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L’Oreal, Perfect Use AI & Tech to Drive Makeup Makeover

 |  January 4, 2023

Whether it’s for speed, convenience, precision or accessibility, the cosmetic industry is undergoing a major makeup makeover.

While a challenging economy and changing consumer tastes and needs are always driving product innovation in this multibillion-dollar global business, the push towards bringing new tech and innovation to an industry rooted in manual processes is clearly on the rise.

Nowhere is this shift more evident than at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, where new thinking about selling, applying and expanding the personal care and cosmetics business is on full display.

“We are dedicated and passionate to bring new technologies powering beauty services that augment and reach every individual’s ultimate desires, expectations, and unmet needs,” Barbara Lavernos, Deputy CEO in charge of Research, Innovation and Technology at L’Oréal said of the company’s new “HAPTA” device — which it describes as the world’s first handheld computerized makeup applicator designed for an estimated 50 million consumers who have limited hand and arm mobility.

“Inclusivity is at the heart of our innovation and beauty tech strategy,” Lavernos added, while highlighting the ways that AI technology was used to bring smart motion controls, better range of motion and ease of use for precision application that would be hard for users to achieve on their own. Even the product packaging has been simplified as part of a broader effort by L’Oreal to make customers feel confident, independent, and empowered, the press statement added.

The Rise of AI

In addition to its own slate of new products being debuted at CES, Perfect Corp — a NYSE-listed SaaS AI and AR beauty and fashion tech company — published a half dozen tech trends that it thinks will influence the retail industry this year.

Among the list’s key predictions include numerous new use cases for artificial intelligence, including ways to elevate immersive and touchless in-store shopping experiences, widespread adoption of digitally personalized skin technology, tutorials and diagnostics.

“AI + AR solutions are helping to revolutionize the retail experience,” Perfect Corp. Founder and CEO, Alice Chang said in a statement highlighting the top tech trends that she said are not only reshaping the retail space but also forging new frontiers to “help brands across industries elevate their retail experiences in the year ahead.”

Read more: Nestle Trims L’Oreal Stake With $10B Sale

In its own case, Perfect and India’s Good Brands Glamm Group announced their own partnership to bring “hyper-realistic virtual makeup try-on tool” to users and retailers in the fast-growing subcontinent region.

“The beauty and cosmetics industry is expanding, and cutting-edge technological advancements have completely transformed the sector,” Good Brands Co, The Good Glamm Group CEO Sukhleen Aneja said in a statement released from the :as Vegas event.

To be sure the digital shift within the cosmetics industry is accelerating but not new, as Chang reflected in a Connected Economy essay penned for PYMNTS in June 2021.

“AR is not a new technology — it has been in the market for over 20 years — but the essential or must-have application hadn’t yet emerged,” Chang said. “And so, we started with makeup and found that it’s the perfect scenario for AR technology,” she added, pointing to the fundamental demands surrounding beauty and wellness while calling AI and AR game-changers within the industry’s touch-free future.

As far as the future is concerned, Guive Balooch, L’Oréal’s Global Head of Research and Innovation’s Tech Incubator said new developments typically come from taking a brilliant technology that is being used outside the beauty business and reapplying it.

“Combining L’Oréal’s heritage of beauty with these advanced technologies allows us to create entirely new beauty gestures—reimagining the original technology, and the traditional beauty experience, in the process,” Balooch said.