L’Oréal unveils smart Water Saver hair care system at CES 2021: ‘Every drop of water is precious’, says exec

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

The L'Oréal Water Saver system is already available in select NY salons, with a Paris and global salon rollout primed for this year and next; the at-home variant will launch at a later date (Image: L'Oréal)
The L'Oréal Water Saver system is already available in select NY salons, with a Paris and global salon rollout primed for this year and next; the at-home variant will launch at a later date (Image: L'Oréal)

Related tags: L'oréal, beauty 4.0, beauty tech, Hair care, salons, Water, Sustainability, Environment, Innovation

International beauty major L’Oréal has co-developed a smart hair care system with Swiss environmental innovation company Gjosa that blends and distributes product in a way that ensures water savings of up to 80%.

The L’Oréal Water Saver system was unveiled last week at the Consumer Technology Association (CES) 2021 tradeshow – held online this year due to COVID-19 – and was already available in select L’Oréal salons in New York, USA. The system would be made available in select salons across Paris, France, from next month, with a global rollout planned across the rest of this year and 2022.

A “convenient”​ at-home device variant for consumers was primed to launch at a later date, L’Oréal said.

Sustainable hair care – blending cutting-edge water and beauty tech

The system, already available for salons, worked by blending specially designed hair care formulas from L'Oréal Professionnel and Kérastase – shampoos, conditioners and treatments – directly into a micronized water stream for a patented ‘cloud foam’ with smaller droplets for better absorption and faster rinsing.

Up to three different hair care formulas could be blended into the water stream via the system for direct distribution through a type of shower head that maintained good pressure but used two litres of water per minute versus the household standard of eight per minute.

Salon owners could then track water, energy and product consumption and look at overall cost savings in a digital dashboard linked to the hair care system.

Designs for the at-home device, not yet launched, resembled a smart shower head that could be connected to a consumer’s mobile phone and app to track overall water use and savings.

‘Clean hair, clean planet’ – the next phase of L’Oréal’s tech ambition

“The system represents a new way to wash and care for your hair: one that saves water while improving upon luxury and efficiency through advanced technology,”​ L’Oréal said. The strapline for the tech was: ‘clean hair, clean planet’.

The L'Oréal Water Saver system could be integrated into hair salons worldwide for considerable water use savings (Getty Images)
The L'Oréal Water Saver system could be integrated into hair salons worldwide for considerable water use savings (Getty Images)

Nicolas Hieronimus, deputy CEO of L’Oréal Group, said it was the beauty major’s responsibility to do its part to “preserve the earth’s natural resources”.

The L’Oréal Water Saver, Hieronimus said, represented the “next phase”​ of the company’s beauty tech ambition – “one that delivers an exceptional personalised beauty experience while embodying our commitment to sustainability in every aspect of our business”.

“…Every drop of water is precious, and our new technology makes every drop of water count,”​ he said.

Guive Balooch, head of L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator – the team behind the co-developed Water Saver system – previously outlined sustainability as one of three innovation pillars the company held in sharp focus​ when designing new products and devices, alongside inclusivity and personalisation.

Amin Abdulla, co-founder of Gjosa, said: “L’Oréal Water Saver is the result of an exemplary exclusive partnership, which joints a century-long legacy of innovation in hair care with cutting edge technology. It represents a new type of sustainable experience for consumers, and one we look forward to seeing activated around the world.”

Water use – beauty’s next step in a sustainable future?

In June 2020, L’Oréal unveiled its ‘For the Future’ 2030 sustainability report​ which outlined a series of commitments it would prioritise in the coming decade. Within this, the beauty major pledged to empower consumers to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by providing faster rinse-off formulations for quicker showers and engaging in extensive consumer outreach.

Influencing consumer product-use of beauty products is certainly on the agenda for big beauty brands in the coming decade (Getty Images)
Influencing consumer product-use of beauty products is certainly on the agenda for big beauty brands in the coming decade (Getty Images)

L’Oréal also planned to lean on its environmental and social impact labelling system to sway consumer trends, developed and launched under its Garnier hair care brand in France last year.​ The labelling system enabled consumers to quickly ascertain the environmental and social footprint of each product and would rollout in the UK, Germany and USA this year.

Chris Sherwin, sustainable design expert and director of reboot innovation, previously told CosmeticsDesign-Europe that L’Oréal’s goal to influence the use-phase of its beauty products was “advanced and ambitious stuff”​ ​but was a direction beauty brands had to go in over the next decade.

This was a sentiment echoed by Dave McCaughan, founder and storyteller at Bibliosexual, who had long talked about water as one of the biggest issues facing cosmetics companies​, worldwide.

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