What Is a Smart Hairbrush and Why Do We Need One?

by Kristen Heinzinger

The latest “smart” product that we didn’t think we needed until now? The “smart hairbrush,” a.k.a. the Kérastase Hair Coach Powered by Withings, which was just unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Think of it as the brush that tells you you’re doing it wrong, powered by the beauty expertise of Kérastase, the tech savvy of Withings (a part of Nokia), and the think-tank of L’Oréal R&D. What exactly makes a hairbrush smart? According to the press release (we’re waiting to give it a test drive when it comes out mid-year!), here’s what it can do:

  • A microphone listens to the sound of your strands being brushed to identify patterns and suggest ways to fight frizziness, dryness, split ends, and breakage.
  • When you’re brushing, it measures the force applied to the hair and the scalp.
  • It counts brush strokes and signals if you’re brushing too hard with automotive- and clinical-sounding features like the “acceleromoter” and the “gyroscope.”
  • It knows if your hair is wet or dry through conductivity sensors, and helps determine the appropriate brushing pressure.

The information is sent over Wi-Fi or bluetooth to a mobile app—which also registers humidity, temperature, UV, and wind in your area—to give a “hair quality score,” a summary of your brushing habits, and tips and product recommendations (Kérastase products, bien sûr). The brush is battery powered and is priced at $200. It will be sold at Kérastase hair salons, the brand’s website, and through Withings distributors beginning in the middle of the year—perfect timing for sea salty, windblown, beachy tangles.

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