L’Oréal tech exec discusses 2024 CES award winner: AirLight Pro

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

“The story behind AirLight Pro is that for the last 100 years when you dry your hair, you use convection heating…this is how hairdryers have been built forever, until this new product,” said Guive Balooch, Global President of Augmented Beauty and Open Innovation of L’Oréal. © PeopleImages Getty Images
“The story behind AirLight Pro is that for the last 100 years when you dry your hair, you use convection heating…this is how hairdryers have been built forever, until this new product,” said Guive Balooch, Global President of Augmented Beauty and Open Innovation of L’Oréal. © PeopleImages Getty Images

Related tags L'oréal Hair care hair tools Innovation CES

Utilizing ‘cutting edge industrial design,’ the AirLight pro hair drying tool features ‘breakthrough technology’ including infrared light to reduce energy consumption and improve hair smoothness and hydration.

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, L’Oréal Groupe CEO Nicolas Hieronimus announced the launch of the company’s latest innovation in the hair care space and CES 2024 Innovation Award-Winning Technology: the AirLight Pro hair drying tool.

Designed in partnership with hardware startup Zuvi, the device features the application of Zuvi’s patented “LightCare technology to a blow-dryer” to create “a first-generation product that uses infrared light and high-speed wind to efficiently dry water on the hair surface, which leaves internal moisture in hair strands,” as detailed in L’Oréal’s press release.

Following the CES announcement, “AirLight Pro will be launched in select markets such as the United States and Europe by its salon professional brand, L’Oréal Professionnel, in 2024 to both beauty professionals and consumers,” the release confirmed.

To learn more about the AirLight Pro, including the R&D process behind the launch, Zuvi’s role in the device’s design and production, and the potential impact of the technology’s innovation on the hair care tool space, CosmeticsDesign interviewed Guive Balooch, Global President of Augmented Beauty and Open Innovation of L’Oréal for her insights. Balooch has been with L’Oréal for seventeen years and started the L’Oréal Technology Incubator about twelve years ago, which has since grown and been incorporated into the company’s Augmented Beauty Division.

CDU: Can you explain in the concept, R&D, and launch process for the AirLight Pro?

Guive Balooch (GB)​: The story behind AirLight Pro is that for the last 100 years when you dry your hair, you use convection heating – these rods that turn orange that get really hot and push the air out of the hair dryer; a lot of heat is dissipated and wasted in the air because you need to generate enough heat that’s hot enough, but it’s not good for your hair. This is how hairdryers have been built forever, until this new product.

AirLight Pro is a collaboration between L’Oréal and Zuvi, a hardware startup company established by drone engineers and leading scientists. It is a breakthrough hair dryer that eliminates damage while delivering exceptional performance.  

When developing AirLight Pro for haircare professionals, our team understood that besides caring for hair and offering superior professional performance for all hair types, we can significantly reduce energy consumption at the same time. 

A team of over 100 engineers, designers, hairdressers, and scientists across both companies contributed to AirLight Pro, creating a cutting-edge, professional-grade hair drying tool that breaks through barriers of performance. The AirLight Pro was tested by L’Oréal on more than 500 people across multiple hair types.

This product will be launched by salon professional brand, L’Oréal Professionnel, in European salons this spring/summer, then U.S. salons, then to U.S. and European consumers by the end of the year, with a global rollout to follow by 2025. AirLight Pro is both a paradigm shift in hair drying innovation and a breakthrough for the environment.

CDU: Can you share some information about Zuvi and its role in the product’s development?

GB​: At L’Oréal, we have deep scientific and industry expertise in haircare from the cellular level to the fiber for every hair type (curly, straight, and coily). Zuvi is the perfect complement to our work because they bring the engineering expertise.  

Together, we’re able to develop and deliver a next-generation hair drying tool for beauty professionals and consumers that focuses on caring for the hair through breakthrough technology. L’Oréal and Zuvi developed a first-generation product that uses infrared light and high-speed wind to efficiently dry water on the hair surface, which leaves internal moisture in hair strands.

We believe in the partnership so much that L’Oréal also made a minority investment in Zuvi through our corporate venture fund, BOLD Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development.

CDU: How does the AirLight Pro differ from similar products currently available for consumers today?

GB​: AirLight Pro marks a breakthrough professional-grade hair dryer that uses a combination of infrared-light technology and wind to care for the hair that delivers up to 33% more hydrated hair, up to 59% visually smoother hair, faster drying times, and an enhanced user experience based on feedback from leading professional stylists. It is also able to deliver up to 31% less energy consumption.  

Unlike conventional heating hair dryers, AirLight Pro is equipped with a special, high-speed motor and patented infrared technology designed for fast hair drying without excessive heat. By efficiently drying water on the hair surface, hair is left with internal moisture in the strand resulting in smooth, shiny hair. 

On top of caring for hair and the planet, we made this device smart—it has a connected app that automatically recognizes attachments and optimizes settings, accordingly, allowing for greater customization.

CDU: What is the potential impact of the AirLight Pro launch on cosmetics and personal care product manufacturers and suppliers?

GB​: The hair drying experience has been largely the same for over 100 years. We’re always looking to solve longstanding professional and consumer challenges and we are focused on this opportunity to reinvent hair drying and make it one that cares for hair and the planet.

CDU: Under what criteria did the device receive CES 2024 Innovation Award?

GB​: The AirLight Pro is an honoree for the CES 2024 Innovation Award in the Digital Health category. The program recognizes honorees among consumer technology product categories and selects the highest rated in each. The judges of this award include consumer technology industry designers, engineers, and members of the media. 

CDU: Does L’Oreal have any plans for further innovation and development in the hair care tech space?

GB​: The L’Oréal Research and Innovation team is always looking at what’s next and is eager to continue the development of beauty tech in the haircare space.

As a scientific and industry expertise in haircare, L’Oréal has continued to stand out with cutting-edge haircare technology. In the last several years L’Oréal has unveiled other haircare innovations at CES including the L’Oréal Water Saver by L’Oréal Professionnel and Gjosa​ and Colorsonic by L’Oréal Paris.

We are already looking forward to what’s next at CES 2025.                                                                                               

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