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Schwarzkopf's smart salon personalizes your hair care regimen

From Engadget - January 12, 2018

To be clear, this system is not meant to replace hairstylists. In fact, it requires the input of an experienced professional to fill out a brief questionnaire about your hair, based on her observations and expertise. At Schwarzkopf's suite in Las Vegas, I was attended to by the company's professional global ambassador Lesley Lawson, who quickly entered my hair length, color and previous chemical treatments.

Then, she picked up the scanner and ran my hair through the opening, just like you would with a flat iron. Depending on your hair length, your stylist may scan one, two or three different points to judge its quality. Since my hair cascades down to my lower back, Lawson sampled a swatch of hair at my roots and again down closer to the tips.

The scanner, which has an image sensor to capture color data and an infrared sensor to measure cysteic acid levels, will send that information to the app. Schwarzkopf's reps said cysteic acid is produced when the bonds holding protein strands in our hair are broken, so the more of it is present, the more brittle your hair is. According to the scanner, my hair condition is a relatively poor 60 percent (average of results scanned at the various sample sites), but a healthy 33 percent moist.

After getting your results, you can use the app to pick a dye and get to see what the actual hue will be based on your original hair color. You can also overlay the shades you are considering over your hair in real-time via the app's AR function. As we were running out of time at my appointment, I unfortunately did not get to try this feature out. But if it works well, it could help people better communicate with their stylists on the look they want or what colors best complement their complexions and faces.

At the end of the session, the app generates a shampoo formula based on your hair data, and sends it to what Schwarzkopf calls the SalonLab Customizer, which is basically an on-site shampoo "printer". In merely 45 seconds, my little sample bottle of shampoo was ready, and the Customizer also spat out a little sticker that used the first two letters of my name to create a faux element a la the periodic table. This label also has a barcode that can be scanned at other partner salons to simply refill your formula.

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