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Vacuum firm Dyson unveils £299 'Supersonic' hairdryer

Dyson's first hairdryer Credit: Dyson

Dyson has made a surprise foray into the beauty industry with a "Supersonic" hairdryer.

The firm, known for its vacuums, fans and toilet hand dryers, has invested £50 million and four years of research into the slimline model, which looks markedly different from the long-nozzle hairdryers currently on the market.

But will customers spend £299 on hot air?

James Dyson, the device's billionaire inventor, said profiting from the Supersonic is not a major concern.

The hairdryer will go on sale in June Credit: Dyson

"At Dyson we develop products to solve problems," he told The Telegraph. "It isn’t about making a quick buck."

What are the Dyson Supersonic's best bits?

  • Sound - unlike the loud "whoosh" of its toilet hand dryers, the Supersonic has been engineered to remove high-pitched, high-frequency dryer sounds
  • Weight - a smaller motor means it can be fitted in the dryer's handle, instead of the head, making the weight distribution more even
  • Power - it borrows the same Airblade technology that gives its hand dryers their distinctive powerful air blast
  • Safety - Those with longer hair can occasionally find strands get sucked into the back of the dryer, but Dyson's is at the bottom of the handle
  • Temperature - heating elements are monitored 20 times a second to maintain and the device automatically shuts down if it overheats
The dryer is said to reduce drying time Credit: Dyson

The entrepreneur behind the iconic bagless vacuum cleaner, told the BBC that it is more important that the customers who do buy the dryer like it.

"I don't mind if I only sell 100 a year, as long as those 100 people think it's really good," he said. "I wouldn't make much money but that's not always the point. That's not what drives us, that's not what makes it exciting."

Inventor James Dyson says Dyson is 'changing hair care' Credit: Dyson

Engineers and specialists at its research centre in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, were sworn to secrecy as they grappled with "the science of hair."

It even got through 1,000 miles of real human hair to test the product.

With our digital motor, we changed vacuuming, and then hand drying.

Now we’re changing hair care.

– James Dyson

What are the Dyson Supersonic's least appealing points?

  • Price - a budget hairdryer from companies such as Remington and Babyliss cost around £12. Dyson's model is around twice as expensive as the top-end models used in salons
  • The cord - it's still there. Even Dyson hasn't managed to achieve a hairdryer users' dream of a wire-free model
1,000
miles of real human hair used in testing
600
prototypes were made
103
engineers worked on the product
4
years spent working on the dryer

The hairdryer goes on sale in early June.