I learned how to use the Dyson Airwrap and it's the next best thing to a pro blow dry

A beauty editor's guide on how to use the Dyson Airwrap – with styling tricks from hair pros to master every attachment

Collage of the Dyson Airwrap with Lucy Abbersteen who has leanred how to use the dyson airwrap
(Image credit: Future)

Wondering how to use the Dyson Airwrap? Join the club. Ask any beauty editor and they’ll tell you that many of the questions they are most often asked relate to this tool. "Is the Dyson Airwrap worth the money?" Do you know how to use the Dyson Airwrap?" "Is the Airwrap right for me?" 

After Dyson launched one of the best hair dryers on the market in 2016, the Airwrap followed two years later – then was re-engineered for 2022 complete with new attachments to suit a wider range of hair types, and upgrades like one barrel to style both directions of curl. Now, I don't think there's a way for this next line not to sound like a brag, but there have been several occasions on which I’ve been asked if I’ve had a salon bouncy blow dry and it’s all down to my new Airwrap. My skills don't come close to those of a professional hairstylist, but I have picked up plenty of styling tricks that I can share with you, both from experts and through a lot of firsthand practice.

If you’ve not yet bought this coveted tool and are still on the fence, read my Dyson Airwrap review for more on how well it performs. But if you've taken the plunge (or decided to do so) and your priority is learning how to use the Dyson Airwrap – let's dive in. 

How to use the Dyson Airwrap in 6 steps

1. Get to know the attachments

Dyson Airwrap and its attachments

(Image credit: Dyson )

Before we get into the how-tos, let's recap on what the core attachments actually do. Though every shopper has the chance to personalize their Airwrap when they buy it, and there are additional size options for some of the below available on Dyson’s website, this should cover all bases. 

  • Coanda dryer – a 2-in-1 dryer nozzle and smoothing tool
  • Barrels – for creating curls and waves
  • Wide tooth comb – for lengthening tight curls and coils
  • Round brush – great for adding volume and creating a smooth blow dry
  • Soft smoothing brush – for creating straighter, sleeker styles
  • Firm smoothing brush – same as above, but for hair that's prone to frizz

2. Use it on damp hair

There’s no law that says you can’t use the Dyson Airwrap on dry hair, of course. But styling it from wet to dry is the method the brand recommends to achieve the best finish and get the longest-lasting results. 

“It’s always good to bear in mind that the Airwrap is a wet-to-dry styler,” says top hairdresser and Dyson ambassador Larry King (opens in new tab). “Use the pre-styling dryer attachment to get the hair to around 85% dry, then use the smoothing brush or barrels to create that desired curl or straighten the hair out, and it will really lock in that style. The last 15% of drying is where it’s really working its magic."

If you don't need or want to wash your hair from scratch, you can use a mister bottle to dampen your mid-lengths and ends slightly. Then once your desired style has been created, any frizzy hair or flyaways can be flattened with the, frankly genius, flyaway attachment – hold it flat against your head with the metal part at the top and glide it downwards. 

3. Use prep and styling products

Heat protection for hair is a must, even with the lack of 'extreme heat' the brand says is involved in Airwrapping, while the best hair styling products will help keep your ‘do in place. 

“To get the longer-lasting finish, think about using a mousse or a volumizing hair mist, something that will complement getting that additional hold to the hair,” says King. “I like to end most styling with a little touch of hairspray to finish the style completely.”

One of my go-to prep products when blow drying and styling my hair is ARKIVE’s The Prologue, created by one of the industry’s leading hairdressers Adam Reed. It’s basically a primer for your hair and really helps to prolong your style, plus it’s super light and smells delicious. 

Our beauty editor recommends...

(opens in new tab)

ARKIVE The Prologue Hair Primer  | RRP: £13 (UK only)

Created by top stylist Adam Reed, this pre-styling heat-activated spray helps lock in your style.

(opens in new tab)

Hair By Sam McKnight Modern Hairspray | RRP: $32/£22

A texturizing, volumizing, and holding hairspray all-in-one. Love the chic bottle too. 

4. Always set with a cool shot

Lucy after using the Dyson Airwrap curling barrels

After using the 40mm curling barrels and setting in place

(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)

This step is something King mentioned multiple times and is especially important if you know that your hair struggles to hold a curl after styling with other tools: set your style with the cold shot. Your hair is still malleable when warm and so cooling it right down will help to fix it in place, especially if you have naturally fine or limp hair that tends to 'drop' through the day. 

Another handy fact about the Dyson Airwrap is you can easily push on the cold shot function while your hair is still wrapped around whichever attachment, thus setting the hair in place, while it’s actually in place. 

5. Practice makes perfect

Lucy after using the Dyson Airwrap's round brush attachment

After using the round brush attachment

(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)

It sounds like a cop-out, but the best way to use the Airwrap genuinely does vary from person to person and it'll probably take a little time to get into a groove. There are many, many attachments and techniques, and I don’t think many people would pick it up and immediately be a pro – I’m speculating here, but I reckon even James Dyson needed some practice at first. 

The curling barrels are probably the attachments that are least like anything you’ve used before. If you’re struggling to get a section of hair to adhere to them, gently move the Airwrap back and forth to encourage any escaped hair to wrap. You can also manually wrap hair around the barrels rather than letting them draw the hair in.

The smoothing and round brushes are very easy to use – I love the latter for an easy, '90s-like blow dry, below – brush through sections of as you usually would, lifted away from your head to help encourage volume if you want it. Another good tip, if your hair isn't on the straight side naturally, is to make sure you brush both sides of the section of hair to ensure it's been smoothed from all angles. This also helps your style to last longer.  

6. Get creative

There aren’t actually many hard and fast rules for how to use the Dyson Airwrap. Call me clichéd but the styling world really is your oyster with all of those attachments, so don’t be afraid to get creative to find the styles you love creating most. There are, however, tons of tips for how to get the most out of this styler.

“There are plenty of Airwrap hacks out there, it’s all about playing around with all of its amazing attachments,” King says. “You can mix things up to create curls at the ends, use the smoothing brush to straighten the hair out, and also use the barrels at the ends to flick the hair out – this could be done on a mid-length bob for a cool '90s vibe, for example.”

As well as adding lift and volume, the round brush is great for “swooping” curtain bangs for a ‘70s feel. If you have these bangs or similar face-framing layers, gather them into one section at the front of your head. Hold vertically and place the brush head near the roots behind your hair, where you might logically put a roller. Turn the brush clockwise to gather hair around it, hold for a few seconds, and cold shot. Then pull the brush back through the hair in the same direction, release, Et voilà! ‘70s bounce. 

Beauty editor Lucy after using the Dyson Airwrap to style 70s curtain bangs

After using the firm smoothing brush, then the round brush on my face-framing sections 

(Image credit: Lucy Abbersteen)

I personally also like using the wider barrel to curl larger sections of my hair that I then brush out completely for a loose-yet-bouncy blow dry look. As someone with a curly hairstyle I rarely feel the need to curl my whole head of hair, but you can use these attachments to curl smaller individual sections as you would with a wand. 

And that concludes my crash course on how to use the Dyson Airwrap – all that's left for you to do is to practice and have fun working out your favorite styles. Happy Airwrapping!

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.