Malmesbury in the UK is known for many reasons – the first king of England is buried there, it looks like the setting of a Midsomer Murders spinoff series, and it’s the home of Dyson’s elaborate R&D facility where they busy themselves developing new gadgets to style hair with. It’s the latter that I visited in 2019 to witness the unveilling of Corrale – the first wireless hair straightener with flexing plates, designed to change how people straighten their hair.
Corrale had been in the pipeline for seven years, with work starting on it around the same time as AirWrap, Dyson’s other curling/straightening product. The difference between the two is that AirWrap is for wet hair, while Corrale is for dry.
The biggest problem with traditional hair straighteners is that one end of the hair in the device gets too hot while the other doesn’t get hot enough, according to one of the engineers at the factory. Hence users have to squeeze too hard to achieve even coverage, which burns and stresses hair, leaving it straight but irreparably damaged. Not to mention the extra time required to achieve a desired style.
During Corrale’s development, engineers used hundreds of different hair samples to discover what styling techniques cause the least damage. The team concluded that it’s important to strike the right balance between heat and force. While styling hair when cold is better for its health, straightening requires at least 300g of force, which causes damages. Hot hair only needs 150g of force to straighten, but most people apply much more because they’re used to less efficient hair irons. Current straighteners typically operate at around 232 degrees Celcuis, whereas Corrale has three settings – 165, 185 and 210 degrees.