Beauty tech, digital cosmetics is personalized and reinvents experiential retail

Technology News

The coronavirus has affected all areas of daily life and cosmetics was not going to be less. Safety and hygiene measures make it difficult for consumers to test products and the increase in the time that potential customers spend in their homes has catapulted the option of digital testing of the same through augmented reality (VR) and the application of artificial intelligence (AI ) to processes.

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The closure of millions of beauty product outlets and the inability to connect, in person, with the consumer, has forced retailers to implement disruptive initiatives , in an attempt to (at least) have a positive impact in the brand image, beyond the rebound in sales. For example, Wildbytes , an experiential innovation startup, has carried out a beauty festival supported by a powerful technological development for Dior’s Dior Backstage makeup range , which brought together 10,000 people from 59 countries and has led to an increase in sales of 633 %.

“Before the emergence of Covid-19, there were flagship stores that already offered customers a point of sale that is no longer a merely transactional space. The pandemic has precipitated the need to reach users in a different way because the rules of the game that existed no longer work ”, says Julio Obelleiro , CEO and co-founder of Wildbytes, from where they are investigating technological-creative projects that help to position to brands and physical stores, as the spearhead of innovation in experiential retail .

The online environment is imposed, so that the purchase by subscription of creams, makeup or perfumes without risk of direct contagion and from the home itself , becomes an upward trend known as ” cocooning “, which brings with it the need to carry out activities in a quiet and safe leisure environment. This is demonstrated by data from Birchbox , a leading company in beauty ecommerce, which has increased its number of subscribers by more than 50% and orders to its online store have exceeded 150% during the months of confinement.

That retailers bet on the digitalization of the market brings with it a loss of sensory experience , a decisive factor when it comes to acquiring new cosmetic products. L’Oréal , one of the leading companies in the beauty sector , wants to spearhead the digital and technological transformation of the business.

In fact, in March 2018, it made the first purchase of a non-cosmetic brand : Modiface , a pioneering startup in AI and VR applied to beauty, which has developed a facial recognition technology in motion. It uses VR through a complex algorithm, turning mobiles and tablets into mirrors enriched with virtual reality so that consumers can try the makeup products of different brands associated with its parent company, such as Lancôme, which in turn launched Le Teint Particulier Custom Made Foundation for customize customer makeup under the coat of nine patents .

“This has allowed us to develop advanced 3D virtual makeup technologies and color diagnostic services , using exclusive knowledge that tracks facial characteristics and color,” explains Guillaume Sonolet , Chief Marketing Officer of L’Oréal Spain. Other brands, such as Vichy , have developed (making use of ModiFace technology) projects to make digital diagnoses reaching high levels of precision in the evaluation of the skin, taking into account different facial expressions and the conditions of the photos (such as light or the position of the phone), similar to what consumers themselves could take with their smartphones.

It also highlights the first battery-free electronic wearable that measures exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, pollution, pollen and humidity that La Roche-Posay launched a year ago. They called it My Skin Track UV and it uses a sensor that measures UV radiation levels together with an associated app, which tracks the individual’s exposure to these conditions, with the aim of preventing them from possible skin risks to which they are exposed.

Precisely, planetary confinement has brought negative skin consequences. The lack of vitamin D by dispensing with hours of sunlight has affected our immune system and the synthesis of calcium in our bones. Dafna’s Skincare firm , led by Dafna Shaham , has developed Detoxify, a product designed to fill those vitamin, essential fat and hydration deficiencies and defends the combination of biotechnology and nature , applied to the cosmetic sector.

Within this sector, the pandemic has been a severe blow to another of its “must”: lipstick. Its sales have fallen by 22% during confinement, according to data taken from the Nielsen consultancy, something similar to what has happened with products intended for shaving. It is logical to think that the need to use masks points to an exponential deployment of new products that highlight the look .

Face masks powered by NASA
But let’s talk about masks. Of those that are applied at home and incorporate advanced technology used by NASA . More than a hundred medical laboratories, universities and scientists of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have validated the therapies with LED light applied to the cosmetic sector, but it has been the Galician brand Ylé Cosmetics , responsible for bringing to the market its Led Mask Phototerapy System , a gadget based on photodynamics with anti-aging effects, against hyperpigmentation or couperose. The device comprises multiple wavelengthsto treat various problems, it contains 3 modes of therapy with LED light of different wavelengths: blue (470 nanometers -nm-); red (635 nm) or combined (850 nm).

For his part, for Rubén Rubiales Vázquez , CEO and Founder of Lesielle (a startup that has developed a small electronic device that allows them to create ad hoc cosmetics ), the nearest future of the sector is through digitization, AI and the microbiome (set naturally occurring microorganisms on the skin). “We call it adaptive cosmetics , having from home, at the push of a button, the product made to measure. It is important to teach consumers how to take care of their skin, what they should take into account when choosing products, giving them the necessary knowledge to do so critically, ”says Rubiales.

Lesielle, voted ” best cosmetic innovation in the world ” in 2018 at the Bologna international contest, also contributes to trying to change one of the existing myths that affect the microbiome: “All our moisturizers have pH 4.7, the true facial pH (not the known 5.5). By having a correct pH, we take care of this natural barrier ”, concludes Rubiales.

Cosmetic digitization also goes through applications that, through selfies , provide a report of the condition of the skin, or the application of Artificial intelligence to guide laboratories to discover which treatments are suitable for each individual. With some limitations, such as controlling or compensating the lighting conditions where the photos are taken so that they do not influence the results.

Mustela Laboratories , for its part, shares cosmetic innovation in the youngest sector of the population. In recent years, the commitment of companies to the first years of life has increased. Mustela has created the first cosmetic-textile pajamas for atopic skin (100% cotton), certified with micro encapsulated ingredients of natural origin that are released to relieve these babies.

Anna Clara Vancells , marketing manager at Mustela Laboratories, explains that they have increased the naturalness rate of their eco-friendly solutions , with biodegradable formulas. “We reduce the amount of plastic in the packaging and incorporate recycling into the tubes, we limit the paper and cardboard in packaging, always from sustainable forests , in addition to printing the cases with vegetable inks,” says Vancells. Mustela became, in 2018, the first pharmaceutical and cosmetic laboratory in the world to receive the B-Corp certification and is one of the 3,200 companies around the world with a humanistic economic, social and environmental vision of its strategic development model.

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