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Withings and L'Oreal have made a smart hair brush, in the latest edition of 'You're doing it wrong'

Withings and L'Oreal have made a smart hair brush, in the latest edition of 'You're doing it wrong'


Tangled up in Bluetooth

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The Internet of Things has brought wireless connectivity to billions of devices that previously suffered from being dumb (or, not connected). It has also created an excuse for companies to make everything and anything "smart."

The hair brush is one example of this. Nokia-owned Withings, L’Oreal’s innovation lab and Kerastase, a high-end L’Oreal hair product brand, have just unveiled a Wi-Fi, Bluetooth-equipped hair brush that’s supposed to show you data on your hair-brushing habits and, in theory help you take better care of your hair.

The hair brush "listens" to your hair-brushing patterns

Called the Hair Coach, the high-tech hair brush has a microphone, so it can hear your hair-brushing patterns; an accelerometer and a gyroscope, commodity sensors that are supposed to analyze your brush strokes and patterns; load cells, otherwise known as transducers or sensors, that measure the pressure you’re applying to your hair; and conductivity sensors that are supposed to know whether you’re brushing dry or wet hair (shame on you). All of this data is shared wirelessly with a mobile app, of course.

Withings smart hairbrush
Lauren Goode/The Verge

The paddle feels light in the hand, despite having two AA batteries in its handle (this will last six months). And the brush itself is made of a combination of nylon and boar bristles. That's all well and fine. The app is something else. It will tell you that you have "unruly" hair. When I asked L'Oreal and Withings how it knows this, they said it's because the brush knows when you've spent a lot of time and effort brushing tangled hair. Of course, I would not have known that myself. Not without the brush. Also, the app will show you products that will fix your hair problems. Naturally, these are Kerastase products.

I can’t possibly imagine paying around $200 for a connected hair brush, just so I can have the pleasure of learning more about how I’m doing yet another beauty ritual wrong. But I’m sure some people would like the idea of this. The brush will ship sometime in mid-2017.