I never know what to do with my hair, and boy oh boy have I made countless mistakes using flat irons. I’ve burned my hair, fingers, and other parts of my body with my clumsiness. When my budget for Japanese straight perms ran out, I went through periods of lopping off my mane entirely. Unfortunately, the “may-I-see-your-manager” look never worked for me personally. But all of my hair misfortunes supposedly make me the exact type of person that Dyson designed its new $500 Corrale cordless flat iron for.
I tried the Corrale at a private briefing a few weeks ago, but the device itself was just announced today at the company’s live-streamed event (which was originally slated for a public launch, but then, you know, coronavirus). As with all Dyson gadgets, the company says it threw a whole lot of time and money into the research and development behind the Corrale: seven years and $32 million, to be exact.
The main thing that sets the Corrale apart from other, cheaper flat irons is its flexing plates. Made of a manganese copper alloy, Dyson says the plates are machined to 65 microns—or the width of a human hair—and feature tourmaline edges to reduce static. But the main draw is that the Corrale’s flexing plates should reduce heat damage by 50 percent, Dyson claims.
If you’ve ever done battle with a hair straightener, then you know the plates are generally two rigid, flat metal irons. Their sole purpose is to deliver scorching heat to your wavy, curly, or frizzy strands to show that you, and only you, are the boss of your hair’s destiny.
In person, the flexing plates don’t look drastically different from standard straighteners at a glance, besides the color. They’re still solid to the touch. I definitely wouldn’t call them squishy by any means, but if you press on them in a specific area you can see they have a bit of give. The idea is that by allowing the plates to flex, they can better gather hair. That, in turn, means you get a more even application of heat and tension to create the look you want. Contrast that with rigid flat plates, which Dyson claims only apply heat and tension to the thickest parts of the hair. That means strands at the edge don’t get treated, so straightening them requires multiple passes, which in turn leads to loss of color, hair strength, and shine.
Dyson also says that the precision its flexing plates allow should translate to people being able to use lower heat to achieve the same ultra-straight results. The Corrale has three settings: 330 degrees, 365 degrees, and 410 degrees Fahrenheit. Supposedly, the Corrale’s heat sensor measures the device’s temperature 100 times a second for better accuracy. You also get about 30 minutes of cord-free styling, depending on your hair type and styling methods.
Yeah, yeah, that’s all well and good. But for $500, you want the thing to work for every hair type, and maybe even do all of the work for you. Previously, Dyson got some heat for not including tutorials for Type 4 hair when it released its popular Airwrap, and results seemed mixed for reviewers when it came to how the Airwrap handled tightly coiled or natural hair. I got to see the Corrale demoed for me on Type 4 hair, as well as on my my own, which a Dyson ambassador told me was probably Type 2B. (If this sounds like gobbledygook, you can read more about hair types here.) In a stylist’s expert hands, the Corrale definitely straightened Type 4 hair—quite quickly, too, albeit I had a hard time gauging how long it would take to do a whole head of hair as my demo was somewhat limited.
Straightening isn’t the only thing this device is capable of. On my own hair, I managed to clumsily give myself loose, somewhat beachy waves on one part of my head. It took a bit of practice, and if you asked me to reproduce the effect right now, I absolutely wouldn’t be able to do it. That said, it wasn’t impossible, and the ability to both straighten and curl takes at least some of the bite out of the Corrale’s $500 price tag. As a plus, I didn’t burn myself, and the Corrale wasn’t so heavy as to require massive biceps or triceps to use for more than 10 minutes at a time.
However, we’ll have to test this thing for ourselves in real life to see how easy it is to style hair without the expertise and watchful guidance of a stylist. The Corrale is promising, but I assure you Gizmodo is full of clueless dingbats when it comes to hairstyling. We’ll put the Corrale to the test to see if it stands up to Dyson’s claims—and to find out whether a flat iron is actually worth approximately half the cost of a flagship iPhone.