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Dyson has invested over four years and nearly £50 million in a hair science laboratory to help develop its recently released Supersonic hair dryer.

Dyson analysed over 1010 miles of human hair to provide data for 103 engineers to develop 600 prototypes and file over 100 patents. All that for a $500 hair dryer!

Hair science

GadgetGirl was super impressed with the Supersonic saying, “When Dyson ‘reinvents’ something, you can be certain it is special and expensive.  All I can say is that he was 100% successful.”

Hair science is all about the cortex and how cuticle you are

Hair has a cortex covered by a keratin cuticle. Good hair has a smooth, almost flawless cuticle. Bad hair has a broken or pockmarked one.

Hair scienceDyson hair science knew a combination of heat and wind was needed to dry hair. What it did not know was the right combination to do that without causing bad hair (damaged cuticle).

Most consumer hair dryers are 2000-2400W (same as a bar heater) and produce from 200-230° heat.

Professor Rod Sinclair, Fellow of the Australasian College of Dermatologists, and Professor of Dermatology at the University of Melbourne said, “The Cortex absorbs water, so some heat is needed to get it to the outside of the cuticle. Hair dries by blowing water off the cuticle. The cortex can’t stand the 200+° heat of consumer hair dryers before it, and the cuticle are damaged.”

“Excessive heat can irreversibly damage the hydrogen bonds within the inner cortex. Hydrogen bonds cross-link the keratin filaments (cuticle) to provide strength and elasticity. A damaged cortex can hold up to three times as much water, so people apply more heat and more wind, and the vicious circle begins,” he added.

Development of the Supersonic

Dyson hair science found that temperatures over 150° damaged the cuticle. It also found that more wind volume was the key to using a lower temperature as well as an instant cool button to help set the style.

Fred Howe, a Dyson engineer who worked on the Supersonic development, said, “Our hair science busted the myth that extreme heat was the key to good styling. We knew that Supersonic needed to protect hair against extreme heat even if it meant going against the current paradigm.”

Hair science

Howe led a panel comprising a professional stylist, a L’Oréal hair ambassador, an educator and Professor Sinclair. The panel unanimously stated that based on their experiences the Supersonic was on the right track

The stylist went so far to say that she was now only recommending the Supersonic and using it professionally. “My clients may need to blow dry their hair daily or more frequently. The Dyson is simply better for their hair. Hair grows at about 1cm per month, so it will take a while to grow back good hair.”