The beauty industry is one of the biggest industries in the world. It continues to grow and evolve, mirroring the latest trends in the beauty world. In fact, according to a 2016 report published by Lucintel, the (skincare) industry is expected to exponentially grow in value by four per cent by the year 2021.
This is due to the continued beauty trends that boomed in 2018. In a 2019 article by Schwartz Natural Cosmetics, skincare is taking centre stage in the beauty industry. This trend in skincare gave rise to the popularity of natural and clean products such as Korean beauty brands as well as their meticulous beauty regimen.
Proportional to that trend, a 2018 Forbes article identified major beauty trends that a lot of cosmetic companies are taking advantage of, such as the growing demand for natural ingredients in cosmetic products, and the customisation and personalisation trend.
That said, customisation and personalisation in the beauty industry is a new form of luxury. Cosmetics brands see these beauty trends as an avenue to marry the beauty industry and technological innovations to give a more luxe consumer experience.
Here are four technologies that mirror the trends in the beauty industry.
Le Teint Particulier
A video of Lancôme’s Le Teint Particulier from Youtube
First in our list of amazing innovations that are shaking up the beauty industry is Lancôme’s Le Teint Particulier, which means ‘the particular complexion’ in English.
Le Teint Particulier is a custom-made foundation. This distinct beauty trend highlights the importance of personalisation and tackles the universal struggle people have when finding their perfect foundation shade—and it’s able to do so with the help of technology. Here’s how it works:
First, the Lancôme Colour Expert―a handheld colourimeter―scans your face at three specific points: forehead, cheek, and jawline or neck. Afterwards, the device analyses the scanned data to measure their exact shade.
Second, an attendant asks you a series of questions regarding your skin type, your desired coverage level and your preferred shade―you can go a shade lighter or darker based on the colour measured by the Lancôme Colour Expert.
Third, the data from the Lancôme Colour Expert and your preferences are inputted into a computer that uses a proprietary algorithm to choose, measure, and mix cream pigments to create your unique shade. To put it simply, you watch as your personalised foundation is made on-site.
Last, and certainly not the least, an attendant labels your custom-made foundation with your name and complexion ID so you can easily purchase a refill of your personalised Lancôme foundation.
Having an everyday beauty item that is tailored to fit your unique shade is not only a luxury but also immensely convenient. However, as of this writing, Lancôme ’s Le Teint Particulier is available in select stores in some states of the U.S.A. only.
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A video of Sephora's Virtual Artist from Youtube
Second in our list of tech trends in the innovation of not only the beauty industry but also the overall consumer experience with a step towards augmented reality (AR).
As consumers, it has been the norm and simple common sense to check if certain products fit our preferences. For makeup, this can be done through the simple act of ‘swatching’, or to sample makeup by applying it on our skin. The application of augmented reality innovated this norm and helped discerning consumers to try cosmetic products with the convenience of their smartphones.
Though a bit late to the AR filters trend, makeup retailing giant Sephora recognised the power of this technology in the future of consumer experience and how it will shape people’s shopping habits.
That said, in 2016, Sephora launched Virtual Artist in partnership with Modiface, a company that is known for creating custom augmented reality beauty apps for well-known companies such as Estée Lauder and L’Oreal.
The Virtual Artist lets you try on actual makeup products from your favourite eyeshadow palettes to try on lip shades of bold reds or classy nudes.
One of the features of Virtual Artist even offers a step-by-step makeup guide by overlaying the virtual tutorial on your face. It shows you how to do your makeup, such as how to contour, where to apply the highlighter according to your face shape, and how to create a winged eyeliner.
A video of HiMirror from Youtube
Now it wouldn’t be called the beauty industry if technology didn't delve into innovating how we take care of our skin.
Launched in 2016 by the Taiwan-based electronics manufacturing company New Kinpo Group, HiMirror is a smart mirror that is essentially your own personal beauty consultant.
This beauty tech mirrors two recent beauty trends in cosmetics wherein people are investing more in their skin and in at-home facial tools that help them to effectively take care of their skin.
How this smart mirror works is easy. HiMirror scans your face and tells you your skin problems. It rates each part of your skin on a scale of 100, with 100 being the highest, and shows your skin’s problem areas, such as wrinkles, redness, dark spots, pores, fine lines, and the skin’s brightness.
HiMirror has an integrated artificially intelligent (AI) system that offers daily skin analysis for you to track your progress. It also has augmented reality features that help users to virtually try on makeup.
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A video of Neutrogena Skin360 from Youtube
Another innovation that is making waves in the beauty industry might not be something for the faint of heart. This next beauty technology is much like HiMirror; it’s also like a beauty consultant, but it’s handheld and thirty times closer than what we’re comfortable with.
Launched in the summer of 2018, Neutrogena—an American cosmetics subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson—launched a hardware product called the SkinScanner with a corresponding smartphone application called the Skin360.
Neutrogena’s Skin360 works by attaching the SkinScanner on your iPhone and then syncing it. Just download and launch the Skin360 mobile application and you’re ready to use it on your skin.
To get the best and most accurate results, always start with clean skin. Then hold the SkinScanner to certain points of your face, specifically: your forehead, eyes, cheeks and chin.
The SkinScanner is zoomed-in thirty times closer. It magnifies, measures, and analyses your skin’s condition such as pores, fine lines, and moisture levels. It also shows your own Skin Score via the Skin360 app.
Based on your Skin Score, the app offers you custom advice on how to take care of your skin and a personalised skin regimen that you can easily follow. The app even encourages you to track your progress weekly so you can see the results of your efforts.
The beauty industry is one of the oldest industries in the world, and it is closely linked to our culture and cultural identity. Archaeological evidence, such as the surviving murals found in Egyptian tombs that depict their way of life, show that women wore makeup to impress their gods.
In a similar vein, technology is also closely related to human innovation that led to the rise and fall of civilisations.
Famous examples would be the speed of innovation during times of war as seen throughout our human history: the creation of flint weapons that led to the birth of swords, daggers and arrows, or even how a simple chocolate disaster led Percy Spencer to invent a household staple, the microwave.
Today, the tech trends that are shaping the beauty industry are evidence that a marriage of these two industries is a natural step as people’s lives become more convenient and closely integrated into technology. It’s also a clear indication of how technology is an augmentation that meets our needs and demands as we become more discerning consumers.
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