Last week’s blogpost about skincare and how it has evolved really inspired me to dig deeper into the beauty industry and see its latest innovations, but in the hair space. As someone who has a lot of hair and used to have it thinned out because it was so thick, hair care has been extremely important to me. We typically think about caring for our hair by brushing, washing, and cutting it every so often, but technology in this area has really developed in some incredible ways. Let’s take L’Oréal for example. They are a leader in the beauty industry and not only own several brands, but have their own Research and Innovation Technology Incubator. This lab worked with Kérastase, the worldwide leader in professional luxury hair care, in partnership with Withings, who provides health products in the digital health space under Nokia, to create the world’s first ever smart hairbrush.
The brush has advanced sensors and L’Oréal’s patent-pending signal analysis algorithms to measure the quality of hair as someone uses the brush. The mobile app that syncs with the brush provides more insights about the person’s hair and provides customized product recommendations to improve the quality of the hair. Researchers discovered that forceful hair brushing can cause hair damage, which includes breakage and split ends. The sensors detect brushing patterns and strength by using a microphone that listens to the sound of hair brushing to provide insights into manageability, frizziness, dryness, split ends and breakage. The brush also has 3-axis load cells that measure the force users apply to the hair while brushing and an accelerometer along with a gyroscope that alert users if the brushing is too forceful through feedback signaling. Lastly, the brush also has conductivity sensors that determine if the user has wet or dry hair while brushing, to provide an accurate assessment. Once the brush collects all of this information, the sensors feed the data into the app, which also takes weather conditions into account, like humidity, temperature, UV, and wind, because all of these factors affect hair quality. The app finally provides a hair quality score and provides tips or product recommendations based on the outcome. The brush is battery powered, sold at select Kérastase hair salons, and retails for just under $200. While this is a pretty steep price for a hair brush, I can see how useful it would be to know more about the quality of your hair and use products that directly suit your needs.
Another L’Oréal brand, Redken, has also introduced an app and online website, in partnership with YouCam Makeup, to allow users to test out different hair colors by taking a selfie.
There are already apps like this that exist for fun, but this app has a custom brush and erase feature that allow users to draw in highlights, ombré, or balayage to get a more realistic feel for what their hair will look like. Once the user has selected the color they would like, the app directs them to a Redken salon finder so that they can dye their hair with the color that they have chosen. This technology is not super revolutionary, but the seamlessness of trying on a color and actually booking an appointment makes it that much easier for people to change their hair in the way that they want.
To round of this list, I had to include the $399.99 Dyson hair dryer. Yes. $399.99. Before you click away, I will have to say that this hair dryer is extremely impressive. We typically think about Dyson as a vacuum cleaner brand, but they developed a Supersonic hair dryer after conducting much research.
They discovered that temperatures above 302 degrees Fahrenheit cause irreparable damage, so the hair dryer has a heat control system. The system has a glass bead thermistor in front of the heating element to measure the exit airflow temperature 20 times every second to ensure that temperatures do not exceed 302 degrees Fahrenheit. A motor in the handle powers the hair dryer, so it does not need to rely on extreme heat, is quieter than traditional hair dryers, and is very lightweight. This price is pretty absurd, but the technology is quite cutting edge considering most hair dryers have not evolved much from the ‘60s. I am not sure I would be willing to shell out that much money, but for people who do dry their hair often, this could be a great investment.
The beauty industry has developed and grown so much over the past decade and it has been incredible to see the marriage of tech and hair care. We all have hair to some capacity on our bodies and it makes sense that companies have developed to include more customizable and efficient products. These tech innovations do come at steep prices, but as they improve and become more widespread, I would suspect that their prices will drop. The Redken app itself is free, but then again you would need to pay for the actual dye appointment. What do you all think? Would anyone use the Redken app or purchase the smart hair brush or Dyson hair dryer? Sound off below!!