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Dyson’s Supersonic r hairdryer is for the pros

Dyson first launched its Supersonic hairdryer in 2016, but the high-tech hairdryer hasn’t really changed much since then — until now. Just in time for New York Fashion Week, Dyson is announcing the Supersonic r, an upgraded $569.99 hairdryer for professional stylists.

Right away, you can tell the Supersonic r is, well, r-shaped. Steve Williamson, Dyson’s hair care category manager, says that’s to accommodate the different ways pros use hairdryers compared to how you or I might use one. In short, the Supersonic r had to be lighter and more maneuverable. Compared to the original Supersonic, the r is 30 percent smaller and 20 percent lighter, weighing 325g or 11oz.

“If you’re using it at home, maybe you do a half-hour blow dry session. Maybe you use it every day, maybe you use it every two to three days. In salon, someone could use it five to six times easily,” says Williamson. On top of that, Williamson says the stylists Dyson surveyed wanted better visibility and easy ways to adapt angles that wouldn’t add strain to their wrists. Even the button placements are designed with pros in mind. Based on feedback, Dyson’s moved the cold shot button — which kills the heat for certain hairstyles — under the curve as if it were a trigger instead of on the back of the handle like the original.

To do that meant taking the Supersonic’s motor and miniaturizing it so it could fit in the handle of the device. Like Dyson’s other hair gadgets, it also has a glass bead thermistor that works with an embedded temperature sensor to monitor heat. It also uses a different heating mechanism. If you don’t have a fancy hairdryer, you’re probably familiar with how they work. Look inside the barrel, you can see coils that heat up surrounding a fan. With the Supersonic r, Dyson’s replaced those with three discs that have symmetrical, stacked foils that sort of look like a grate. The benefit of this method, according to Williamson, is you get more even heating with no cold spots.

Because pros also work in more chaotic environments, the Supersonic r also has an air filter in the base. This is true of the original pro version of the Supersonic, too, but Williamson says that there’s a new sensor in the r that makes using the filter mandatory.

Instead of traditional coils, the Supersonic r has stacked foils that allow for more even heating.
Image: Dyson

“It’s serums, it’s hairsprays, it’s bits of hair clippings, whatever’s in the salon — we need to protect it from going inside the [Supersonic r],” Williamson says, noting that the change is to maintain the device’s longevity.

Rounding out the new tech are RFID attachments. As soon as you snap one on, it’ll automatically change the heat and power settings depending on the style. Users can also adjust those auto settings to their liking, and that’ll be remembered the next time you snap it on. This is also something L’Oréal introduced on its forthcoming AirLight Pro hairdryer, which it unveiled at CES. However, unlike the AirLight Pro, Dyson won’t have an accompanying smartphone app. Williamson says that’s because speed is most important for pros and the less friction to use the device, the better.

The Supersonic r will be available for pros only starting in March for $569.99. I asked whether it’s possible that some of the new features — like RFID attachments — will eventually make their way over to an updated consumer Supersonic. Williamson demurred, saying that, for now, Dyson is focused on seeing what features benefit pros and consumers best.

That said, I wouldn’t get too discouraged. Often, tech companies will roll out newer features on “pro” models before adapting them to fit consumers. Plus, the company made a half-billion-pound commitment in 2022 to build 20 new beauty products over four years.

“There’s a pipeline,” Williamson says. “And there’s many exciting things to come.”

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