Smart devices are becoming every more ubiquitous, so it was only a matter of time before a hair brush came out that could warn of potential problems that may lead to hair loss.
A forthcoming smart hairbrush called the Hair Coach, that is a joint venture between L’Oréal haircare company Kérastase and Nokia-owned tech company Withings, looks on paper at least to be a pretty impressive bit of kit. It uses microphones to “hear” your hair as you brush, and has sensors that can ascertain your brushing force and speed.
Microphone “hears” split ends
The microphone, they claim, will capture the hair’s sound waves to detect frizziness, dryness and split ends. Tellingly, perhaps, a trailer video for the brush promises that a mobile app will make customised product recommendations. A cynical view, therefore, would be that the brush cleverly locks you into buying more Kérastase products.
The kind of problems that the brush will detect – specifically frizziness and dryness – can indicate that the hair is not being properly nourished; something that can indeed often be fixed by adjustments to your grooming routine, or by taking a dedicated nutritional food supplement. But sometimes overly-dry hair can be a precursor to a hair loss problem.
The cause of frizzy hair is often too much heat-styling. Today’s hair straighteners often operate at 200 degrees or more, which is bad news for human hair as it can actually only withstand a maximum of 180 degrees before it becomes damaged. Even simply using a hair dryer regularly on a high heat setting, especially with the nozzle close to the hair, can cause hair breakage – where the hair becomes weak and the shaft snaps along the lengths.
When hair is exposed to high temperatures like this, the protective outer layer of each strand becomes damaged. In turn, this makes hair look dull and lifeless and more frizzy as the effect of the straightening wears off. Thus begins a vicious circle as the frequency of heat-styling increases to combat the frizz.
Damaged hair becomes an issue as the outer layer of the strand of hair –the cuticle – endures repeated styling. As it weakens, it starts to expose the middle of the strand – the cortex – which, when exposed to the heat of hair straighteners, leads to split ends, hair breakage and, ultimately, hair that snaps off completely. Over time, this can lead to thinning hair and even the hair loss condition Traction Alopecia from putting the hair follicles under regular strain.
If the damage is not too extreme, breakage caused by heat-styling can often be gradually undone with TLC – meaning a hair cut to get rid of the damaged hair, cessation of heat styling and a hair/scalp nourishment programme that involves deep conditioning. Ensuring you get your RDA of hair-friendly vitamins and minerals can also be helpful.
If you are unsure as to the extent of your hair’s problems however, expert help from a specialist clinic can be invaluable as they can provide you with a explanation of what’s going on, as well as devising a plan of action to get your hair back in shape. For those who are diagnosed with an actual hair loss condition, as opposed to fairly cosmetic hair problems, Traction alopecia treatment including scalp therapy and other hair growth boosters can also be useful, depending on the diagnosis and how damaged the hair is.
As for the new smart brush, it’s difficult to say if it will be worth its reported $200 price tag when it is released in the summer. Most women either instinctively know or can feel, and see in the mirror, when their hair is in poor condition, though perhaps seeing the data in black and white via the smart brush’s accompanying phone app will steer them towards a healthier styling regime a little sooner than they otherwise might.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.