Melissa Juried Kriebel
The beauty industry keeps pumping out more new products than any one person can handle. Keeping track of all those releases is a full-time job in and of itself (take it from us).
The beauty market is only growing(Opens in a new window) by the year, and while there is something special about a shiny new release — especially one that gets plastered all over TikTok — if you have any regard for your wallet whatsoever, buying everything that hits the market is simply not sustainable. That’s especially true when it comes to higher-priced items, like beauty tech gadgets.
Whereas you may feel more on even footing when it comes to what foundation or moisturizer you’re a fan of, beauty tech products are still relatively new on the scene, which means it’s a bit harder to know whether it’s truly worth dropping a couple hundred bucks on that LED light therapy mask that claims it’ll give you the best skin of your life.
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Luckily, you don’t have to gamble too much, since we test quite a bit of beauty tech, from the up-and-coming to the internet-famous. With experience on our side, we’ve rounded up the best of the best from the beauty tech world, so you can skip the gimmicks and spend money on products that’ll actually work.
What exactly is beauty tech?
There are a few definitions floating around out there, but for our purposes, beauty tech is any skincare, makeup, hair, and wellness tech device. In other words, the gadgets.
Beauty is a pretty expansive category, so there are different kinds of tools you’ll find under the larger beauty tech umbrella, including:
Skincare: This is maybe the buzziest of the beauty tech sub-categories, offering more and more at-home skincare solutions in the form of microcurrent devices and LED light therapy treatments with products like the NuFACE(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) and the Dr. Dennis Gross mask(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (yes, the one that looks like a yassified Michael Meyers mask). You’ll notice that a common theme in this category is that price tags tend to be in the hundreds of dollars.
Haircare: This can include your standard curling irons, hair straighteners, and blow dryers, but is increasingly including more innovative tools, like the hot air brushes and of course, even more versatile hot air stylers like the Dyson Airwrap.
Cosmetics: This is still a burgeoning field, but you’ll find anything from heated eyelash curlers to custom lipstick shade makers and 3D printers — even those TikTok filters that tell you how to apply your makeup can fall under this category. These products, though inventive, don’t exactly fit seamlessly into most people’s daily routines, thanks to their loftier prices, general availability, and the simple fact that they don’t drastically improve on existing products — like a normal eyelash curler or lipstick — that do the job just fine and for less cash.
In this roundup, we focus on skincare and haircare, and we only included our very favorite products. We’re always testing the latest tech though, so be on the lookout for more beauty standouts in the future.
Why should I buy beauty tech products?
We’ll be straight up — not everyone is going to find that buying into these products is worth the investment. If you clicked on this article though, we’re assuming you’re at least curious about what beauty tech offers that a more traditional skincare or haircare routine might not.
Typically, skincare or hair tech can help elevate your routine. LED light therapy isn’t essential for clearing acne, but it certainly help the process along in conjunction with a well-rounded and dutiful skincare routine. Similarly, nothing too high tech is needed to achieve bouncy blowouts, but hot air tools can get you those results with slightly less effort and damage done to your hair.
All in all, these items do fall more on the luxury end of things, but you can also think of it in terms of the services they’re meant to replace. Sure, you might not need to spend $50 or more on a hot air brush, but if you’d take at least a few trips to Drybar in a year, you’re easily spending $200 on just a few blowouts you could achieve from the comfort of your home, for a lower cost over time.
Similarly, a single trip to the aesthetician or dermatologist can easily run you in the hundreds, so investing in a light therapy wand like the $149 SolaWave wand(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) might be more worth the cost.
Picking the best beauty tech for you
At the end of the day, a beauty regimen is a highly personalized process. Before buying any beauty tech, you’ll want to seriously weigh what your skin and haircare needs are, and how these products address those needs.
It’s also worth noting that while there can be a consensus on whether a product is overall working or not, it’s not uncommon to see varied results. While we have chosen products we think most people will enjoy, you can also scroll to the bottom of this article to see the specific hair and skin profiles of the people who tested these products.