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Dyson’s £500 Million Push for Hair Innovation

October 27, 2022
October 27, 2022
Giorgio Trovato via Unsplash

From hair dryers that dry locks in record time to copper-plated, cord-free hair straighteners that smooth follicles with less damage than conventional tools, Dyson has always had its eye on innovation. Case in point, the brand’s latest releases: the Corrale straightener, which measures the device’s temperature 100 times per second thanks to a platinum sensor and microprocessor controls; the Supersonic hair dryer, which contains a powerful digital V9 motor; and the Airwrap multi-styler which creates curls through a rotating cool tip, which enables clockwise and anti-clockwise curls without needing to switch attachments.

Now it is pushing that envelope further by committing £500MM in developing 20 new beauty products over the course of the next four years, having already poured £2.75B into the family-owned business for R&D back in 2020. Undertaking these developments will be the 6,000 engineers and scientists across Dyson’s four Technology Campuses, using machinery including airflow laser smoke machines, thermal cameras, and scanning electron microscopes.

Fuelling the direction of that development are the findings of the Dyson’s 2022 Global Hair Study, which was conducted across 23,000 participants in 23 markets. “We’ve been researching the science of hair for more than a decade, investing over £100m into global hair laboratories and employing thousands of engineers, hair scientists, and professional stylists to glean new insights into hair profiles globally…. This research and understanding has informed our engineering decisions, and empowered us to build machines that offer users better styles backed by science so they can enjoy healthy, stylish hair everyday, no matter the hair type,” the company states.

Here are some of the insights from their investigative endeavors.

Hair Science

  • Every hair strand consists of its own nerve, blood supply, and muscle.
  • The average human grows 11 km (36,089.2 ft) of hair per year and has 80,000-150,00 strands of it. 
  • One strand of hair can support up to 2 kg (4.4 lb) of weight.
  • Once hair leaves the scalp it is dead, and is impossible to heal once damaged. 
  • Extreme heat (over 150°C, or 302°F) affects the shape of keratin strands in the hair, changing them from α-keratin to β-keratin, resulting in weaker and less elastic hair. 
  • Hair is the second-fastest-growing tissue in the body.

Hair Health

  • 7 in 10 participants identify their top concerns as hair damage, dandruff, graying hair, and hair loss.
  • 67% of respondents agree their hair is healthy, even though it is damaged.
  • They see the top markers of hair health as shine (36%), smoothness (29%), and a healthy scalp (26%).

Hair Styling Habits

  • 8 in 10 people wash their hair every day or every two days, with men more likely to wash it daily than women (49% versus 32%).
  • 76% use a hair dryer as the most common styling tool.
  • 6 in 10 consumers changed their at-home styling habits as a result of the pandemic, but 20% have returned to pre-pandemic routines, with numbers continuing to rise.
  • 17% style their hair less and 9% use fewer hair products than they did pre-pandemic.
  • Hair spray (70%), moisturizing products (70%), shine-enhancing products 969%), and conditioners (68%) are being used 3-4 times weekly.

“The pandemic encouraged self-care, simpler hair routines and with that, better hair health. As a result of reduced exposure to extreme heat, heavy styling tool users may have noticed a healthy change to their hair. Now, they want to maintain this improved hair health, look and feel,” concludes Dyson Senior Principal Hair Scientist Rob Smith. Aiding them in that mission for hair health will undoubtedly be the next generation of styling tools that ensure efficient product use without causing damage. With the influx of cash into the company’s Technology Campuses, it will be interesting to see what solutions Dyson comes up with.

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