Sarah Jindal, senior innovation and insights analyst, beauty and personal care at Mintel, noted, “Digital technology will follow consumers everywhere, influencing their product purchases and helping them to navigate the complexities of the beauty aisle. It will make shopping more personal in 2018. With so many products on the shelves, time-pressed consumers are in need of a more intuitive shopping experience.”
Karen Doskow, director, consumer products, Kline & Company, observed that consumers around the world still have a “strong appetite” for devices that will help perfect the health and appearance of their skin.
“According to consumer research we conducted in six countries with 1,300 women, we found that products that can help improve skin hydration are highly desired,” she said. “Moreover, device users are surprisingly young, and the median age of beauty device users varies from country to country. In the United States, 24-34 years old represents the median age of device users whereas users in Japan, Germany and Europe skew slightly older.”
Doskow noted that South Korea and China are “hotbeds” of opportunity, where the inception of many of these products occurs. Device sales growth in these markets range from 10-15% each, well above the global average of 5%. Also, sales for anti-aging devices are up 10% globally. China achieved the highest growth in the segment, followed by Europe.
“There seems to be more elasticity with products aimed towards aging and hair regrowth concerns as compared to cleansing devices,” noted Doskow.
There’s an app for, well, almost everything right now. But the beauty marketplace is really taking to technology, as seen with rising brands such as YouCam Makeup. In fact, the Perfect Corp.-owned brand recently won Google Play’s prestigious “Best of 2017” award for “Most Innovative App” of the year.
“Beauty lovers are continuing to turn to beauty AR (augmented reality) more and more as a means of discovery, experimentation and shopping. Their growing confidence in virtual reality trials demonstrates their desire to adopt AR and AI technologies into their consumer beauty journey and their need to have all beauty browsing at their fingertips without having to go to a store,” Alice Chang, founder and CEO of Perfect Corp., Taipei, Taiwan, told Happi. “As the beauty tech space continues to evolve, YouCam continues to find innovative solutions for consumers, retailers and brands.”
Known for its one-touch selfie makeovers, YouCam Makeup has become the world’s top AR beauty app with more than 2.3 million five-star ratings in Google Play. According to the company, it was created to solve the challenges of consumers by merging beauty with cutting-edge technology.
The app’s patented AR and AI technology uses facial recognition, 3D renderings, skin tone analysis and texture matching to ensure realistic virtual try-ons of real branded cosmetic products such as L’Oréal Paris or Estée Lauder.
“We are honored that YouCam Makeup is recognized as one of the ‘Most Innovative Apps’ in the highly competitive Play Store,” said Chang. “The ‘Best of 2017’ award is a testament to how beauty AR is being widely adopted as part of the cosmetics discovery, trial and purchasing experience. Our team is committed to pushing the boundaries of AR (augmented reality) and AI (artificial intelligence) technology to continue innovating in the beauty tech space.”
Estee Lauder has teamed with YouCam for Augmented Reality Training (ART), a live AR makeup education program that connects with 17,000 Estée Lauder beauty advisors around the world. The interactive live stream platform gives Estée Lauder’s global education team the ability to host real-time trainings and product briefings, in which the brand’s beauty advisors can view and engage with users directly from their mobile devices.
The private, proprietary live channel is transforming the way the Estée Lauder brand connects with its beauty advisors and sales teams, providing a unique training tool that utilizes AR technology to educate, entertain and inform. The ability for beauty advisors to interact and virtually try on featured looks throughout the session, follow along on slideshow presentations, and chime in with real-time questions and feedback, helps to maintain the intimate nature of the training, according to the company.
In addition to the Estée Lauder global education team hosting regular live training sessions, the brand can also track attendance, engagements and overall performance of the trainers and participants.
“We are thrilled to continue our pioneering partnership with YouCam to bring mobile-based augmented reality training to our beauty advisors around the world,” said Stephane de La Faverie, global brand president, Estée Lauder, New York. “We believe this is a turning point in beauty education and leveraging technology.”
The Estée Lauder global education team kicked off its first YouCam ART segment in December 2017. Reaching more than 600 Estée Lauder brand employees around the world, Lauder used the session to introduce its latest innovation Perfectionist Pro Rapid Firm + Lift Treatment.
This training initiative builds on two other technology projects. In April, 2017, Estée Lauder initiated the partnership with YouCam for the launch of Pure Color Love lipstick where customers were able to virtually try all 30 shades in 30 seconds. Since then, the virtual try on feature has rolled out to more than 800 devices in stores and on the YouCam app.
Just two months ago, Estée Lauder rolled out YouCam “Look Transfer” technology as part of an influencer launch event for new Pure Color Envy Paint-On Liquid Lip Color. This technology, which recognizes the makeup shades used on models in an advertising campaign and allows the consumer to recreate the model’s look via virtual try-on, will make its consumer debut in store and through the You Cam app this year.
Meanwhile, in celebration of Tarte Cosmetics’ recent 17th birthday, Meitu’s MakeupPlus application brought the best of the brand to the smartphone with virtual try-on technology. It gave users access to more than 70 shades of cult favorite products from Tarte on the Counter section of MakeupPlus, where users could try on and purchase directly through the app.
According to the company, the MakeupPlus x Tarte partnership brings top-selling lip products including glosses, lipsticks, liners and liquid lipsticks available in a variety of finishes straight to users allowing them to test them so users can experience shades and finishes instantly before they purchase.
Other brands available on the MakeupPlus’ counter include LimeCrime, Glamglow and Stila Cosmetics.
Designed for retail applications, the new Color-Eye solution from X-Rite Incorporated (parent company to the color authority Pantone) enables consumers to easily and accurately measure the color of any item on the go to find matching or harmonizing products. Cosmetics, home and fashion and retail paint companies can integrate Color-Eye into their existing mobile shopping applications, allowing consumers to search, match and purchase goods with a high degree of color confidence.
According to X-Rite, consumers lack confidence in purchasing color-critical items online due to past experiences which did not meet expectations and a difficulty in communicating color from home to store. While consumers expect to be able to simply take a photo of the inspiration color and match it to a desired item, digital camera technology alone cannot accurately determine an object’s color, which is affected by lighting, glossiness, texture, angle of view, and sensitivity of the camera, said X-Rite. Color calibration tools and color software are required to help overcome these challenges to provide a more color accurate image.
To that end, Color-Eye is a slim color calibration card that is used in collaboration with a smartphone application to accurately measure the color of any inspirational item, according to X-Rite. Color readings are incorporated into a retailer’s mobile shopping application and deliver to the consumer a set of matching or coordinating products. Color-Eye utilizes X-Rite’s expertise to calibrate color values across all lighting conditions. The smartphone-based application incorporates dual-illumination technology by taking two images with the flash on and off resulting in improved color accuracy. The calibration card is manufactured with a unique process that creates both glossy bubbles and patches to help account for lighting glare. Together, the calibration card and the X-Rite software help prevent bad color matches due to poor lighting and guides users as they position the phone to avoid glare. The result is a more reliable color reading that can communicate with a brand or retailer’s ecommerce application and product database, according to X-Rite.
At press time, news was breaking about Neutrogena’s latest tech launch—a sophisticated skin imaging technology that allows consumers to measure what’s happening above and below the skin’s surface. The Neutrogena Skin360 app and the accompanying SkinScanner powered by FitSkin give users an in-depth understanding of their skin’s condition and needs, provides customized advice to address those needs, as well as a clear way to track and assess skin’s progress over time.
To take this technology out of the dermatologist’s office and into consumers’ hands, Neutrogena collaborated with start-up Fitskin, Inc. to develop the beauty tool and mobile app. The SkinScanner tool fits over the user’s phone, and utilizes precision technology to reveal key metrics of skin health that are invisible to the naked eye. Built with 12 high-powered lights, a 30x magnification lens, and highly-accurate sensors, the SkinScanner captures the size and appearance of pores, the size and depth of fine lines and wrinkles, and measures the skin’s moisture levels.
Based on NASA’s scientific research, Revive Light Therapy produces powerful red, blue and infrared light therapies in the form of free-standing and handheld devices that aid in wrinkle reduction, provide pain relief, whiten teeth and more. Medically-approved and FDA-cleared, reVive Light Therapy’s DPL technology enables light to penetrate deeply into the body’s tissue to provide the most effective results possible. These devices are said to replicate wavelengths emitted by the sun that are proven to have biological effects.
Infrared light emitted by the pain relief therapies increase circulation and drive the body’s healing processes, they also stimulate growth of collagen and elastin for anti-aging benefits. The acne treatment light therapy emits blue light to kill acne-causing bacteria, while the new EnviroHygiene Orb does the same for bacteria and mold in homes.
The devices are available online as well as at select retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Target.
Home Skinovations Ltd. is rolling out a new anti-aging device, Titan by Silk’n. It’s billed as the first and only device to bring together three forms of energy that provides professional-level treatment for at-home use. It has been clinically tested and is cleared by the Food and Drug Administration to tighten facial skin, according to the company, which says it works “from the inside out to activate the body’s natural restoration process, and reveals remarkably younger looking skin on the face and neck.”
“We are seeing women and men looking for products to enhance their beauty without covering up or undergoing invasive procedures, such as injections or surgery,” said Michael Bank, president of Home Skinovations, North America. He said the Titan by Silk’n is the most advanced way to tighten and lift the skin safely and in the comfort of one’s own home, “putting the power in women and men’s hands to uncover their personal authentic beauty.”
Titan works by harmonizing three forms of energy to reduce wrinkles and repair collagen and elastin fibers; specifically, infrared energy, which increases blood circulation to improve skin tone and texture; LED light energy, which the firm says grows new collagen reducing fine lines and wrinkles; and RF energy, which is said to go deep beneath the skin to contract connective tissue, remodel collagen and strengthen elastin to lift and tighten sagging skin, said the company.
An award-winning, multi-solution, the NuFace skin care device is innovatively-designed with interchangeable treatment attachments, according to the company. The NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device comes standard with the NuFace Trinity Facial Trainer, a micro current treatment attachment FDA-cleared for facial stimulation to gently stimulate the larger surface areas of the face.
Now, NuFace is looking at the body—and it plans to launch its first microcurrent body device this month. NuBody is billed as the first FDA cleared, at-home micro current device that clinically improves skin tone and firmness while smoothing away the look of dimples.
Sold at prestige retailers such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, NuFace is said to be popular among skin care professionals and consumers alike because of its proven technology, ease-of-use and visible results.
“Clients are super engaged and educated in a way I’ve never seen before, especially when it comes to beauty,” Tera Peterson, co-founder and CEO of NuFace, Vista, CA told Happi. “These ladies and gentlemen know what they’re looking for when they approach the beauty counter or shop online: they want the best ingredients, the newest innovations and feel connected to the brand.”
Skin care brands such as Elemis are also utilizing devices to enhance their portfolio. Consider its big launch for 2018, the Elemis x Foreo Biotec Energizing Skincare System. Designed to deliver a new standard of skin health, this 28-day system will help reveal the user’s most radiant skin ever, according to the company. This kit combines the proven results of Elemis’ Biotec collection with transformative technology of the Foreo Luna Play, creating next level cleansing, according to the firm. This small but mighty two-zone brush offers 8,000 T-Sonic pulsations per minute to deeply and gently cleanse.
Techmira Inc. calls its Mira-Skin Activeboost Wand a state-of-the-art, portable ultrasound facial device that allows for professional grade, on-the-go treatment. It uses gentle, ultrasound technology to prevent and reverse the signs of aging. Through micro air oscillations of one million cycles a second, the Ultrasound Activeboost Wand safely delivers efficacious ingredients deeper into the skin to visibly lift and firm skin, according to the company. Non-invasive and easy to use, the regimen is suitable for the most sensitive of skin types and 50% more effective.
“Over the last three years, the home health and beauty device category has experienced rapid growth in terms of number of devices available and sales,” Stephen Spector, president, Techmira Inc., told Happi. “The Techmira Mira-Skin Ultrasound is a new entry into the device and home anti-aging category. Women are looking for both immediate and long-term anti-aging solutions and are gravitating toward home devices for their skin care needs.”
And, let’s not forget a beauty item so crucial to the daily regimen…the mirror! HiMirror, touted as the world’s first smart beauty mirror, offers an in-depth, personalized skin care analysis based not only on the evolving condition of skin, but also local weather conditions and other factors. The newest HiMirror is the HiMirror Plus + with Amazon Alexa-enabled features. HiMirror—which helps you assess skin’s condition including wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles, red spots and more—comes with LED lights to simulate five different lighting scenarios. These settings help users apply makeup appropriately for the occasion and location. On top of that, the HiMirror Plus + can hold up to six accounts, whereas the base model holds four, according to the company.
Accessories offered with HiMirror Plus include smart body scale, which allows users to measure areas such as their weight, body mass index and body fat as well as the HiSkin, an at-home skin analyzer.
At CES 2018, the brand’s HiMirror Mini was named an Innovation Awards Honoree. Available in the US in late summer 2018, the 13.31 x 9.02 inches unit, with an LCD panel which can be easily adjusted within the settings of the mirror for optimal and accurate lighting, is equipped with Amazon Alexa-enabled features, privacy facial and voice recognition account access, and a noise cancellation microphone. In addition, the HiMirror Mini will also introduce a touchscreen feature to the HiMirror portfolio.
“We are thrilled to be recognized for the second time in a row and surrounded by so many ground-breaking products,” said Simon Shen, CEO of Taipei-based New Kinpo Group, which makes the HiMirror. “HiMirror is a technology-driven beauty tool and one of the first in its market to truly revolutionize the modern beauty routine. We know consumers will make HiMirror and its accessories an essential part of their beauty and wellness regimen and we are excited to add the more portable and easy-to-use HiMirror Mini to our already outstanding product portfolio.”
Mintel predicts that the beauty and personal care market will experience a fundamental shift during 2018. According to Jindal, personalization is set to reach new heights as brands strive to embrace total inclusivity. And, developments in biometric monitoring will see brands drive unprecedented customization of the shopping experience.
Doskow of Kline predicts an increase in silicone cleaning products in new formats, pore perfecting and blackhead extraction devices, and devices that have a hydration component as an added benefit.
“The crystal ball is saying 2018 is the year that facial quality skin care technology can, for the first time, deliver the same great results in body care,” noted Peterson of NuFace. “Shoppers have aced their facial skin care routine—they know what works and what doesn’t for their skin type. They also know their body skin is aging and are wanting to take care of it like their face. Body is a whole new frontier, particularly with technology. Professional in-office body treatments have soared and non-invasive solutions with no downtime are taking over.”
Leveraging both augmented reality AR and AI technologies within its suite of YouCam apps has transformed how consumers enjoy and interact with beauty products and has maximized the ability to respond quickly, adapt regularly, and anticipate the needs of companies evolving within the digital space, noted Chang of Perfect Corp.
She explained, “Our latest AI innovations include the YouCam Makeup App Skin Diary and AI Look Transfer features. The Skin Diary is a diagnostic tracking tool which offers personalized one-tap skin assessments directly from your mobile device. This tool has revolutionized the modern beauty routine by helping users to better understand their overall skin health and track skin conditions and product results over time in order to make more empowered beauty decisions.”
Later this year, YouCam will launch the AI Look Transfer feature that enables users to take a photo of a makeup look which is instantly translated into an AR beauty filter, enabling them to experience the exact style virtually in seconds through the app.
It’s these kinds of developments that will surely speed-up an already fast-moving marketplace.