The Future of Beauty & Care
The beauty care industry is one that will be around for centuries, while the pursuit of the fabled fountain of youth is futile, the hunt for the best products to give you the ‘perfect’ look will always be afoot. Whether it be covering up a blemish before a quick trip to the shops, or a contoured queen emerging from her beauty room, ready to paint the town red, beauty care has cemented its place in society. Even though Covid-19 has had an unprecedented effect on the overcrowded industry, Mckinsey & Company estimate industry revenues could fall by 20–30% in 2020. There are signs that it will once again prove to be resilient. In China, the industry’s February sales fell by up to 80% compared with 2019. In March, the year-on-year decline was 20% — a rapid rebound under the circumstances.
However, the tension and uncertainty caused by this pandemic inevitably lead to a greater need for safe, reliable Beauty & Care Products (BCP). Products that alleviate risks of contamination by employing touchless/ hands-off formats for the customer experience and offer extended shelf life to consumers, will stand out as being trustworthy. The ambiguity will, more than ever now, supercharge innovation causing the pre-COVID-19 trends to accelerate, with the future of beauty looking ever so digital and technology orientated.
Connected beauty systems
The potential of technology in beauty is still at an embryonic stage. Brands throughout the industry are building connected beauty systems to personalise beauty & care, gathering behavioural data on shoppers which in turn helps to encourage loyalty within the respective ecosystems. In essence, the beauty industry has cottoned onto the power plays of big tech and decided to create their ecosystems in which customers can utilise a selection of analogue beauty products and smart beauty devices that create the perfect look. For example, Kératase released its smart hairbrush, designed to improve brushing technique and shares the data with a connected app, which recommends products to complement the users routine.
P&G’s Otpe wand is said to ‘digitally scan your skin, analyse your complexion, and camouflages age spots, sunspots, and hyperpigmentation on contact while fading their appearance over time.’ Which in technology terms is, a bonafide inkjet printer for our skin. On the topic of printers, 3D printers are becoming a norm due to their capability of enhancing the customer experience, through the customisable and personalisation features of the devices both in-store and at home. All with the bonus of being hands off! It’s expected to be firstly implemented in colour cosmetics through personalised shades, before entering other categories, such as skincare and fragrances. Still, the sky will be the limit with the potential to print anything. Beauty-tech or ‘Cosemetech’ is a brilliant way to bring affordable luxury and high efficacy into the home environment, without taking the beauty away from the industry.
Big Data & AI
With access to vast amounts of quantifiable data, the beauty is going to shift from telling customers what works for them, to getting customers to inform the industry. One of the most cutting-edge examples is by NX startup, Lycl, which uses its platform to gather beauty reviews and insights from industry enthusiasts. Based on this data, they develop new products and launch them under their own brand unpa.Cosmetics. The people are getting what they want! Also, through the implementation of connected beauty ecosystems, brands are going to have more data points on each customer with the bonus of real user feedback, compiled together resulting in Artificial Intelligence personalisation. The beauty brand Shiseido was the first to integrate AI with a physical device in the beauty space, calling it Optune. From data collected from the front-facing camera and several different external data points of the user, the app uses a unique algorithm to meet the skincare requirement in real-time, dispensing it via the Optune Device in a lotion formula deemed suitable for users’ skin.
Beauty voice assistants
The rise of voice in the technology realm is on an upward trajectory, so it is only right that Beauty & Care cash in on that. Alexa, Ok Google and Siri will be more than just a voice assistant, beauty is going to give them a makeover, and voila, we have the most personalised assistant one could ask for! This trend is allowing the brands to spend more time with their customers becoming a valuable part of everyday life, instead of having to shout for an older sibling or parent to check if our skin is looking good, our personal stylists will have the answer faster and more reliably.
In a world, post-COVID-19 virtual and augmented reality is the future of shopping. Digitally enhanced, in-store experiences and try-on apps serves a double purpose in beauty. From testing different looks of an eccentric eyes shadow, a luscious red lip gloss, or a new gorgeous hair cut via an app or the smart mirrors, the brand’s cash in on your behaviour data. By collecting a variety of data points around facial characteristics such as face shape, skin tone, wrinkles, and more, can help determine what types of products people with specific facial characteristics are more likely to purchase, potentially predicting inventory with greater accuracy. Additionally, with the vast quantity of data being collected on their users, brands will be able to predict and model with accuracy what their products will do to the customer’s skin visualising it through their app or smart mirrors, further enhancing their experience of buying. The need to touch and hold before buying was what gave the industry an edge in new products but now with the improvement of their data collecting that will be a thing of the past.
“It is not sufficient to see and to know the beauty of a work. We must feel and be affected by it” — Voltaire
“The phenomenon of wanting to look more beautiful than in real life” — Elizabeth Cherian. It’s fuelled by the rise of social media, the infamous Kardashian look will go down in history! But instead of being a detriment to us, it now works in our favour. Beauty and Care have surpassed the realm of being a tool in our everyday lives. Through the use of E-makeup, it’s now art. By taking the concept of filters for Snapchat and Instagram, luxury brands can flex their creative muscles bringing the haute couture beauty reserved exclusively for the runway to the everyday consumer. We can now post these innovative, avant-garde designs on our feeds furthering the awareness of the brand’s footprint. With this integration with technology, beauty is pushing its own boundaries into uncharted frontiers.
“The needs, values, and expectations of beauty consumers will continue to evolve in tandem with behavioural shifts stemming from more health-conscious lifestyles, ethical consumerism, digital connectivity, and a more authenticated brand experience” — Irina Barbalova.
COVID-19 is a catalyst for cleanliness, before the pandemic, au natural consumers would have avoided artificial ingredients and preservatives in their products. With the need for ultra-clean products rising now to reduce health risks, transparency regarding the ingredients used will accelerate, combating the pseudoscientific marketing mirages that we have all fallen for in the past. To solve this problem a combination of open data and Blockchain technologies are required. The blockchain ledger will hold a document of proof for crucial product information coming in the form of a statement of assurance from the brand themselves, lab test results or official letters, offering transparency and visibility that we’ve never before had.
Imagine going to a spa and the masseuse knowing your preferred products, which work well for your skin; a plethora of beauty and care data all accessed via a digital secure global ledger. Isn’t that the experience we are all dreaming about?
All in all, aside from the flawless complexions and the innovative tech, fundamentally to all of us beauty is an emotion. It’s not a specific thing, rather a series of chemical reactions that makes us feel a certain way. The future of BCP is about tapping into that feeling on a personal level, by continuing to make the beauty product lifecycle easy to use with high efficacy, personalisation and customisation through technology and data for all men, women, gender-neutral, teens, tweens and children alike.
“The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.” — Francis Bacon