I spent most of my days growing up wishing my poofy, curly, and knotty hair was straight. It wasn’t soft and silky like the hair on other girls at school. The flat iron my parents bought when I was in elementary school felt like a blessing, but it was cheap. Its two-inch plates often left me looking like an electrified cartoon character instead of the silky goddess I was picturing.
I have, thankfully, learned to love and appreciate the thick head of curls I’m blessed with, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried more than a dozen straighteners to switch things up. Dyson’s Corrale hair straightener is the latest to try to corral my hair, and unlike that very first flat iron I used, it gives me the silky look I’m after. It’s also the fastest flat iron I’ve used and the least damaging—and it works incredibly well on various types of curly hair. But with a $500 price tag, I’d expect nothing less.
The best way to determine a straightener’s effectiveness is to try it on different types of hair. Curls come in all shapes and sizes. What works on my roommate’s long, soft curls might not work on mine, and vice versa. I witnessed the Dyson straightening all manner of curls when I went into New York City for a demo in early March (before the lockdown!), and indeed it managed to do the job on both my roommate’s hair and mine with no trouble.
The Corrale’s biggest change over traditional flat irons is its flexing plates. They curve around the hair, avoiding the splaying out effect that sometimes occurs and leads to uneven heat distribution. In other terms, when you run a traditional flat iron over a section of hair, a few strands of hair from the section can loosen from the plates’ grip and are then exposed to the heat without any payoff.
You can avoid this by using smaller sections of hair at a time and tightening your grip on the iron, but the Dyson’s unique design helped me stop worrying about this problem altogether. It also meant fewer passes over the same area, reducing the damage done to my hair.
That’s not the only way the Corrale accounts for damage. It has just three temperature settings: 330, 365, and 410 degrees. That might surprise anyone familiar with flat irons. I typically crank my personal flat iron up to 450 degrees to get it to work efficiently with my hair, but the highest setting on the Corrale was more than enough.
Curling Works, Too
OK, so the Corrale can straighten my tough curls. But can it curl? It might seem counterintuitive to straighten curly hair and then … curl the straightened hair, but there are a few reasons.
Straightening any type of coarse or damaged hair will bring attention to the ends, which can often look dry and wiry, making otherwise nice-looking hair appear dull. Adding a simple wave or flip with a flat iron to the ends is a little trick to fix this. (Also a way to get fun Farrah Fawcett curls at a moment’s whim.) The good news? The Corrale manages effortlessly.
The size and shape of a flat iron generally determine how easy it is to get curls. For example, a Paul Mitchell straightener I’ve used (and loved!) for several years has 1.25-inch plates, and while it’s possible to get nice curls with it, the process is much more difficult than using a similar model with 1-inch plates. The smallest addition in size increases the chance of maneuverability issues, which can lead to dented, half-formed curls. I wasn’t confident the Corrale’s large body could do it, but it had no trouble.
The Corrale’s controls and display are a nice touch, too. Its small digital screen shows the battery level and temperature—taking the guessing game on how hot the iron is out of the process. Its three buttons (two for temperature and one power button) are appropriately placed so you won’t accidentally press them when doing your hair, and it has a sliding lock to keep it closed—a nice addition when traveling.
Cut the Cord
I can’t gloss over the fact that this is a cordless hair straightener. Dyson is far from the first to cut the cord, but the benefits are the same as the rest in its category: You no longer have to do battle with an oddly placed outlet just to stand in front of the mirror, and there’s no worry about the cord getting in the way, especially when working the back of the head. Unfortunately, the Corrale’s battery leaves me wanting more.
A fully charged battery lasts only about 30 minutes. That’s enough time for Jon Reyman, Dyson’s global styling ambassador, to straighten my hair, but it took me longer to do it myself. You can use it while it’s charging, which does take away from the ease of use, but at least I can do most of the work without fussing with a cable.
Oddly, the plug attaches to the Corrale via magnets. It stays in place for the most part, but you do have to be aware of it as I’ve accidentally knocked it out a few times, especially when curling my hair. With the battery, the whole package is a little heavier, too. Not so much that it interferes with my styling ability, but it does take some getting used to.
Dyson’s Corrale isn’t perfect. It’s also hard to justify spending $500 on what, at the end of the day, is a flat iron. But almost every company that makes a hair straightener claims theirs causes less damage than other models, and the Corrale is the only one that proves it.
If you straighten your hair several times a week and have coarser hair with more obvious signs of damage, the Corrale might be worth the steep price. But for most of you, that old hair straightener in your bathroom cabinet will probably do just fine.