Technology in the Beauty Industry

By Laticha Brown, assistant professor, SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology

According to the Zion Market Research report, the global cosmetic products market was valued at around $532 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach approximately $863 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of slightly above 7% between 2018 and 2024 . A major category that continues to fuel the beauty business is technology. As technology continues to impact all aspects of our lives including communication, home entertainment, housing/lifestyle, health, education and traveling—beauty and wellness are no exception.

There are Smart Lifestyle devices being introduced into the home. Take Simon Shen, the founder and inventor of HiMirror, for example. Shen understands the magnitude of smart devices, as he is a well-known Taiwanese electronics group CEO. However, it wasn’t until he witnessed his wife kicking her body fat scale into a corner of the bathroom and weeks later pulling it back out again to use it. It was then that Shen decided to create the Smart Body Scale. This device includes a scale within a bath mat, making it hidden yet always available to use. If someone wants to check their weight all they have to do is stand on the mat and the details would then be sent to their smartphone. While initially there were some challenges and logistics concerns, Shen still felt the need to come up with an innovative beauty/healthy solve. Analyzing his wife’s daily 10 minute skincare routine of selecting from an array of expensive skincare and cosmetic products of which many appeared to be rarely used created another innovative opportunity: combining the Smart Body Scale with a Smart Mirror.

The HiMirror was created as the first of its kind globally to help assess skin’s condition including wrinkles, fine lines, clarity, dark circles, dark spots, red spots, and pores so a consumer can effectively and efficiently target problem areas and move toward set beauty goals; integrate artificial intelligence (AI) to offer a daily skin analysis and personalized recommendations and augmented reality (AR) to allow users the ability to virtually try on makeup; and work in conjunction with the Smart Body Scale to provide an accurate measurement of body indexes in the comfort and privacy of the consumer’s own home.

3D scanning technologies have entered in the esthetician world with platforms created by both Skintuition and Neutrogena. The Skintuition platform technology was created by Cambridge Consultants by using off-the-shelf camera technology and integrated algorithms. It looks at the consumer’s skin in up to 12 different colours simultaneously—including UV and infrared—using the kind of low-cost camera one would find in a smartphone, aided by a ring of LEDs. By embedding the platform into a commercial product such as a bathroom mirror, Skintuition can gather images of someone’s skin and alert them to changes in its condition through their phone.

Taking it beyond the mirror, Neutrogena created Neutrogena Skin360. This personalized skin analysis technology fits right in the consumer’s hand with two simple steps of clipping the scanner on the iPhone and then synching up with the Neutrogena Skin360 app. The skin scanner scans above and below the skin’s surface with precision and derm-grade accuracy. The scanner has the ability to decode skin types with a Skin360 Score, track changes and measure progress over time, customize advice and skincare tips, and create personalized product recommendations.

Innovative retailer Sephora continues to push the technology opportunities with a wide range of AI technology along with their app. In order to keep the consumer engaged and create a seamless shopping experience, Sephora offers two tools: Sephora Visual Artist, a 3D live experience on the Sephora app that allows the consumer to try-on eye, lip and cheek makeup and try out looks created by Sephora experts, and Color IQ, the first and only beauty service that scans the surface of the skin and assigns it a Color IQ number, which reveals scientifically precise foundation matches.

As technology continues to evolve brands and retailers will need to make sure they engage with consumers and create the best seamless integration of technology and beauty possible.


Laticha Brown

Assistant Professor

SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology




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