Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the skin care industry as we know it. In our digital age of faster, bigger, and better, machine technology is being used for skin care solutions and treatments to generate revenue.
When the pandemic hit during 2020, stay-at-home orders temporarily forced salons and spas to shut their doors and most retail purchases were done online. However, this increase in online traffic did not make up for the sudden loss in offline sales. The global beauty industry saw a 20–30 percent drop in industry revenue in 2020.1
Consumers also lost the opportunity to see and try cosmetic items before they bought them. This became somewhat problematic when shopping for items like foundation and finding the right shade. During the height of COVID-19, salons and spas removed testers and we’re seeing this practice continue today. From a professional point of view, consulting and retailing with clients became strained. Two technologies have gained traction as a result: augmented reality (A.R.) and artificial intelligence (A.I.).
Augmented Reality: An interactive experience that combines the view of the real world with computer generated modification.
A.R. is providing consumers with a personalized shopping experience, including:
- Hyper-personalized approach
- Ability to connect with a brand at all hours
- Virtual try-ons
- Personalized matches
- Personal needs met through ecommerce
- Better hygiene
- Sustainable alternative to traditional product testing
- Eliminated waste
Artificial Intelligence: The ability of a computer, or a robot controlled by a computer, to do tasks that are usually done by humans.
Everything from phone apps to large standalone devices are used to detect and analyze skin conditions and areas of concern including cancer. Ulta Beauty launched AI technology in 2020 to analyze skin and offer tips and product recommendations to address specific skin concerns.2
3D printed makeup is not a new concept—the first makeup printer was developed in 2014 by Harvard grad Grace Choi.3 Today, many more brands have entered the market. These devices range in ability from printing makeup pallets to intuitively scanning your skin for discoloration and then “printing” skin-enhancing coverage precisely where you need it on the face.
If you thought 3D makeup was cool, Luum Precision Lash is a company using robotics to apply eyelash extensions. A full set is applied in less than 50 minutes for under $200.4 Over time, the robot becomes more skilled as it learns from each service it performs.
From interactive shopping experiences to lash robots and 3D printed makeup, cutting edge technology is finding its place in beauty.
ASCP's Esty Talk episode 109,Beauty and the Bots, discusses everything from interactive shopping experiences to lash robots, and whether tech in beauty is going too far or if it’s the wave of the future..
Emily Gerstell, et al., “How COVID-19 Is Changing the World of Beauty,” (May 2020) https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Industries/Consumer%20Packaged%20Goods/Our%20Insights/How%20COVID%2019%20is%20changing%20the%20world%20of%20beauty/How-COVID-19-is-changing-the-world-of-beauty-vF.pdf
Kristin Larson, Forbes, “Beauty’s New Frontier: How Technology Is Transforming the Industry, From Virtual Reality to Livestreaming,” January 9, 2021 https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristinlarson/2021/01/09/the-new-beauty-frontier-where-digital-amplifies-beauty/?sh=4a33121224f3
Lauren Sharkey, Bustle, “3D-Printed Makeup Is The Beauty Upgrade You’ve Been Searching For,” June 21, 2019 https://www.bustle.com/p/3d-printing-your-own-makeup-could-be-the-future-of-beauty-thanks-to-one-woman-18135407
Rachel Brown, Beauty Independent, “Ulta Beauty Joins $2.9M Seed Round for Retail-Bound Robotic Eyelash Extension Service Luum Precision Lash,” July 13, 2022 https://www.beautyindependent.com/ulta-beauty-retail-bound-robotic-eyelash-extension-service-luum-precision-lash/