In the last ten years, we have seen the advent of the smart phones. Keyboards and monitors bow to the popularity of touch screen tablets, and there is even tech called teledildonics (look it up; NSFW). With a greater understanding of the chemistry of hair and with new resources available to us, our industry released Brazilian blowouts, olaplex, and ergonomically designed tools. Blow dryers are lighter, more powerful, and quieter, and advances in LED lighting let us imitate natural sunlight to better showcase a guest’s new color.
Connectivity is possible in a way that has never been seen before. We have access to amazing education and the educators themselves through social media and web platforms, from Hairbrained to Behind the Chair to the Trichology Project. We truly are a world community if we open the doors and participate.
Let’s take it one step further.
Imagine a world where styles are no longer dictated by the keratin strands growing out of our noggins, but by technology? You might have seen an example in Total Recall: the secretary who changed her nail polish color at the touch of a pen. Kate Moss once appeared in an Alexander McQueen show as a hologram that was so perfect people in the audience swear she was actually there (Fall Collection 2006). In the film Surrogates, going to the beauty shop is akin to going to the mechanic for a new paint job.
Wearable technology has infiltrated the world of fashion. Headphones are built into hats and headbands for hands-free access to athletes. Wearable technology has its own conferences, similar to Fashion Week, but with much more Wi-Fi access. Intelligent clothing is the seamless combination of fabric and tech, like e-textiles. Cute Circuit is an Italy-based fashion house that focuses on wearable tech and has been featured for almost ten years as being on the cutting edge of fashion technology.
But clothing is man-made and we grow our hair. What could technology do for the beauty industry?
3-D printing is the art of taking a virtual design and printing the object out, layer by layer into a seamless finished form. It has been used to create garments; it could be used to create tools for hairdressers that break outside the box of conventionality. There is a pair of scissors available with a laser pointer on it for accurate measurement of paper or fabric. That technology could easily integrate into the salon world. What if we could project the exact angles and direction of a haircut around a guest’s hair? Innovation and technique could be programmed and shared worldwide. What if, and this is crazy talk, there was a magenta hair color that didn’t fade?
Technology also isn’t necessarily oriented around computers in the beauty industry. Product manufacturing and ethical sourcing, continually developing products to be better, safer, and more environmentally responsible is also a form of 21st century technology. Ten years ago, lightening powder wasn’t dust-free, and the particles were inhaled by stylists causing health issues. Our industry continued to develop a safer product for colorists.
The genre of Sci-Fi is not always about outer space and blue aliens; it literally means science that is not real…yet. Amazing things have been created based on imagined technologies in books and TV shows: Cell phones, flat-screen TVs, Skype and FaceTime, cars that drive themselves. All of these were imagined before they became reality. It is our responsibility as the hairdressers of tomorrow to imagine, create, and share our science fictions.