Women's Health December 19, 2022

Women's Health


Here's How The TikTok-Famous Dyson Airwrap Dupe Really Performs


Can the $40 tool possibly work as well?

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, and that certainly holds true for the cult-classic Dyson Airwrap ($599 at Sephora).

When it first launched in 2018, there was absolutely no other hot tool like it, a versatile, all-in-one styler that could create everything from pin-straight strands to textured waves to bouncy curls. Flash forward and today there are a variety of dupes on the market. There’s the new Shark FlexStyle ($280 at Shark), not to mention a variety of options sold on Amazon.

One of the least expensive options is the LISM 5 in 1 Hair Blower Brush, ringing in at a less than $40 at Walmart, and quickly racking up tons of views on TikTok. But can it possibly live up to its (much) pricier counterpart? We took both for a test drive to see how they compared. Here, our unfiltered thoughts.

Here are the basics on both tools

First, this how the two tools stack up against each other. The Dyson Airwrap costs $599 and has six attachments and three airflow and temperature settings with a cool shot button. The much less expensive LISM 5 in 1 Hair Blower Brush rings in at just $39.95, with five attachments, one airflow setting, and three temperature settings (no separate cool shot button, but the last temperature setting is cold).

dyson Airwrap™ Styler

How the Dyson Airwrap performed

The tool feels and looks as expensive as it is. It comes in a beautiful storage case, and while the base and attachments are lightweight, they’re not at all flimsy; everything has a high-quality, well-made look and feel.

I started by using the blow-dryer attachment to rough dry my hair. Part of what makes the Dyson unique is that it relies on Coanda airflow, a specific type of airflow that dries the hair, rather than extreme heat; this in turn makes it much less damaging to the hair, notes Raven Hurtado, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. To that point, while there are three temperature settings, I felt that it never got quite hot enough to dry my hair as fast as I would like. (I’m admittedly extremely impatient, so if you’re not always in a rush like I am, you may not have an issue with this.) I reverted back to my traditional blow-dryer to rough dry my hair then started experimenting with the various attachments.

While my hair is naturally fairly straight, the two smoothing brushes did a great job at creating a super sleek, smooth look—as good if not better as when I use a flat iron. I loved the round brush for creating a little bit of bend, but my favorite attachments by far were the two Airwrap barrels.

That same airflow technology is at play here: “The tool relies on the Coanda effect, an aerodynamic phenomenon that curves the air, so that your hair is attracted to and wraps around the barrel,” explains Hurtado. Basically, it does all the hard work for you, grabbing and wrapping the hair, making the curling process totally effortless. Despite being a beauty editor for nearly 15 years, I have yet to master how to use a traditional curling iron (don’t ask) so this was a true game changer for me. Admittedly, it did take my DIY-challenged self a few tries to figure out the best technique to create the full, bouncy curls I wanted, but after some trial and error (and some very helpful YouTube videos), I can now dry and style my hair in less than 15 minutes.

LISM 5 in 1 Hair Blower Brush, Hair Dryer Brush Set Negative Ion Blow Dryer Brush for All Hairstyle

Does the TikTok-famous dupe stack up?

Next up, the Walmart dupe. Right out of the gate you can tell that it’s, well, not expensive. The packaging is flimsy and the actual base and attachments felt cheap and poorly made; they reminded me of a toy, something that would come as part of a doll set. The plastic on the attachments was also scratched and dinged up, even though it was a brand new product.

As was the case with the Dyson, I didn’t love the dryer attachment, which felt notably underpowered. I used my blow-dryer, then turned my focus to the attachments. The smoothing and round brush ones were fine, although in both cases the bristles didn’t glide through my hair as easily as they did with the Airwrap. I then moved onto the curling barrels. They work similarly to the Dyson, although I found the air flow to be much weaker. Keeping a bit of tension on the hair as it wraps around the rod is key, and that was much harder to do in this case. There’s also no way of adjusting the level of airflow, as there is on the Dyson.

Also, both of the barrels are the same size; the Airwrap comes with one that’s 1.2 inches and one that’s 1.6 inches. These two spin different ways, meaning you have to swap the attachment anytime you want your curls to go a different way. On the Dyson, you can simply twist the top of the barrel and it changes direction in which it wraps the hair, i.e. creating curls that either go towards or away from your face.

But perhaps my biggest gripe with the dupe was how poorly the attachments stayed on. The Dyson has a lock and unlock button to keep them in place, the LIMS does not. It’s hard to get the attachments to click in properly (I blame the cheap plastic), and I even had the one I was using fall off in the middle of styling. The attachments also got extremely hot—so much so that it was hard to change them immediately without giving them a few minutes to cool off. They heat up on the Dyson, too, but not nearly as much. And the Dyson dryer, round brush, and barrel attachments all have a tip that stays cool, making it easier to hold and maneuver them. The ones on the Walmart option got so hot that I couldn’t touch them at all.

How the two compare

So, did the inexpensive tool ultimately work? Yes—although not nearly as well as the Dyson. Like I said, I’m not a DIY girl. When I used the Dyson, I looked like I had gotten a professional blowout. When I used the dupe, I looked like I had tried really hard to give myself an amateur blowout and succeeded…kind of. I also found that even when I followed the same product protocol (a little detangler before, a little hairspray after), the curls the Dyson created held and lasted much longer.

There’s no denying that the Dyson is crazy expensive. But if you can afford the splurge and especially if you’re going to be using it regularly, I say it’s hands down worth it. Hurtado agrees: “The Dyson offers high-quality technology, minimizes the amount of heat damage to the hair, and is an all-in-one that ultimately eliminates the need for other curling irons and hot tools,” she says. She also adds that once you get the hang of it it’s extremely user-friendly and easy to use (I second that). Yes, the Walmart option is a fraction of the price, but given the poor quality and ultimately lackluster end result, it almost feels like a waste of money.

The bottom line

In the end, if you’re in the market for a multi-tasking tool that you’ll be using regularly, save up for the Dyson. The cost per use will make it well-worth the investment. And if not, you’re better off spending $40 on a professional blowout once in a while than on the Walmart dupe.