Ahead of the curl: Dyson to ramp up beauty R&D over next four years to fill market gaps

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Dyson’s product upgrades extend to colours, materials and finishes to elevate the overall user experience. ©Dyson
Dyson’s product upgrades extend to colours, materials and finishes to elevate the overall user experience. ©Dyson

Related tags Dyson beauty tech Beauty devices Hair care

Global tech company Dyson has pumped investment to fuel the development of its beauty portfolio over the next four years, in an effort to solve unmet consumer needs.

Since it was established in 1993, Dyson has introduced a range of hair care solutions that have gained a global following. These include the Corrale straightener, Supersonic hair dryer and Airwrap multi-styler, all of which are the fruit of years of research and product development by the company’s hair engineers.

To accelerate research and technology development across its beauty portfolio, Dyson announced a plan to launch 20 new products in the next four years following a GBP500m (USD636m) investment.

“Dyson always opts for a scientific approach to addressing problems, as we continue to invest in R&D to stay ahead of the curve. While we cannot confirm any new products in development, we are always challenging ourselves to solve unmet needs.  

“A portion of this investment will also fund the creation of new laboratories and state-of-the-art equipment across Dyson’s four technology campuses,” ​Steven Ong, Senior Engineering Manager at Dyson Singapore, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​.

The firm’s global headquarters and one of the technology campuses are located in Singapore, while the other three are in Philippines and the UK. It also has 10 engineering and research hubs around the world.

Currently, Dyson has presence in 84 markets, with its products readily available via online platforms as well.

Educating consumers on the irreversible damage to hair caused by extreme heat, often an “ignored problem​”, is a priority for the company.

“Damage prevention remains a key focus for both our existing and future hair care technologies. Our team of hair scientists and engineers have conducted experiments and tests on all hair types as well as machines. Dyson also runs a Global Hair Study that investigates consumer attitudes, hair profiles, hair health perceptions, and styling habits.

“This extensive research has allowed us to identify the leading causes of hair damage and incorporate these findings into our technologies. For instance, the Supersonic hair dryer and Airwrap multi-styler have an intelligent heat-control feature, which measures the temperature of air emitted from the tools up to 40 times per second. This heat-regulating process helps ensure the air that comes into contact with the hair does not ever go above 150 degrees.”

Additionally, Dyson has established long-standing relationships with professional stylists across the globe. In Singapore, the company partners with hair salons for stylists and consumers to experience the professional variants of its products.

“We work with stylists to understand customer pain points and to develop technologies with the needs of real consumers in mind. Before bringing products to market, we run user trials in our offices including Singapore, South Korea, and the UK.

“Through assessing style, performance and usability in different hair types, we adapt our technological solutions to the changing needs and behaviours of customers. All Dyson hair machines have underwent these user trials.”

Revolutionary research

Despite the increasing number of Dyson-inspired products in the market, the company believes that consumers are able to recognise and resonate with the “high-quality, superior performance and extreme robustness”​ of its products after using them.

“Research, design, and development sit at the heart of what we do. To truly challenge conventional hair dryers, we needed to understand everything about hair, from cortex to cuticle and root to tip. 3,456km of real hair — straight, wavy, coiled and curly — had gone through our in-house labs.

“We found that damaged hair doesn’t always look it. The effect of thermal, mechanical or chemical damage can take months to appear, whether it’s split ends, breakage, less shine, or diminished style retention. Using extreme heat to style, like in some conventional technology, can cause irreversible damage. Drying without it was key,” ​Ong said.

The engineers then spent five years perfecting the Dyson Supersonic, building 600 prototypes in the process, before it was launched in 2016.

“It is a product that single-handedly changed the way people dry their hair.We are proud of our technologies, as they are built to last. At Dyson,we don’t shy away from failure. We embrace the learnings from each prototype, which we use to create revolutionary products like the Supersonic.”

Dyson's latest ambassador, Jisoo of South Korean girl group BLACKPINK. ©Dyson

Constant upgrading

According to Ong, the company is constantly striving to deliver better product experiences.

“Since its introduction in 2018, we have re-engineered the Airwrap with enhanced Coanda effect and new bi-directional barrels. Most recently, the large round volumising brush and diffuser attachments were also improved.”

The Coanda effect is an aerodynamic phenomenon that is harnessed by Dyson’s digital motor. A spinning vortex of air is created around the tool’s cylindrical-shaped barrels, which attract the hair through the airflow. The hair then wraps itself around the barrels, producing curls.

Dyson’s product upgrades also extend to colours, materials and finishes to elevate the overall user experience.

In celebration of the firm’s 25th year in Japan, a limited-edition Airwrap multi-styler in Ceramic Pop was unveiled in November 2023.

“The Airwrap with the new colourway has a ‘ceramic’ finish resulting from precision-applied satin paint topcoats,designed to resemble the silky-smooth finish of unglazed ceramic. This enhances the sensorial feel because our products do not only work better, but also feel better with use.”

In addition, the company recently announced its latest ambassador, Jisoo of South Korean girl group BLACKPINK, who lauded the Airwrap for achieving “easy and gorgeous styles”​ effortlessly while maintaining healthy hair.

The K-pop sensation, who was presented with the honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal by King Charles III in November, is expected to further propel Dyson’s brand recognition and growth worldwide.

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