How much would you pay for a smart hairbrush? L'Oreal is about to find out. Its Kerastase luxury hair-care brand is unveiling a $189 digitally connected brush at CES, injecting tech into a seemingly unlikely age-old product.
The Kerastase Hair Coach Powered by Withings, which will be available to consumers later this year, is billed as the world's first smart hairbrush, developed in collaboration with L'Oreal's Research and Innovation Technology Incubator. It features advanced sensors and product design from Nokia's Withings digital-health unit combined with patent-pending signal-analysis algorithms from L'Oreal to score the quality of hair and monitor the effects of various hair-care routines. An accompanying mobile app gives tips on how to brush hair and customized hair product recommendations.
Of course, a standard hairbrush starts under $5 at Walmart, but L'Oreal isn't blazing new territory on the price front, not by a longshot. There are already $200-and-up handcrafted boar-bristle hairbrushes to be found. But this isn't just about fancy materials or eye-pleasing design. It's about the tech, which was enough to win the brush an International CES Innovation Award from TechTimes.com celebrating outstanding product design and engineering in consumer products.
"I'm not going to tell you that around $200 is not a high price for a brush," said Guive Balooch, global VP of L'Oreal's Research and Innovation Incubator. But he said hair brushes already on the market range up to $300 or $400 with no sensors or app, and even when the Hair Coach was tested by consumers without sensors, it performed well. "We didn't want to make a connected brush that people wouldn't love on its own," he said.