From Saunas to Hair Tools, Infrared Is Here to Stay

Infrared heat isn’t just for the spa. 

Within the wellness and biohacking space, infrared technology has become a hot topic, predominantly with saunas, which can help with removing toxins and promoting relaxation.

But now, a slew of hairstyling brands are harnessing the power of infrared heat for tools, including straighteners, brushes and dryers.

The reason? According to the Cleveland Clinic, infrared works by penetrating through the skin and heating the body from the inside out. That means that infrared saunas don’t have to be as hot and hairstyling tools that implement infrared work similarly. (The heat is reduced, which could reduce overall damage to the hair.)

Consistently using high heat hair tools can cause damage to strands over time, which is why brands are making a case for infrared. 

“When you go above a certain temperature, it affects the bonds and the hair and then that leads to the hair becoming more elastic, stretchy and then breaking and damaging,” said Helen Reavey, hairstylist, trichologist and founder of scalp care brand Act + Acre. 

According to Reavey, this can be especially impactful on curly hair as the bonds are broken leaving the curl pattern disrupted. 

“Traditional heat will strip the moisture. The infrared helps preserve the natural moisture,” she said, adding it can boost shine, while reducing frizz, static and damage. 

Silk’n, known for its hair removal devices, is one such brand tapping into the technology. It recently relaunched with a slew of new beauty devices, including its SilkyStraight, $189, a straightener that uses infrared heat. 

Silk'n SilkyStraight
Silk’n SilkyStraight

“Basically what it [infrared] is doing is heating the inside of the hair, while the titanium is heating the outside. This allows the hair to straighten faster, and creates less damage,” said Silk’n president Sandra Cockburn. “By implementing the infrared, the titanium plates don’t need to be as hot, therefore less damage to your hair.”

Bondi Boost, which was acquired by Gauge Capital in 2022, is also using infrared in its latest launch: Infrared Bounce Brush, $98, a heated round brush used on dry hair that provides a blowout look. 

Bondi Boost Infrared Bounce Brush
Bondi Boost Infrared Bounce Brush

According to the brand, infrared heat locks in moisture in the hair, which can leave styles looking shinier and less frizzy. 

“We mainly designed it for customer convenience [with] hair health as the main priority,” said Angelina James, a representative for BondiBoost. “Its main purpose is for refreshing dry styles and creating smooth, bouncy shiny blowouts.”

She added: “We clinically tested it to prove that it causes no additional heat damage to hair compared to air drying.…It locks in moisture as it styles so your hair is smoother and less damaged.”

L’Oréal has also bet on the tech with its AirLight Pro, a hair dryer that combines infrared and high-speed air flow that was developed in partnership with Zuvi, a beauty hardware start-up.

The AirLight Pro, which was unveiled at CES this year, touts a slew of benefits, including a 30 percent faster drying time, 59 percent smoother hair and 30 percent less energy used in comparison to typical hair dryers. The product also received an innovation award at CES.

“The way that [hair dryers] have produced heat to dry the hair has been basically the same for 100 years and it’s been based on what we call thermal coils,” said Guive Balooch, global managing director of augmented beauty and open innovation at L’Oréal. “These are like what you would see in your toaster oven where it turns orange where the coils get really hot.”

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L’Oréal AirLight Pro

According to Balooch, the AirLight Pro takes inspiration from nature for its drying technique.

“When you look at nature…it’s a combination of the sun and winds that dry rainfall really quickly. The technology behind [this] it’s actually a halogen infrared type of light…surrounding the air,” he said.

With this new innovation, the team is eyeing future opportunities.

“There is a lot of potential when it comes to the combination of light and potentially other factors in devices,” Balooch said. “Our first obsession is the hairdryer because three in four people in the world have a hairdryer at home.”

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