I Tried Shark’s Viral FlexStyle and SpeedStyle Hair Tools and I’m Going to Break Up With My Hairdresser

I Tried Shark’s Viral FlexStyle and SpeedStyle Hair Tools and I’m Going to Break Up With My Hairdresser
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As a lazy person who loves having long, wavy hair, I’d always dreamt of owning a Dyson Airwrap, but could never justify the price tag to myself despite hearing only positive things from the people who own one. So, of course, when I got my hands on both the Shark FlexStyle and SpeedStyle for review, I was ecstatic.

I could finally live out my dream of getting a salon-like blow wave from the comfort of my own home without burning my hands on a traditional hair straightener or curler — or ripping out half my hair on a barrel brush when I inevitably get frustrated that I can’t blow dry my hair the way my hairdresser does it.

Not only that, but the Shark FlexStyle is $500 cheaper than the Dyson Airwrap and the SpeedStyle is $450 cheaper. So I wanted to try it out to see if they really did hold up to the hype. Not only are they cheap alternatives to the Airwrap, but they’re also hair tools that rely on airflow to get the job done quickly and easily without any heat damage.

shark flexstyle review
Image: Courtney Borrett/Lifehacker Australia

Shark FlexStyle and SpeedStyle specs comparison

Shark FlexStyleShark SpeedStyle
Airflow settingslow, medium, highlow, medium, high
Temperature settingslow, medium, high heat, cool shotlow, medium, high heat, cool shot
Coloursilver or blackwhite
Attachments and accessoriesStyling Concentrator, Curl-Defining Diffuser, Paddle Brush, Oval Brush, Auto-Wrap Curlers, Storage box Rapidgloss Finisher, Quicksmooth Brush, Turbo Concentrator, Express Touchup Brush, Defrizzfast Diffuser, Travel Pouch

Shark FlexStyle review

Like the Dyson Airwrap, the Shark FlexStyle relies on air temperature and flow to dry and style a variety of hair types quickly without any heat damage.

In the box is a carry case for the tool and all its accessories. The Shark FlexStyle itself is a compact hair dryer that twists at the top to go from being a hair dryer to a styling wand at the push of a button. It’s sleek and compact and features an on/off slider, and three buttons. One for temperature, one for airflow and a cool shot button to help lock styles into place.

As for accessories, it comes with six different ones to help achieve different looks. There’s a curl-defining diffuser for coiled or tightly curled hair, a styling concentrator to be used with a separate oval brush for a traditional blow dry, a paddle brush extension for straightening, an oval brush for volumising, and two auto-wrap curlers — one for left-facing curls and the other for right.

How to use the Shark FlexStyle

One of the things I loved the most about the FlexStyle was how easy it was to use. All of the accessories clip into the top of the tool with a light push, and are easy to remove with the release trigger.

You’ll need to start with hair that’s at least 80-90 per cent dry for most tools, according to the instructions. This is a tricky balance to strike, though, and it took me a few tries to figure out the perfect level of dryness my hair needed to be for the curlers to actually pick it up. If your hair has too much moisture, it’ll be too heavy for the curlers, resulting in some sad-looking hair noodles.

To use the curlers, you take a small section of 80 per cent dry hair, hold it up to the barrel and let it suck the hair in. It’ll naturally wrap around the curler and you just hold it for 10-20 seconds, then do another 10-20 seconds of the cool shot function before turning the FlexStyle off to release the hair.

You use the oval brush in the same way you would normally use an oval brush for a blow wave, but you have one hand free to help turn the brush around as it dries your hair. The paddle brush is used similarly to the way you would use a hair straightener. Pick a strand of hair to straighten and slowly work the brush through your hair.

FlexStyle results

I started by washing my hair and then drying it to about 80 per cent with the basic dryer function. My hair is long, thin and has low porosity, meaning it takes a while to dry. Normally with a hairdryer, it takes me 15-20 minutes to dry my hair fully. Not only does it take a long time, but most hairdryers are quite heavy and large, so it’s difficult to hold the tool up for a long period of time.

As for the FlexStyle, it dried my hair in a record six minutes, including styling my bangs.

Image: Courtney Borrett/Lifehacker Australia

Left: After drying my hair with the paddle and oval brushes; Right: How it held up 12 hours later — I’m incapable of taking a selfie without heart fingers, I’m sorry.

During the drying process, I also tried out the oval and paddle brushes and was pleasantly surprised at the result. The oval brush did wonders on my curtain bangs, giving them a ‘straight out of the salon’ look.

The paddle brush is intended for straightening, but my hair is pretty frizzy, so it struggled a bit with the flyaways and natural kinks and waves. The upside though was that it did an alright job in a fraction of the time it takes me to straighten my hair with my trusty GHD straightener.

But of course, the most exciting part of this hair experiment was testing how well the auto-wrap curlers worked. I love having my hair curled, but it always takes too long and too much effort to do it myself, so I was pretty sceptical about whether or not the curlers would be both user-friendly and have lasting results. But I was blown away by how effective the curlers were. Once I worked out exactly how dry my hair needed to be and the right amount of hair for each section, the FlexStyle did a great job of giving my hair some gorgeous, bouncy curls that even Fearless era Taylor Swift would be jealous of.

With product in, the curls lasted around 12 hours, which, for my hair, is pretty good. I did struggle to get the hair to line up with the curlers, but I’m a little uncoordinated at the best of times, and the video tutorials I watched had people doing it effortlessly so that definitely seemed to be an issue on my part. Other than that, it was easy to use and didn’t take very long at all to curl all my hair

Shark SpeedStyle review

The main difference between the SpeedStyle and the FlexStyle is the attachments that each one comes with. The SpeedStyle is slightly more powerful, but the difference isn’t super noticeable.

It also comes with a small carry bag, intended for on-the-go use, unlike the bulky case that the FlexStyle comes in.

It comes with the same diffuser accessory as the FlexStyle, but all the other attachments are different. It includes a turbo concentrator, express touchup brush, Quicksmooth brush, and, the best attachment of them all, the Rapidgloss finisher.

How to use the Shark SpeedStyle

The Shark SpeedStyle is more of a general hair dryer and styler compared to the FlexStyle. It’s much more straightforward to use, too. It has all the same buttons as the FlexStyle, except for the twist button, because the SpeedStyle is already shaped like a traditional hair dryer.

All the attachments are geared towards simple hair drying and styling, but the most interesting attachment is the Rapidgloss finisher. Once you’ve attached it, you just need to hold it near your roots without touching the scalp and slowly pull it down the lengths of your hair. It tames frizz and flyaways and adds a healthy-looking shine to your hair with only one pass over dry hair. I was honestly shocked at how much it did for my naturally frizzy hair. It even had a slight straightening effect on the kinks around my scalp, which is something that really frustrates me about my hair, so I was really pleased with the results.

Overall thoughts

shark flexstyle review
Image: Courtney Borrett/Lifehacker Australia

I really enjoyed using both the Shark FlexStyle and SpeedStyle for different things. They’re both really effective as hair dryers, so buying both would be going overboard, especially when they’re both very similar as far as hair tools go. The main thing to consider between the two is the different attachments that you’ll get. If you want to curl or style your hair, the FlexStyle is the way to go. But, if you’re looking for a tool to dry your hair quickly and tame frizz, the SpeedStyle is the better pick.

Both tools by Shark are great value for money, considering other hair stylers are just as effective but cost up to double the price.

Personally, I enjoyed them both, but the FlexStyle is just slightly more versatile and fits my routine a little better than the SpeedStyle.

Where to buy the Shark FlexStyle (usually $499)

Where to buy the Shark SpeedStyle (usually $559.99)

Image credit: Courtney Borrett/Lifehacker Australia

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At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


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