It's not surprising to learn that the foundation of the beauty industry is built upon science; be it mixing two chemicals to create a beauty product back in the 80s or rejuvenating your skin with technology in the present time, the beauty industry has unquestionably come a long way.
Despite increasing competition, new consumer patterns around wellness and wellbeing and science and technology innovations, the beauty industry has become one of the most forward-thinking industries. Although beauty sales are booming online, the in-store brands have the benefit of providing a more enriching as well as personalized experience. Let's look at some of the new gadgets and gizmos that will enhance your beauty experience.
1. Wearable Skincare Technology
In the fashion and fitness market, wearable technology is the new 'IT' product. In 2018, La Roche-Posay launched the French beauty brand L'Oréal's My Skin Monitor UV sensor clips that monitor an individual’s level of UV exposure. These sensor clips can be clipped to garments or bags and are designed to make people aware of UV radiation exposure and to persuade them to use precautionary measures such as sunscreen regularly. For acquiring and transmitting photon data via an app to the user's phone, the device uses a combination of LED technology and a near-field communication antenna.
UV sensor clip is the product of the tech incubator project that was set up eight years ago by L'Oreal. My UV Patch, a sticker for UV exposure monitoring, was launched in 2016. This was improved in 2017 with the release of button-sized skin sensors called ' UV Sense' which allow users to glue it on to their fingers.
2. Skin Scanning Devices
This technology provides skin diagnostics via portable scanners that check facial skin at home without having to consult a dermatologist. For example, take the Neutrogena Skin360 App and Skin Scanner tool. With the aid of a phone camera, the app offers a close-up view of the skin which normally only dermatologists have access to. When installed on the phone, it replicates a scientific laboratory's monitored environment and scans the pores, the skin’s hydration and fine lines appearance. In addition to personalized skincare tips, consumers can view the magnified images on their phones. For providing personalized skincare solutions and monitoring progress, each test and its results are stored in the app.
Wayskin, a skin analyzer from Korea, works in a similar way as well.
3. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality was embraced by Sephora, Estee Lauder and L'Oreal as a booming trend in 2017. Before buying products or changing their looks, the technology has allowed shoppers to try different looks digitally. This covers everything from trying on make-up, pre-testing haircuts, trying on shades and textures to even checking eyebrow styles before plucking or waxing (as done by Benefit Cosmetics).The software also helps retailers collect a wealth of customer data so that they can send appointment reminders, suggest new items or offer tailor-made beauty tips.
Beauty brands are now investing in AI-powered messaging bots to communicate with their customers 24/7 to provide personalized product recommendations and tips.
Tech infused mirrors also reflect the real power of technology by assessing skin conditions such as wrinkles, swelling, blemishes, uneven skin tone, dark circles, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. It helps the beauty industry evolve and offer personalized skincare programs for their clients.
4. Virtual Reality
In-store experiences in virtual reality allow buyers to be transported to an entirely new world. For example, NYX Professional Makeup used the technology to bring customers closer to their brand ambassadors by offering digital makeup tutorials through a VR headset led by top beauty vloggers. Consumers use a controller to pick items they want to learn more about and would also receive an exclusive offer to purchase at a special price the products included in the tutorial.
Vaqso, based in Japan, has developed a system that connects to a VR headset and emits scents relevant to the VR content, creating a VR experience that is almost entirely sensory. In the future, you will definitely see technology being used to improve the process of choosing fragrances.
5. Personalization and AI
Most female shoppers lament on the fact that they are unable to find the right foundation shade for their face and those with darker skin tones are often left disappointed for having less than two options to choose from when it comes to foundations. It is, however, impractical to put thousands of shades on shop shelves.
L'Oreal subsidiary brand Lancome created Le Teint Particulier, a custom-made foundation device that claims to find the "exact match" for your skin using artificial intelligence. It's available in the UK at Selfridges and Harrods.
Lancome consultants first use a handheld colorimeter (a form of an electronic scanner) to test the facial skin tone. Thereafter, the findings are run through a machine that uses a proprietary algorithm to choose from 20,000 different shades. Eventually, the results of the device are sent on the spot to a system that mixes the base for you.
The demand for tailor-made cosmetics is steadily growing. Consumers relish the idea of personalizing a beauty product specifically for them, which gives better results. However, the high price of tailored cosmetics certainly prohibits them from being accessible to everyone. It gives the impression that you must be wealthy to be able to afford personalized cosmetics.
Olay has also created a 'Future You Simulator ' feature that takes a high-resolution face picture and shows you what you're going to look like in 20 years. To create the simulation, Olay took high-resolution images from five different ethnicities of 1,250 women between the ages of 10 and 80.
The beauty industry is often seen in this world as a place that celebrates one-dimensional beauty. And this is not a wrong assumption. The ideals for beauty are biased towards a specific skin tone or body shape that reflects the non-inclusive practices of the industry. But by prioritizing personalization, the software breaks these barriers by engaging users in the process of design and product development. Technology has allowed beauty brands to engage with end-users, learn their preferences, explore new components and expand their range of products to meet these standards. Looking at the pace at which the beauty tech industry is advancing, people will see more technologies emerging and being put into practice by the end of 2019.