Dyson quietly released its $500 23.75-karat gold-plated Supersonic hair dryer today, and the announcement came in the form of an artfully shot video of the making-of process on its website. Set to an orchestral background, the video shows master gilder Karen Haslewood peeling off gold leaves and brushing them onto the back cover of the hair dryers, which have been painted with a red gesso. Dyson engineers were then taught these traditional hand-gilding techniques so that they can pass the product onto you, the consumer willing to pay $500 for a hair dryer, as is tradition.
The hand-gilded Supersonic hair dryers are available exclusively through Dyson’s website, and they come with a red presentation case. Five gold leaves are used on each product, though “through use, some of the red base color may become visible beneath through the gold.” Dyson’s website insists, “This is intentional and should not be considered a defect, but rather something that makes each hair dryer unique to its owner.” You should remember this when you’re at the club and someone points out the gold flecks in your hair.
The $500 price tag makes this gilded hair dryer only $100 more than the original model, and $50 more than the professional, “re-engineered” Supersonic for stylists. In our 2016 review of the Supersonic, Lauren Goode called it “The Tesla of hair dryers” — “fast, sleek, and out of my price range.” Compared to a $21 Conair hair dryer, it didn’t dry wet hair any faster, so you’re really only paying more for some temperature-control features, the powerful motor, and, of course, the design and name value. What’s $100 more for a gold-leafed face?