TL;DR: The Shark Style iQ delivers fast and easy salon-worthy results without heat damage.
I can still clearly remember the moment I discovered just how much a Dyson Supersonic hair dryer would cost me to buy when it first launched in 2016. Quite simply, I was rocked to my core. And I used a lot of expletives I’m not able to repeat here. The point is, even though I have super thick hair that takes an age to dry – hairdressers always add on extra styling time when taking my booking – I swore I’d never ever spend £299 on a hair dryer. Because, well, it’s a hair dryer?!
Of course, I have been fortunate enough since then to try a friend’s Dyson Supersonic, and while I admit I was blown away by the reduction in drying time and amazing salon-worthy results, I still didn’t feel I could justify paying such a price tag, especially when the latest model now retails between £329.99 to £429.99 depending on the colourway and finish you choose.
So, when Shark entered the vacuum-cleaner-turned-hair-styling-tools-manufacturer market with the Shark Style iQ Ionic Hair Dryer & Styler, you could say my interest was instantly piqued, even more so when I found out it now costs under £200 to purchase (still pricey for a hairdryer, but way more manageable).
But would the Shark Style iQ come even close to the styling prowess of the Dyson Supersonic and cement its place amongst the best hair dryers? Without wanting to give too much away, it did. Read on to discover why this dupe might just be the best beauty ‘budget’ buy you’ve ever bought.
- Buy the Shark Style iQ Ionic Hair Dryer & Styler at Shark
- Buy the Shark Style iQ Ionic Hair Dryer & Styler at Amazon
SHARK STYLE IQ REVIEW: PRICE & AVAILABILITY
The Shark Style iQ Ionic Hair Dryer & Styler with three styling attachments [HD120UK] is now available for a recommended retail price of £179.99 from Shark UK and selected third party retailers, including John Lewis and Boots.
Known as the Shark HyperAir in the States, it's available from Shark US in a range of bundles offering different attachments, with recommended retail prices starting from $229.99.
SHARK STYLE IQ REVIEW: DESIGN
Unlike the Dyson Supersonic, the Shark Style iQ looks more like you’d expect a hairdryer to, with a luxe black and rose gold finish and a modern, compact design and that feels robust and heavier (0.5 grams) than bog-standard dryers.
Designed to help you dry and style your hair at the same time to reduce heat damage, the Shark Style iQ comes bundled with three ‘intelligent’ attachments in the UK (more on the intelligent bit later), including the:
- Style Brush: Hailed as ‘the ultimate smoothing brush for salon-sleek results on all hair types’, this attachment combines boar and nylon bristles to detangle, smooth and style hair while it dries, and has 360°rotation so you can style the back of your head with ease.
- Concentrator: An adjustable 2-in-1 concentrator that enables controlled, smooth drying. Use the wider opening for fast, gentle drying or extend the nozzle for a narrow airpath that smooths and shapes hair for super sleek blow dry styles.
- Diffuser: This adjustable diffuser circulates airflow from root to tip to enhance and define natural curls. Extendable prongs easily reach and lift roots while the deep bowl provides maximum coverage and even drying.
One small downside of the design is the non-removable filter, but you do get a small filter cleaning brush to help you do the job. Another little disappointment is the lack of case to keep your dryer and attachments together, but it’s not the end of the world and no doubt helps keep the cost down.
Those small negatives aside, the Shark Style iQ has a 2.5m power cord and comes equipped with three temperature settings and three airflow settings to give you total flexibility for all hair types and styles, as well as an easily accessible cool shot button to lock in your style.
SHARK STYLE IQ REVIEW: FEATURES & TECHNOLOGY
The Shark Style iQ boasts 1600 watts of styling power (same as the Dyson Supersonic) to generate high-velocity heated ionised air. This ionic technology then effectively breaks up water molecules in your hair for faster, healthier, more even drying that leaves locks feeling shiny and hydrated with no heat damage.
Better still, the three ‘intelligent’ styling attachments automatically adapt their heat and airflow settings to the optimum setting when you attach the accessory to the hairdryer, which is a brilliant feature for those of us who might feel a bit unsure about the level of temperature and airflow we should be using.
Of course, once you build your confidence with the tool, you can always manually adjust the settings – found on the back of the hairdryer – to gain potentially better results, depending on your hair type and desired style.
SHARK STYLE IQ REVIEW: PERFORMANCE
My blow-drying skills aren’t great, so I generally tame my tresses by blasting them dry with a hair dryer before using straighteners or a curling wand to give them some kind of style. But not so with the Shark Style iQ! That’s because it simultaneously dries and styles your hair to save time (and your arms) while also reducing heat damage.
Depending on which of the three different attachments you use, you get a choice of styles, ranging from a bouncy, volumized blow-dry or sleek, straight locks to perfectly defined curls. While it did take me a few goes to get the hang of it, I was very impressed with the Style iQ’s ability to cut my drying time down by two thirds, and it was lovely not to feel like a hot, overheated mess while doing it.
The adjustable 2-in-1 concentrator attachment is seriously clever. Simply switch between the two openings to use the wider opening for an all-over quick dry or the narrower opening for greater precision and control when using a round brush or finishing your style.
My hair doesn’t really have any kind of wave to it, so I tested the concentrator on my boyfriend’s long, naturally curly hair (think Jason Momoa without the muscles) and we were both impressed. Once you attach the diffuser to the hair dryer, it automatically adjusts to the lowest heat and airflow setting, but it still did a great job of drying his hair faster while defining his curls and maintaining shine and hydration. It also has a nice deep bowl to hold a lot of hair in one go, and the long extendable prongs are brilliant for longer hair and those who want more volume at the roots.
Personally, my favourite attachment was the style brush. Once I got the hang of the 360° rotation and mastered the best way to hold it around different areas of my head, I found it glided easily through my hair and gave me gorgeously soft, sleek, shiny locks without the faff of trying to use a round brush in one hand and a hairdryer in the other.
Overall, my final impression of the Shark Style iQ is that it gives amazingly fast yet smooth and shiny results with a noticeable reduction in frizz and fly-aways. Over time, my hair also felt less frazzled and in better condition, and I really appreciated the intelligent attachments for removing any guesswork.
Last but not least, it feels comfortable to use and the buttons are nicely located, including the cool shot button which is in easy reach on the front of the handle.
SHARK STYLE IQ REVIEW: VERDICT
The Shark Style iQ is a powerful, smart hair dryer and styler that delivers fast results without the need for excessive heat. The combination of the ionic technology and intelligent hair styling attachments is a winning one that leaves hair looking and feeling healthy, shiny and sleek, and in better condition with continued use.
Suitable for both straight and curly hair, this salon-style hair dryer with 1600 watts of powerful airflow offers three temperature and air flow settings that automatically adjust to suit your hair needs and desired style, so you can dry and style at the same time to cut hair styling time in half.
It’s still pricier than your bog-standard hair dryer, but you get what you pay for, with excellent, salon-worthy results that are easy to achieve at home. A powerhouse of a product.