Two years on since the release of the much-lauded Advance, Parlux have released their latest flagship, the Parlux Alyon. Time to get excited ladies and gents. I got my hands on an Alyon last week and have been giving it a thorough test drive whilst I’ve been at work. Here’s the lowdown on the new model for 2018. Is Parlux going to keep with tradition, smashing it once more and sweeping awards? Is the new model worth your money for an upgrade? Do I have a review for you…
A short introduction for the unconverted, Parlux have been making hairdryers since the 1970’s. For many years they were a small outfit making each dryer by hand, now, in their 41st year as a manufacturer of hair dryers, they’ve long been a full-fledged outfit, churning out dryers for the professional industry that maintain their original aim of making the best dryers on the market. They have the awards to prove it too, year after year, each new model of Parlux have swept the top awards from recognised industry mags since long before I’d even dreamt up the idea of becoming a hair stylist. As a consumer, you might not be totally aware of them, why is that? The easiest answer I have for you is that until very recently, Parlux didn’t push too hard into the consumer market, instead, they tended to remain satisfied as being an industry stalwart and best-kept secret.
That brings us to the first thing you’ll notice when you pick up an Alyon. The packaging is on point. In the past, Parlux tended to go substance over style. Selling predominantly to the industry, with little need to wow the high street shoppers, their packaging was bare bones. Not this year. They’ve gone big and bold with a large, shoebox size matt silk finished box, complete with silver embossing and velvet effect interior. This might not seem like an important factor in a product and in truth, it isn’t really, but here it shows Parlux’s intentions with this latest model. Parlux is a premium brand, even in the industry. In the consumer market, they’re selling to the high end and with the Alyon’s packaging, they’ve acknowledged that the consumer needs to feel that from the outset if they’re going to stump up the cash to meet the price tag. Parlux has been creeping into this “Prosumer” market for a few years now, a market of consumers that are willing to spend to buy ‘professional’ products. With the crisp packaging of the Alyon, it finally appears as if they might be jumping in with both feet. When I received my Alyon, it has to be said, I was suitably impressed, I felt hyped for the product before I’d even opened the box. It’s working for them.
So what are you getting with the Alyon? Parlux’s latest and greatest boasts a lot of what has been working for Parlux for years, along with a few new little innovations and extras. You get their newest motor, the “K-Advance Plus”, the mark 2 of the motor found in their last model, the Parlux Advance. On paper, it’s a belter, pumping out 84 m3/h of air at 2250 Watts, making it the most powerful Parlux to date. It’s also the lightest Parlux to date, weighing in at 425 grams. For those not keeping track, that’s 50 watts more than the Advance and 25 grams lighter. I don’t know where Parlux is scraping off this weight to what was already a ridiculously light-weight dryer, but the voodoo has apparently paid off. As you’d expect, it has the Ceramic and Ionic technologies that come more or less as standard these days, a heat-resistant outer shell, the trusty Parlux switches that any Parlux user will know and love and finally, the “HFS”, or “Hair Free System” which is a new patent design for Parlux and comes in unique to the Alyon. More on that later. The Alyon is sold in eight colours, two of which are matt, with a matt black and matt graphite model and six glossy colours, bronze, turquoise, green, coral, pink and yellow. The model in today’s review is the matt graphite version. One of these days I’ll stump for something brighter and bolder, but for now, sticking to the understated is fine for me and the matt graphite offers low-key, but confident style. This is helped by the silver ring that sits embedded in the rear of the dryer, adding a nice contrast to the matt body. For my money, all of the colours look great, the glossy, bright colours suitably bold whilst not appearing garish or sickly.
The industrial design is not a great leap from the general vibe that’s worked for Parlux since the 385 Power Light, though it has had some welcome tweaks from both that model and the previous Advance. The handle is now more ergonomic than ever, with a forwards curve rather than the backwards curve on the Advance and the whole thing feels more refined and tuned, sitting comfortably in your hand. This is helped by a subtle indentation at the top of the handle which works as a comfortable resting point between thumb and finger, as well as helping the cool shot button to sit nicely into the handle itself. This ergonomic little ridge doubles up and works just as successfully for those that forego the use of the handle and dry by holding the shell. Whether or not this is intentional is anyone’s guess, if it is, it’s frankly a stroke of genius, if it’s not, then it’s a stroke of fortune as it means that however you hold the dryer, it nestles comfortably into your hand. The heat resistance of the shell works remarkably well, allowing the dryer to be held right up to the front nozzle without burning, even after prolonged usage, which also means tossing it into a storage bag straight after use when you’re on the move is no problem at all. The switches are the same as ever, employing the tried and true Parlux “Soft” switches from the past. If you’ve read or watched my older Parlux reviews, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of these switches, as they work to be both easily accessible and at the same time, completely impossible to knock when the dryers in use. This sounds like a simple trick, but you’d be amazed at how many dryers can’t seem to employ a similar tactic. It’s one of the main reasons I converted to Parlux way back and I’ve yet to use a dryer that has come close to the simple ergonomics that has saved me so many hours of frustration. The final thing of note on the design itself is the new “Prismatic” finish, which gives the body of the dryer a subtle, geometric curvature and looks nice in practice. The whole thing is still as eco-friendly as ever, as Parlux manage to nail all of this out whilst still using many recycled (and recyclable) plastics.
So how does this all come together and work in practice? First up, if you’ve never used a Parlux before, prepare yourself for a shock. The dryer is insanely light-weight. They’ve maintained this for years now and it’s still no less of a feat of incredible engineering as it always was. It’s not just it’s weight either, it’s balanced so well that it just sits effortlessly into your hand, making it easy to manoeuvre and in use, it removes that barrier of having to manipulate a tool. That might sound a bit pretentious, but wait until you’ve used one before you judge me too quickly. As someone who has to use a dryer for hours a day, it really is that much of a pleasure to have a tool that isn’t a chore to use. It saves my wrists and my sanity and for that, there aren’t enough superlatives I can muster. It’s quiet for a dryer, not on an incredible level, at the end of the day, a dryer is a dryer and they all make noise, but it hums away in a register that isn’t grating. On the low power setting, it’s comfortable to talk over, on the high setting, it’s putting out enough noise, but overall I think it’s got to be one of the quietest on the market. As an aside, the Parlux Melody Silencer, an optional extra, still fits onto the rear of the Alyon just as snugly as you’d hope and it works just as well as it always has. I do feel like either it’s the work of the new motor or Parlux have improved the internal silencer, as it felt quieter than both the 385 Power Light and the Advance, both of which I have been using daily for the past several years.
The HFS, or what Parlux have dubbed the “Hair Free System” is a nice new little feature. In theory, it’s a small coil that sits in the rear of the dryer and catches any loose strands of hair before they pass into the internals of the dryer. To clean it out, you just need to unscrew the back of the dryer with your fingers to remove the back vent, pop out the little coil, remove any hair build up and pop it all back. The whole process takes all of 10 seconds. Does it work? I’m not sure. After a week of use, I didn’t find it to have any hair build up, but I do believe that in time it will be effective. I’ve seen similar systems in plugs to stop hair clogging drains and they worked, so I can’t see why it wouldn’t work here. It will make a nice little time saver and should work to prolong the life of the dryer (which Parlux quote at 3000 hours for the record, though I’m sure with care, that will extend way past that).
The results after using the Parlux Alyon were good, exactly what I’d been hoping for really. I’ve used it for the past week on every client I’ve had and I found that it dried at a really solid rate, even on the longest, thickest hair and allowed me to work the hair just enough without over drying or causing nasty flyaways and static to build up. All my work was left looking luscious and smooth, giving you a solid creamy texture when paired with a nice boar bristle brush and nicely sleek when flat drying. If you’re reading this as a stylist, I think you’ll be satisfied with the speed at which you can achieve a really solid blow dry and if you’re a consumer, especially one with difficult, thick or long hair, you’ll too find the Parlux will save you a lot of grief and make the whole affair more manageable when you’re drying your hair.
In conclusion then, what more needs to be said about the Parlux Alyon? At £130 retail, it’s no small investment. It sit’s right in the middle of the GHD Air (£100) and the GHD Aura (£145), but significantly cheaper than Dyson Supersonic (£300). The GHD models are probably it’s main contenders here, but the supersonic does need to be brought into the mix as they’re really sitting at the top of the pile with that price tag. In my opinion, compared to the GHD models, the Parlux Alyon sits comfortably above them, taking the throne from the old Parlux Advance. It’s smaller, lighter, more comfortable and more ergonomic and easier to use whilst being more powerful. Compared to the Supersonic, it’s a no-brainer. At less than half the price you’re getting a significantly better product. One thing can always be said about Parlux, you don’t get gimmicks. What you do get is a top-tier dryer that does a simple job, remarkably well. I’ve been a Parlux convert my whole career and there is a simple reason for that, all the time they push a product that maintains this level of quality, there’s just no reason to look elsewhere. If you’re looking to purchase your first premium dryer due to being tired of replacing cheap models over and over again or are looking to make your life easier when drying your hair, I’d recommend it easily, the Alyon will provide all of that for you. If you’re a stylist looking to upgrade your kit or pick up the latest and greatest, again it’s a hearty recommendation and if you’re looking to upgrade from the Advance? Go for it. I haven’t always said that in the past, when the Advance came out, for example, I recommended sticking with your 385 as I felt it wasn’t a huge leap in models. This time with the Alyon release, I think it’s a worthy successor and a worthwhile upgrade. Sell your Advance for a decent clip and step up, I don’t think you’d regret it.
The unit in this article was sent to me for review. At LEMON/SODA I’ll always give my honest opinion no matter the manner of acquisition, as well as taking cost into consideration whilst I write any review.