A beauty editor tries the Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer – how well does it perform?

 Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer.
Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer.

For many people, Nicky Clarke is a nostalgic haircare brand, a household name that’s been around for decades. While the eponymous salon sadly closed in 2022, the product range lives on – and this Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro review is a deep dive into its latest launch. 

21st century hair dryers come in all shapes and sizes, with the AirStyle Pro taking a modern, smaller silhouette that has become more popular over the last few years. With four different attachments in its box, it certainly looks promising – so how does it actually perform? Is it one of the best hair dryers on the market? I’ve shared my detailed guide below, covering everything from its performance to how it compared to other hair tools.

Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer specifications

  • RRP: £249.99

  • Added extras: 1 narrow nozzle, 1 diffuser and 2 curling barrels

  • Weight: 350g

  • Power: 2000W

  • Cable length: 2.8m

  • Warranty: 2 years

My first impressions of the Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer

The Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer in its box
The Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer in its box

Upon opening the box of the Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer, I thought both the tool itself and its attachments looked very well-presented in the sleek box. It’s great that it comes with four of the latter (three if you count the curling barrels as a pair) as standard. The design and colourway are simple and chic – black with silver chrome accents and matching attachments.

Also noticeable when you first pick up the AirStyle Pro and switch it on is that it’s very light, with the dryer weighing just 350g, and incredibly quiet, rated at 74dB. This will appeal to those who seek one of the quietest hair dryers on the market over something with a roaring motor. There are three heat and speed settings, plus a cold shot and a useful lock function that prevents you from accidentally changing these during use.

How does the Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer perform?

To really assess its capabilities, I tested all three of this dryer’s attachment options. First up was the narrow concentrator nozzle. Now, full disclosure: outside of testing tools for work in my usual hairstyling routine, I never really use a hair dryer to dry my hair smoothly. I’m not dextrous enough to blow dry with a separate brush and would usually use a 2-in-1 tool, one of the best hair dryer brushes, to style in this way instead. But for the purpose of this review, I did so (although I did perhaps use a too-small brush for the job and made the process quite lengthy for myself). The dryer did a good job of smoothing out my hair while retaining some of its natural volume and is quite powerful, which is worth bearing in mind if you prefer to dry “low and slow”.

To me, the diffuser seemed a little flimsy initially – and on the small size – and I wondered how well it would fare, particularly given that, without an attachment, this dryer is pretty powerful. But, thankfully, once the diffuser was secured onto the dryer it produced a great, gentle airflow that didn’t generate flyaways and excess frizz. It may not feel as premium as the best diffusers for curly hair but my loose ringlets were left feeling soft and looking nice and defined.

As for the curling barrels, similar to the Shark FlexStyle and first version of the Dyson Airwrap, there is one for each direction of curl. If you’re used to the latter, admittedly this feels a little inconvenient to change mid-styling. However, the barrels do perform well and create bouncy curls with ease. Also worth noting is that I used these barrels on dry hair that had been dried with a different tool days before, rather than from freshly washed and wet. I dampened it with some heat protection spray and was still able to create loose curls that lasted (though my hair does hold styles quite well; if your hair drops easily you'll probably find your hair requires more prep). The cold shot is also easy to press while hair is wrapped around the barrel – just make sure you don’t have the settings lock on first!

Lucy's hair after using the Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer's narrow nozzle (left) and curling barrels (right)
Lucy's hair after using the Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer's narrow nozzle (left) and curling barrels (right)

Does the Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer come with any attachments?

As mentioned, four different attachments come with the Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro: a diffuser, a narrow nozzle and two curling barrels (one for each direction). This is fairly in line with its price tag, given that the bundle costs just under £250.

Diffusers and comb attachments are add-ons that, often, have to be purchased separately from a hair dryer. Though you could argue not everybody will use these, in my book it's always a good thing when they aren’t paid extras. So, while there's no comb on offer here, I'm happy to see a diffuser included as standard.

The attachments do feel slightly flimsy initially, particularly given the price tag of the dryer, but the most important thing is that they perform well – and after testing them all, I can say that that is definitely the case.

How does the Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer compare?

As for how it compares to other models on the market, with its small, pistol shape the AirStyle Pro is similar to new-gen dryers like mdlondon's BLOW Hair Dryer or Hershesons' The Great Hair Dryer. Like most dryers with this design, it’s also very quiet (in fact, Nicky Clarke’s AirStyle Pro is rated 2dB and 4dB quieter than the aforementioned tools respectively).

Though it’s not quite as slick, the curling barrels are equipped with similar tech to the Airwrap’s Coanda effect, which I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting and did impress me. It takes a bit more encouragement to get a section of hair to be drawn into the barrel than with Dyson’s attachments, but the styling technique is similar.

In my opinion, the Dyson Supersonic or Airwrap are superior tools – but this is reflected in their respective £329 and £480 price tags; many people are looking for similar alternatives that cost a bit less and, to an extent, this Nicky Clarke dryer does tick a few of the same boxes.

Should you buy the Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer?

To sum up, this model would suit someone who wants a lightweight and quiet hair dryer with some of the fun and added styling options of a multi-styler, but not a huge roster of attachments.

It would be a good option for someone who likes the idea of the Dyson Airwrap or Shark FlexStyle curling barrels but doesn't feel they need the brush attachments. It’s also a bit cheaper than both tools.

Though it has a powerful airflow, this can be made gentler with the diffuser attachment and its design lends itself well to travel. If all this sounds like your kind of tool, I don’t think you’d be disappointed by its styling abilities.

About this review and the reviewer

Lucy has been writing for magazines for just shy of eight years, covering all things beauty for most of that time. During her career, she’s covered backstage of several London Fashion Weeks, picked the brains of some of the country’s leading hairdressers, dermatologists and makeup artists, and interviewed many a celebrity about the contents of their makeup bags – not to mention reviewed hundreds of beauty products.

Hair tools are her bread and butter, and she’s tried dozens of hair dryers, straighteners, curling wands, tongs and co in her time, from the Dyson Airwrap to the ghd Glide. In other words, she’s very experienced in assessing these styling tools’ capabilities and knows what makes a great one (as well as a not-so-great one). When testing the Nicky Clarke AirStyle Pro Hair Dryer, she used it to dry her hair both smooth and straight and naturally curly, as well as testing out the curling barrels' technology.