This month sees the launch of the latest Dyson Supersonic hair dryer - but do we need a new version? Here's my verdict

New tech, old design

Dyson Supersonic Nural
(Image credit: Future)

At the moment it feels like you can't move for new hair tools. From the recent influx of wet-to-straight technology - like the ghd Duet and Dyson's own Airstrait - to the 5-in-1 stylers that promise to cater to every one of your hair's needs, the market is awash with gadgets. What happened to the noble hair dryer and hair straightener, eh?

Heat tech is getting smarter with every new launch and the brand that's always spearheading this is Dyson. When it released its first foray into haircare - the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer - I didn't think it could get any more intelligent. Oh how wrong was I?! This month sees the UK launch of its updated version: Dyson Supersonic Nural.

Naturally, I wanted to get my hands on one so that I could give it whirl and test out just how clever it really is. Because, at Marie Claire, we want to make sure that you have all of the information ahead of making any purchases, especially expensive ones, so I put the new hair dryer through its paces so that I could report my findings back to you.

Dyson Supersonic Nural

(Image credit: Future)

The Product

The Dyson Supersonic Nural hair dryer has been designed to allow for more protection against heat damage, with particular focus on the scalp, to help consumers get the healthiest hair possible.

The new iteration promises to be kinder to your scalp and enhance your hair's natural shine. It does this with the help of its new innovation - Nural sensors that activate scalp protect mode, attachment learning, and pause detect.

James Dyson, founder and chief engineer, said at the worldwide launch: "If you’re able to limit heat damage, you can get a healthier scalp; and healthier hair."

Dyson always wants to create problem-solving products and this hair dryer is no exception. "From our research into the science of hair, we know that there is a connection between the quality of hair and a healthy scalp," says Dyson Head of Research, Shawn Lim. "The scalp tissue comprises different layers, with the outermost layer serving as a barrier against external stressors. But when your scalp is damaged, moisture loss can occur, a key factor in our development of the Scalp protect mode feature. This helps to maintain scalp moisture levels and allows for gentle drying."

Dyson Supersonic Nural

(Image credit: Future)

The Spec

Let's look at the new technology in a little more detail. The key innovation of the new hair dryer is the intelligent Nural sensors, which activate the scalp protect mode. What this means is that an invisible infrared beam measures the distance between the hair dryer and your hair, and then changes the heat and speed modes accordingly. When you are blow drying closer to your head, the dryer will automatically reduce the temperature to 55°C, which is the optimum for scalp comfort.

When in this mode, the LED panel at the back of the dryer will light up in a different colour depending on the heat and distance from the head. The further away the dryer is from the head the higher the heat, so the display turns red, as you get closer it changes to orange for medium heat, yellow for low, and blue for cool.

The dryer comes with five attachments - the Gentle air attachment (allows for fast and gentle styling by evenly dispersing airflow); the Styling concentrator (much like the ones that come with your traditional hair dryers, this one is wider and thinner for more precise styling); the Wide-tooth comb (designed to be used on curls and coils to help lengthen or add volume); the Flyaway attachment (smooths short hairs to prevent flyaways) and the brand new Wave+curl diffuser, which uses reversible airflow to better define waves, curls and coils. Where the traditional diffuser disperses airflow into the roots, the dome mode draws air into itself and away from the head creating smooth waves.

You can use this dryer in exactly the same way as the original Supersonic - where you control the temperature and speed settings - but the Nural will remember your preferences depending on the attachment. The idea is that it simplifies and speeds up your styling routines, meaning when you connect an attachment, it will adjust to the last-used heat and airflow settings. When you first take the attachments out of the box and put each one onto the dryer, the Nural will automatically set to the Dyson-recommended heat and airflow settings. Once you start playing around with them, it will then remember your adjustments. If at any point you want to go back to the default settings, you can find these under the Nural FAQs on the brand's website. But for ease, here they are:

  • Gentle air attachment - High heat / High flow
  • Styling concentrator - High heat / Medium flow
  • Wide-tooth comb - High heat / High flow
  • Wave+curl diffuser - Medium heat / Medium flow
  • Flyaway attachment - Low heat / High flow

It should be noted that not all attachments are compatible with the scalp protect mode. It doesn't work when the Wave + Curl diffuser, Flyaway tool and Wide tooth comb are attached. That's because these are considered styling attachments rather than drying, so it makes the scalp mode redundant. You use these on your lengths, rather than near your scalp and some of them need higher heat settings than the protect mode allows.

The dryer also has motion sensors that detect when you are in between styling passes and automatically drop the heat, airflow and noise.

Dyson Supersonic Nural

(Image credit: Future)

Initial Thoughts

My first thought upon opening up the box was how impressive it was that there was no plastic packing. Every single element was paper or cardboard. As someone who reviews a lot of hair tools, unnecessary and unsustainable packaging is one of my biggest gripes. The tool comes neatly and expertly packaged - seriously it's like the perfect game of Tetris.

Annoyingly, it doesn't come with a storage bag so unless you want to keep your tool in the original box (which FYI is not small) that could prove irritating in the long run.

At first glance, it looks identical to the original, but when you look properly there are some differences. At the back of the head, where the heat and speed buttons are, there's a transparent panel that allows you to see inside the dryer. As far as I can tell this isn't necessary and more a design choice that makes it look more techy. There's also a new button, right at the top of that panel with a symbol of a hair follicle on it, which is the scalp protect mode control.

I was seriously intrigued by the new Wave+curl diffuser attachment, because as someone with naturally wavy hair, I'm always on the hunt for products that help to enhance them, but I've never encountered a hair tool that specifically targets natural waves. There are plenty of things on the market that fake them, like heatless curlers, but none that accentuate the natural texture.

Dyson Supersonic Nural

(Image credit: Future)

First Attempt

After washing my hair and applying my favourite styling products - Moroccanoil Frizz Shield Spray and Arkive Headcare Moisture Cream - I picked up the dryer ready to get cracking. I will say that I found the attachments quite overwhelming. I normally start by rough drying as much of my hair as possible, but I couldn't work out whether I should be using the dryer bare - without anything attached - the gentle air head or go straight in with the new wave dome to do this.

In the end, I left it bare. I started drying my hair using the normal controls and then decided to press the whizzy new scalp button. I have to admit, I didn't get on with it. I couldn't work out what the different modes meant. The instructions in the box didn't help either. In the end, I switched it off and carried on using it like a normal hair dryer, where I was in control of the settings. I have the original Supersonic, which I love, so it just felt like I was using that.

This is when I grabbed the wave attachment, which can be found under the traditional pronged diffuser head. You pull off the diffuser and the wave dome is underneath. I wasn't entirely sure of the correct technique and again the instructions weren't helpful at all. At first I held it close to the hair and I couldn't see a difference, so I grabbed my lengths and popped them into the dome and then held it against my head. Well, was I in for a shock. When I took the hair out of the dome, what did I find? Waves. Not bouncy, blow-dry Airwrap waves, but natural-looking bends in my hair. Suddenly my excitement for the new dryer doubled. I have honestly never used a heated tool that accentuated my natural waves. I've only ever been able to do that with styling products.

Dyson Supersonic Nural

(Image credit: Future)

After Weeks Of Testing

I've been using the Nural for over six weeks and I have to say that I am impressed. After my initial try on the dryer, when I hadn't got to grips with its scalp protect mode, I kept trying and playing around with it and I can safely say that I now understand it and use it regularly.

The key to using it is to lean into the technology. Is that a really obvious thing to say? Perhaps.

I have found that rough drying my hair without an attachment, in scalp protect mode, really helps get my hair into a good state before I start to style. When I've used other dryers to rough dry, my hair ends up looking frazzled and it takes a product to help define my waves and a straightener to smooth it. However, I have found with continued use of the Nural that my hair feels softer, less parched, and, in a way, stronger.

Dome mode on the diffuser has changed the way that I style my waves. I have since found out that what I did on my first go - when I put my lengths into the dome - is the correct way to use it. Whilst I still don't think that it can rival the glossy waves that an Airwrap or alternatives can deliver, it does mean that when I'm blow drying my hair on a normal day, my waves are given shape and not overlooked.

Occasionally, I will use the gentle air attachment to rough dry and that does work nicely too, but I don't tend to see a huge difference in the results on my hair.

When I want to wear my hair straight and smooth, I use the dynamic duo of the styling concentrator and the flyaway attachment. However, I don't use the wide-tooth comb at all.

Dyson Supersonic Nural

(Image credit: Future)

The Pros

  • Prioritises scalp health to encourage hair health
  • Does a lot of the hard work for you
  • Super lightweight
  • Chic design
  • Delivers on a lot of its promises - hair was shinier after use

Dyson Supersonic Nural

(Image credit: Future)

The Cons

  • Complicated at first - it requires quite a bit of trial and error
  • Too many attachments - I don't need all of them - some aren't even relevant for my hair type, it seems wasteful to have extras lying around. It would be more sustainable if you could choose your attachments when you purchase the dryer or offer an attachment exchange
  • Expensive
  • Unhelpful instructions

Dyson Supersonic Nural

(Image credit: Future)

The Verdict

Overall, I think this is a brilliant hair dryer. Did we need a new Supersonic? To be honest I don't see this as a new Supersonic, I see it as an upgrade. Because you can use the Nural in the same way as the original, with the added benefit of the scalp technology, I don't see the point in keeping both on the market. I can imagine the brand phasing the original Supersonic out very soon.

I used another dryer whilst I was in a hotel recently and it struck me just how hot my scalp was becoming when I was using it. It was then that I appreciated how innovative the technology really is. Scalp care is one of the biggest growing categories on the market, so it seems only right that we should be considering it when it comes to our tools too.

Much like the original, I'm sure it will kickstart a plethora of copies. That's the thing about being at the forefront of innovation, inevitably others will follow in your footsteps. However, I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing. I think all hair dryers and heated hair tools should look after the scalp, because after all if we neglect that, our hair will suffer.

Would I recommend this hair dryer? The truth is I really would. I love the original Dyson hair dryer and have done since it launched, but this is like a super Supersonic. But it's not cheap - it's incredibly expensive. If you are in the market for a new hair dryer then I can't say enough good things about it - to me it's the future of heated haircare. But if you're happy with your current dryer, then do you need to spend almost £400 on a new one? No. But as someone who has had the same Supersonic since 2016, I know that these tools last (so long as you clean your filters!). If your current one gives up the ghost any time soon, this would be a worthy investment. If you are considering making a purchase, you could visit one of the Dyson Beauty Labs where you can get a blow-dry for £35 (which is redeemable again purchase) and try out the Nural for yourself and have a Dyson stylist show you how to use it.

Katie Thomas

Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.