What is a ‘smart’ curling iron?

A composite image of Beauty, Hacked host Jennimai trying a smart curling iron.

These days, smart beauty tech is all the rage. You can convince anybody that your technology is super advanced just by slapping the word “smart” in front of it — so we set out to figure out what it actually means to use smart tech, particularly in the beauty realm.

The T3 Curl ID curling iron is one of these smart beauty devices. It’s a curling iron that uses a unique “HeatID” technology to diagnose your hair’s specific needs when it comes to heat level. Users input personal details like hair texture, color treatment history, and chemical treatment history to help the device determine an optimal heat level from nine options before using the curler to style their hair. Once you input this data, the iron will heat up to a specific heat setting, and then the curling experience should be pretty familiar.

Bottom half of a white curling iron with rose gold accents being held.

The lit up icons serve as the buttons to input your hair data.
Credit: T3Micro

In trying to find out if smart hair tech is actually useful, we need to zoom out on what smart tech actually is. The term “smart” is a little hard to pin down. Most people think of smart tech as something you can control via voice commands or Bluetooth, like an Amazon Alexa device or a Google Nest thermostat. These are smart devices, but are more specifically smart-connected devices — they’re connected to a network that allows users to communicate with them from a distance.

To be simply “smart,” devices need only to have “some automation and can be easily programmed through an intuitive user interface,” according to Petra’s blog. In the case of the T3 Curl ID, there’s no connectivity. But what makes it smart is the user interface, which includes a mildly intuitive touch button setup that then automates the heat setting used for styling.

So yes, it seems that this curling iron meets the criteria to be smart, and by automating the heat setting, it could potentially make healthier heat styling much more attainable for its users. But does it actually work? Is it hard to figure out? What do your curls actually end up looking like when you use the automated heat settings? Tune in to this episode of Beauty, Hacked to find out as Jennimai tests out the T3 Curl ID and compares it to her regular ol’ curler (that she may or may not have had since middle school.)

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