When most people hear the words “smart hairbrush,” their initial reaction is often: “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” But as many women will tell you, hairbrushes aren’t just some stupid item you buy at Target for $5 because you have to. Hairbrushes are styling tools, they come in different styles with various bristles, and they’re made of many different materials.
Simply put, hair is serious business — especially for anyone with long, luscious locks — and there’s not much worse than a bad hair day. Luxury hair care company Kerastase and tech company Withings realize this and have joined to save the day for people everywhere with high-maintenance hair.
The result is the Hair Coach, a smart hairbrush that knows as much about your hair as your personal stylist. We met with the smart brush’s creators and tested it out on my long blonde hair to see just how good it was.
The Hair Coach is much more than a pedometer for your hairbrush. Not only does it count the number of strokes you use while brushing your hair, but it can tell the quality of your hair and its health as you brush. The Hair Coach is loaded with sensors. It has microphones that pick up the sound of the bristles working their way through the strands of hair. Based on the sound, the brush can tell if your hair is dry, damaged, or oily, and then help you address the issue with hair treatments. Of course, since it’s an app made by Kerastase, the recommendations are for its line of hair products, but it isn’t heavy-handed. You could just as easily use the diagnosis of your hair to buy a treatment from your brand of choice.
An accelerometer allows the brush to know when you’re brushing the crown of your head near the roots or the bottom ends, which are more exposed to the elements. This helps the brush better understand the condition of your hair and the quality of your brushing practices. You can also track your brushing to see if you’ve improved over time. The app will even assess humidity and other environmental factors to help you find the right products to use to preempt a bad hair day.
Withings also built haptic feedback into the handle, so you know when you’re brushing too hard or yanking too much on that tangle. All this data is collected in the app, where it’s analyzed to give you feedback on your hair quality and brushing habits. You simply sync it over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
The brush itself is a simple paddle brush with a mix of detangling plastic bristles, and nylon and natural boar bristles. The combination feels nice in your hair, and unlike brushes that only have the plastic detangling bristles, it doesn’t pull or rip your hair. The mix of boar and plastic bristles ensures that you can detangle without pain while smoothing your hair with natural bristles. For the uninitiated, boar bristles are best for hair, because they naturally distribute your hair’s oil while you brush, and also promote hair health and circulation at the scalp. You can pay anywhere from $10 to $300-plus for a natural boar bristle brush.
The brush’s handle and paddle are made of a white plastic. It’s a simple look, but an attractive one. The handle is slightly flattened, so it feels comfortable to hold. The Hair Coach’s creators said it is stylist approved, and it felt very ergonomic to me.
The app is very clean and simple. When you set it up, it asks you questions to fill out a hair profile covering curliness, oiliness, whether you dye it, or whatever. It offers advice on what to do to improve your hair, you can keep tabs on how often you wash your hair or do other treatments, and Kerastase offers a way to track stylist appointments and your favorite products. Luckily, the branding doesn’t seem to get in the way, and you may even learn something from the tips section.
More: Kérastase connected hairbrush will help people take better care of their hair
The Hair Coach creators told us that the most common Google beauty queries are about hair, so it’s clear that there’s a ton of interest in the best practices to make your hair as good as it can be. Having a bad hair day can ruin your entire outlook on the day and how you view yourself. We don’t talk about bad makeup days or bad clothing days, but we do moan about bad hair days. That should tell you something– air matters, and to those with long hair, it matters a lot.
Personally, the Hair Coach blew me away. I’ve wondered aloud when was the last time I washed my hair and whether it could last another day or not. The Hair Coach could tell me the answer. Same goes for hair health. I’ve Googled tips for hair masks — which ones to use for my hair type, how often to use them, and whether they’re good for me. The app can tell you all of those things, because it learns your hair and your preference. It truly is a helpful gadget for anyone who cares about their hair’s look and health.