Tech startup set to disrupt Germany's hair industry

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

Using the new technology, hairdressers will be able to give highly personalised feedback on the state of the hair health and scalp to provide the best solutions (Image: Getty)
Using the new technology, hairdressers will be able to give highly personalised feedback on the state of the hair health and scalp to provide the best solutions (Image: Getty)

Related tags Hair AI

Berlin-based startup Iqonic.AI has today launched live AI hair analysis in partnership with the German professional hair colour and care brand Shyne. We spoke to the company’s founder about what this could mean for the future of hair care…

The Iqonic.AI technology will analyse customers' hair digitally via smartphone or iPad and give personalised recommendations for colour, styling, and care.

The new platform can support hairdressers with data-driven insights that are useful for consulting and help them better advise customers on suitable hair care products.

In addition to giving detailed hair analysis, the technology also measures hair density and problems such as hair loss – allowing hairdressers to extend beyond cutting and colouring to also advise customers on scalp and health issues.

By using images in conjunction with AI, hair salons will be able to link the right products with the right users – potentially resulting in larger shopping baskets and increased customer loyalty.

Developing algorithms with dermatologists

Founder of Iqonic.AI, Maria-Liisa Bruckert, said the company started work on this technology in 2021 and released its first skin analysis algorithm at the end of that year.

“It is a process that takes time because we only release algorithms that are diversely trained and have a high degree of accuracy,” she explained.

“We develop and validate our algorithms with expert dermatologists. Over time, we have continued to develop our AI and release additional modules. At the beginning of this year, we finally turned our attention to the hair market, as this is also a dermatological topic.” 

For Bruckert, one of the biggest challenges so far has been market readiness.

“Sure, AI is hyped, but it's still very new in application for many of our customers and a lot of education is still needed in the sales process,” she shared.

To combat this, Iqonic.AI has supported its customers beyond just providing services and links. “Together we look at the individual use case: Where and how should AI be used?” she explained.

“Depending on the use case, the tool can bring different benefits to brands and retailers. For example, it can be used in marketing for user acquisition, in the store as a sales tool, and much more.” 

She continued: “In the salon as a point of sale, marketing and sales can be significantly boosted with the in-store tool – the new way of advisory.”

“Brands and retailers that use the tool primarily online can offer digital advice that would otherwise be provided by a specialist in the store. This allows for a scalable online advice option – completely changing the way customers are searched, approached, and converted,” she said.

Going forward, Iqonic.AI is now set on conquering the German hair market and then expanding overseas.

Focus on “highly emotional” topic of hair loss

“Hair structures are very individual, sometimes depending on the market due to different ethnic influences. This makes the global application of our technology particularly exciting,” said Bruckert.

She explained that the company also plans to put a focus on the “highly emotional” topic of hair loss, which has been an increased focus for R&D experts at hair care brands in recent years. 

“Around 40% of people worldwide will experience some form of hair loss in their lifetime,” she shared.

“We can help provide relief on a broad front. The synergy between skin and hair is likely to open new areas, as well. Both provide information on many other aspects of health – in addition to dermatology – which we want to address from here, too.”

The startup is now working in partnership with the professional hair care brand Shyne, as it pioneers the new AI services in salons.

CEO of Shyne Richard Fähnle noted that from his perspective this tech will help the hair care and colour business further personalise its services as it: “enables us to make even more precise product recommendations.”

“We can precisely define their hair condition and therefore recommend the right hair colour and care,” he stated, and added that there is an "advantage for both sides in the shopping experience" and that the tech "can take customer satisfaction to the next level."

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