L’Oréal’s New Infrared-Light Hair Dryer Will Change Your Styling Routine

It may have just started, but we’ve already seen one of the most innovative beauty tools of the year. At CES 2024 last month in Las Vegas, L’Oréal—the first beauty brand ever selected as a keynote speaker at the annual consumer electronics trade show—unveiled the AirLight Pro infrared hair dryer.

Rather than traditional heated air, the AirLight Pro uses infrared light—which can generate heat similar to the sun’s rays—and airflow to blow-dry hair. And if this sounds a bit like the Zuvi Halo hair dryer, that’s because L’Oréal teamed up with the technology brand to design the AirLight Pro.

“Zuvi brought their understanding of light, wind, and beautifully engineered tools to the table,” Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oréal’s technology incubator, tells Bazaar. “We brought our network of stylists and hair knowledge to create a product that can not only be used in salons, but one that consumers can also use at home on any hair type.”

Traditional hair dryers that use heated air actually pull moisture from the hair, which can result in damage. But if you swap hot air for infrared light (the same heat in the infrared sauna at your local gym or spa), the hair fibers don’t get too hot and will retain their internal moisture. The result: 33 percent shinier hair that is almost 60 percent smoother. Combined with airflow, infrared dries the hair more efficiently. Balooch compared the drying process to a sunny and windy day after a rainstorm: “A just windy day won’t dry the sidewalks after rain, but the combination of the sun’s rays and the wind will dry [the sidewalks] faster and more efficiently.”

Besides taking the guesswork out of styling hair, the AirLight Pro also uses 30 percent less energy. “Our thought was: How do we take this from being an energy-efficient hair dryer to the best hair dryer that you could possibly buy?” Balooch says.

Along with the dryer come two attachments: a diffuser and a concentrator nozzle. When you snap on one of them magnetically, the dryer recognizes the attachment and automatically adjusts its speed and heat. (A sleek style requires more heat, while diffusing curls can be done at a lower temperature.) The dryer even has a scalp mode, which reduces the heat so you can get close to the root and scalp without causing damage.

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Photo courtesy of Katie Intner

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Photo courtesy of Katie Intner

L’Oréal and Zuvi also created an app to control settings like temperature and speed, which also lets you create personalized profiles for multiple users, depending on hair type and desired look. The personalization modes can help sustain a blowout, Balooch explains, as the true heat the AirLight Pro avoids using is often required for hairstyles to set with long-lasting results.

This isn’t the first time L’Oréal has partnered with another brand to advance its technology. At CES in 2021, the cosmetics giant presented the Water Saver—a professional faucet for salons that reduces the size of the water droplets it dispenses, and in turn the amount of water used by 80 percent—with the help of Swiss technology company Gjosa. Other innovations L’Oréal has created in-house, like the Colorsonic, an electric hairbrush that dispenses dye to make at-home coloring as easy as brushing your hair; it launches early this year. Then there’s the TikTok-viral YSL Beauty Rouge Sur Mesure, a 3-D printer designed by L’Oréal that custom-makes lipstick. (It won a Harper’s Bazaar Beauty Icon Award in 2023.)

The AirLight Pro will be available in salons and for purchase in September 2024, and will retail for under $400. While that is a ways off, our sneak peek at the innovative hair dryer confirmed it’ll be well worth the wait.