freshly washed, clean hair, applying your styling products before you begin drying and curling. Although the Airwrap does not style with direct heat in the same way as the best curling irons, some form of heat protection is, of course, still a must when using any kind of heat on your hair. 

Our experts note that hair should be well-moisturised but not heavily weighed down – particularly if you know that your hair has a tendency to fall flat – and use products that will give your style a level of hold. There is a more specific selection of the best products for the job further in this guide, but as a general starting point, Dyson’s Global Hair Ambassador, Larry King, recommends using something to boost volume in finer and flatter hair – such as mousse or a volume spray – and smoothing products that will help reduce the chance of excess frizz and boost smoothness in curly hair types

Larry King
Larry King

Larry King is a leading hairdresser with two eponymous salons in London and his own haircare brand, as well as Dyson's Global Hair Ambassador – meaning he's well versed in how to use the Dyson Airwrap and the brand's other tools, like the Supersonic Hair Dryer

2. Dry hair until the mid lengths and ends are damp

There are two different attachments that are best for this job, and which one you use depends on how much of a curl your hair has to it naturally. The key is to get the hair 85% dry before styling it into those Airwrap curls.

If you have a curly hair type, King recommends drying with a brush attachment, which will stretch it out before you take to it with the barrels. “Smooth the hair follicles using the smoothing brush til it’s about 85% dry,” he says. For straighter hair that may have a tendency to go flatter: “get the air at the roots using the rough-drying attachment.”

As my hair has a loose curl to it, I tend to use a brush attachment to smooth out and dry my roots, leaving a little bit of moisture in the mid-lengths and ends.

3. Heat, then cool

Depending on how much hair you have, you'll want to section it off to make it easier to curl it with the barrels piece by piece. I tend to split my hair into four layers, so eight sections, with clips, releasing a layer at a time to curl. I also re-mist whichever styling spray I’m using to ensure there’s if I feel it could do with a bit more dampness.

Getting used to the Airwrap's Coanda effect – which draws hair towards the attachment and around the barrel – takes a little practice for new users, but it's very easy. take small sections of hair and remist with the styling spray before allowing the Airwrap to suction the hair around the barrel using Dyson’s Coanda technology. 

King says it's key to dry and style the curl "within the essential conversion time – between 80 and 100% dryness. Then blast with the cool shot button on the handle of the Dyson Airwrap Multi-styler, to lock in the curl in for endurance." This is crucial to help cool down the hair and set it in place.

"Allow the section to heat and totally dry before keeping the Airwrap in place and switching to cold air," Tom Smith, a leading hairdresser and trend forecaster, agrees. "When the section of hair is totally cool, turn the Airwrap off and gently slide the barrel out of the newly set hair."

Tom Smith
Tom Smith

Tom Smith is a leading hairdresser and trend forecaster, as well as Artist in Residence at the Bill Currie salon. He is also the Creative Director for Evo Hair and an Olaplex Artist. 

4. Avoid touching the hair

While your hair is still a little warm, it needs to cool completely and set in place before you move it or brush it out. "Do not be tempted to touch the curled section yet [as soon as it's styled]," says Smith. "Wait till your entire head of hair is curled [and cooled], then you can position the hair into place as desired. The longer the hair has to settle in place, the longer it will last."

Because my hair doesn’t drop out extremely easily and holds doing all of the above, I personally don’t do this next step, but it is an option to help retain Airwrap curls that's a popular technique on social media. Many Airwrap users will condense and pin each curl in place to help to set the shape while doing their make-up, for example, as an extra step. Then, release all of the curls and brush out a little as desired – I like to brush them through for a softer look, as shown below. 

Two images of Lucy with Airwrap curls after styling and several hours later

Left, Lucy's hair after styling Airwrap curls and, right, at the end of the day hours later showing how well they've held

(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)

Tried and tested products to help make your Airwrapped curls last longer


What stops Dyson Airwrap curls from lasting?

To recap, our experts say that the following factors can all have an impact on the look and longevity of your Airwrap curls, and are worth ticking off if you really want them to last the next time you style them.

  • Styling on hair that isn't clean or has a lot of build-up
  • Hair being too dry before using the barrels
  • Not prepping with styling products tailored to your hair type
  • Not heating and drying the sections enough before cooling and releasing
  • Not setting with the cool shot after heating
  • Not allowing the hair to cool and set completely before touching it
  • Hot and humid environments without proper shielding 

How to preserve Dyson Airwrap curls overnight

You can always re-mist and re-style Airwrap curls the following day, but if you’re concerned about them dropping out or going flat overnight, twisting them in the direction of the curl and then tying them up with a silk scrunchie can help by keeping them out of the way and reducing friction on your pillow. You could also wrap the curls around a heatless curls tool in the direction you have styled them to help maintain the shape while you sleep. 

Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for titles including Marie Claire, Glamour and OK!, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare advice to beauty trends and reviews of the latest products. During her career she regularly speaks to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists, has covered backstage at London Fashion Week and interviewed many a celeb about their beauty routine.