Tress TMI: The “world’s first smart hairbrush” by Kerastase and Withings dishes on your hair’s frizziness, dryness, split ends and breakage.
How much would you pay to prevent a bad hair day?
Touted as the “world’s first smart hairbrush” — it’s WiFi-enabled, syncs to an app and has bits and pieces that sound better suited for NASA than your bathroom — this tress technology is a bet by haircare company Kerastase and electronics company Withings. Revealed this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the “Kerastase Hair Coach powered by Withings” won’t be available for purchase for a few months and will sell for “under $200,” though the exact price has not yet been disclosed.
It has a microphone that listens to the sound of your brushing; an accelerometer to measure how fast the brush is moving through the hair; electrical signals to measure how much force you’re applying to your hair; sensors to determine whether you’re brushing wet or dry hair; and a gyroscope — a device used in everything from the Hubble telescope to airplanes — which detects how the brush is tilted.
The brush collects data from each of these elements and feeds it through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to a mobile app — which also factors in humidity levels, wind and weather — to help consumers brush hair more effectively. It will provide data on hair frizziness, dryness, split ends, breakage and manageability and information on how to deal with those issues.
For Kerastase and Withings, the new techy tool is a way to further tap into the $83.1 billion hair-care market — one that is projected, by 2021, to balloon to $94.5 billion, according to data from Statista. What’s more, the app connected to the brush will recommend Kerastase products to users, offering further revenue streams to the companies.
“There’s an absurdity to it,” says Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates. “It’s part of the ‘digitize everything’ movement…a tide of companies ‘smartening up’ everything” from toothbrushes to underwear, he says. But consumers will likely realize that things like this “may not really improve their lives at all” and instead focus on what “smart” things they really want – like smart cars and security, he says.
Some industry experts agree: “I don’t think consumers are ready to shell out $200 for a brush that gathers data on their hair,” says Shreeda Tailor, owner and master stylist at J. Tailor Salon in Texas. “There may be a niche market…but in general I think a majority of people will look at the price tag and not see enough benefit.”
Still, some say otherwise. “If it does what it’s supposed to do, it will be a great hit,” says Nunzio Saviano, owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon in NYC — who thinks that it is a great “reminder” to people to take care of their hair each day. A brush, he says, is an “investment” that you can hold on to for years, so consumers may be willing to tolerate the high price point.
Plus, beauty junkies are no strangers to expensive accessories: The cult-favorite Mason Pearson boar bristle brush, which has been around for decades, can retail for more than $200. And stylists regularly sell pricey brushes to clients. Angelo David Pisacreta, the owner of Angelo David Salon in New York, says that he regularly sells $75 brushes. “When it comes to hair, women will spend anything,” he says.
This story was originally published on MarketWatch.
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