Dyson Takes on the Flat Iron Industry, the Only Way it Knows How

Corrale is the product of smart materials, a patent, and a turntable

Why It Matters

Dyson has done a remarkable job of disrupting the vacuum and hair styling industries with new kinds of electric motors and smart industrial design. A lot of us have hair and there’s an obsession with straightening it without damaging it. Technology could be the answer.

Model getting her hair straightened
The new Dyson Corrale flat iron. Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

Technology knows no borders. It’s on our desktops, in our phones, managing our streaming TVs, checking on the food in the fridge, and soon making sure we don’t fry our hair.

I haven’t a hair on my head, so perhaps I’m not the right one to tell you about Dyson’s latest beauty care product, the hair-straightening Dyson Corrale flat iron, but they chose to brief me so blame them.

As with all of Dyson’s other products, from vacuums to hair dryers, it uses digital, electronic, and material sciences to course-correct an existing category, in this case the popular hair-straightening flat-iron.

Dyson Corrale
Looks like a typical flat-iron, but it is a bit heavier. Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

Existing products employ what could best be described as two tiny irons with your precious locks pressed between them to heat (at up to 450-degrees) your kinks, curls, and waves into submission.

The Corrale, which Dyson officially unveiled in Paris, France, looks a lot like your traditional flat iron, but Dyson insists it’s very different.

Keeping it cool. Dyson contends that existing flat irons overheat and stress hair and do nothing to manage the situation. The Corrale lowers the temperature by 20-degrees or more and offers three different heat settings depending on hair type. It also digitally checks the temperature 100 times per second to make sure it doesn’t vary from the desired level of heat.

The Dyson Corrale Flex Plate
The Dyson Corrale Flex Plate. Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

However, the patented innovation is in the metal-irons themselves or flexing plates. Instead of aluminum, Dyson uses a combination of copper, zinc, and iron, and under that layer of copper is a channel backing (there are literally gaps between the metal bars) that lets the copper flex around the hair strands, holding them in place as the user pulls the hair through the iron.

Hair Science. Dyson walked me through the Corrale development process, showing off dozens of metal flexing plate tests and some of the clear plastic mock-ups. Execs showed me how the Corrale theoretically applies less stress to the hair by more evenly applying the heat and pressure (without the need for extra pressure to hold the hair inside the iron). Another Rube Goldberg device demonstrated how Dyson’s flex plate holds onto hair while traditional flat irons let it spill out both sides.

Corrale hair test
The new Corrale on the right holds the "hair" in place. Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

Next to all the mock-ups was a record player (seriously). In place of the soundtrack to “Hair” was a thick, Lucite “record” with swaths of hair attached to it. The rig was designed to test the durability of the plate materials: Designers put the plates on a sort of armature that dropped down onto the spinning disc. Then they ran or “played’ the hair record for hours, or until the plate material succumbed.

Dyson Corrale testing rig
You think I make this stuff up?. Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

It’s about portable power. The cordless Corrale uses four lithium-ion batteries that run for 60 minutes on a charge and can recharge 90% in 20 minutes on the included stand. However, the Corrale can work either cordless or corded. The cord magnetically attaches to the back of the Corrale.

Corrale in charging stand
The Corrale in its charging stand. Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

Even though the TSA says flat irons are okay to bring on flights, TSA agents maintain final discretion. Dyson, though, prepared for this by allowing you to, with the touch of a button, detach the batteries from the heating elements.

Does it work? Without any hair of my own, Dyson resorted to demonstrating the Corrale on an African American model.

They powered up the device and, using the tiny digital screen, set the heat to 410 (its highest level). Despite being cordless, the Corrale reaches that temp with surprising speed (it beeps, and you can see the temp on the tiny screen).

Corrale at work
The Corrale straightens some of this model's hair. Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

Half of the model’s hair had been blown out and all of it treated with oil. Dyson reps showed me how the Corrale could easily straighten the blow-dried side, but also handle her natural hair. Each time, the stylist grabbed just a small handful of strands and pulled them through the Corrale (too much hair and, the stylist explained, the device couldn’t heat the hair all the way through).

I did see what looked like steam rising as they pulled her hair through the Corrale, but the Dyson stylist assured me that was the oil heating up and not her hair burning (I did not smell burning hair). The result was almost pin-straight locks.

Bottom Line: At $499.99, the Corrale is considerably more expensive than your typical off-the-Walgreen’s-shelf model. But that’s the Dyson way: premium priced products that do more than your average device. The Corrale, which goes on sale today, joins Dyson’s popular Supersonic hair dryer ($399.99) and Dyson Airwrap ($499.99), all of which are making a play for the $18B hair styling market. I’ve already conscripted my wife to test this latest Dyson entrant.

Check out the Dyson Corrale in action in my video!