Putting on makeup is back -- and L’Oreal wants to help with a little assist from modern technology.
“This idea that when you see shows like ‘The Simpsons’ or you see ‘The Fifth Element’ movie that one day there will could be makeup robots and all of that, I think it's more the vision of the future and kind of taking a more lighthearted approach about what the future could hold,” said Guive Balooch, L’Oreal Technology Incubator global vice president.
“The reality is we don't know where we will be in five to 10 years with technology in any industry,” he added. “What we know today is that robotics and the ability to use more precision will allow people to do some of the most complicated makeup or beauty routines in the most simple and easy way.”
About three out of 10 people use makeup, according to industry group NPD. About 70 percent of people are back to the normal pre-pandemic makeup routines or putting on more makeup than before.
One of L’Oreal’s new products, Brow Magic, is working on one of the notoriously most difficult things to do on your face.
“Shaping the brow at home today's one of the biggest pain points for people,” Balooch said. “Depending on your skill level, it can take a lot of time. You have to do stencil work. It's a very creative process. So depending on the skill, you can get to the result you want or not -- and that leads to frustration.”
Brow Magic is a device and an associated app. First, the user uses their smartphone to scan their face. Then the app suggests different brow shapes. Once you select the brow you want, you use the associated device to print the powder brow on your own brows. The gadget uses artificial intelligence to line it up appropriately. The brows last one to two days, and can be easily removed with makeup remover. If you want to use the same shape as the day before, you can skip the scanning process and reprint your previous design.
“It's a really magical system that has a digital way to take a look at your brow and shape it using a device that can detect and use inkjet printing to automatically print in a matter of seconds,” he said. “All the different little hair like structures to make your brow into the shape that you desire and dream.”
L’Oreal is also working to make sure than everyone who wants to use makeup can. Its new device HAPTA assists people with a limited range of motion put on lipstick, including those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, strokes or other disabilities. The company worked with Liftwear from Verily to develop the product, which will be sold through Lancome later this year with more of its brands to follow.
“It's a technology that allows people that have mobile impairments and lack of skills in terms of mobile movement to be able to use beauty products for the first time,” Balooch said, “It's one in 10 people today in the United States, 43 million people.”
Both devices will be out later this year with a manufacturer suggested retail price of $150 to $200.
“In the end for us, it's about creating and solving the needs that people have today in our industry,” he said.