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Published: 15 Mar 2018

SXSW: L’Oreal Showcases Custom Foundation

L'Oreal at South by Southwest

L’Oreal showcased a standout piece of beauty tech at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas (March 9-18). The cosmetics giant’s Innovation Lab developed a dispenser that can create 8,000 bespoke blends of foundation.

Le Teint Particulier (LTP) uses artificial intelligence to formulate foundation tailored specifically to the user. An analyser comes into contact with three points on the user’s face at a short distance, so light is prevented from disrupting the colour-matching process. The data is picked up by an algorithm, which maps out the levels of cyan, magenta and yellow that are present to identify the customer’s skin tone. Before the machine blends and dispenses the precise shade, users can select the desired coverage and finish.

LTP was originally developed for L’Oreal’s colour cosmetics brand Lancôme in 2016, debuting exclusively at luxury US department store chain Nordstrom. L’Oreal shared the technology at SXSW because LTP is still the most advanced custom-blend foundation machine in the world – offering more shades than a supply chain could produce.

Shrewd brands such as Fenty Beauty  and Huda Beauty have acknowledged the diversity of their consumer bases by launching foundation ranges of up to 40 shades, but L’Oreal’s device taps into a more valuable strategy – complexion colour matching. In 2017, Pinterest data revealed saves for complexion colour matching rose to a whopping 378% on the image-pinning platform, confirming the consumer desire for this bespoke offering.

For more on personalisation, tech and inclusivity in the beauty category, see Future Beauty: Perfecting Bespoke, E-Beauty: Digital Device Boom and Inclusive Beauty: 5 Key Lessons

Published: 12 Mar 2018

IECSC: Beauty Product Trends 2018


The annual International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference (IECSC) in New York (March 5-7) brought together more than 275 exhibitors to showcase the latest luxury product and spa-service innovations. We highlight three key beauty trends.

  • Africa’s Fruits: US-based Nigella Therapy presented its day and night serums, made from traditional Egyptian Nigella sativa oil (also known as black seed oil). Paraben, sulfate and preservative-free, the serums are packaged in daily snip-off gel pods to preserve the ingredients’ freshness. Meanwhile, Virginia-based Shea Terra presented its range of organic cold-pressed Ethiopian Black Seed oils, which can be ingested or used topically.

  • Force of Nature: Containing just three ingredients – electrolysed oxygenated water, sodium chloride (Dead Sea salts) and hypochlorous acid – California-based Lumion’s Oxygen Face Mist harnesses the latter ingredient’s infection-fighting compound, which is found naturally in the human body. Meanwhile, New York brand Neferra presented its new ‘feminine care’ balancing body oil – a blend of pure natural peppermint, geranium, marjoram, lemon, jojoba and sunflower oils.

  • Second-Brain Wellbeing: Echoing ideas in our report New Architecture of Taste, which looks at a new era of enlightened eating, several brands introduced new nutraceuticals. California-based Purium’s Biome Medic is the world’s first GMO-combating supplement, which promotes eliminating toxins for a heathy gut. Also from the US, Images Skincare presented its Yana drinkable daily collagen shots, while M’lis’s Radiance collagen beauty drink is a mixable powder that firms the skin.

For more on bio-beauty trends, see Bio-Transforming Beauty, Indie Beauty Show 2017 and New Beauty Formulations: In-Cosmetics Global.

TOPICS: Beauty
Published: 27 Feb 2018

Livin: Smart Shower Device

Livin Shower

Californian start-up Livin has created an innovative product that aims to personalise the shower experience.

By using machine learning, cloud computing and sensor technology, the Livin Shower fixture can bring the water up to the user's preferred temperature, play their favourite music, and save these personal preferences for up to 10 members of the household.

The smart shower fixture is compatible with Amazon Echo, Google Home and Nest, which means users can just say "prepare my morning shower" and be notified when it's ready through the accompanying app. They can even have their room warmed up to prevent the after-shower chill.

Using a proprietary temperature-control algorithm, Livin reaches the specified temperature in the shortest amount of time and auto-pauses the water stream, helping to save water by reducing unnecessary flow. It also monitors water usage and displays results in the app, which could motivate people to reduce wastage.

Livin Shower's early-bird price on Kickstarter is $299 and it can be pre-ordered for $599. It is expected to start shipping in autumn 2018.

With smart home devices becoming more accessible than ever and the smart home market expected to reach $53.45bn by 2022 (Zion Market Research, 2017), we expect to see similar technology addressing more of our everyday needs.

For more on the future of smart home tech, see Internet of Home Comforts and Smarter Spaces: Optimising the Home.

Published: 26 Feb 2018

Gucci Westman Launches Natural Brand

Westman Atelier

American celebrity make-up artist Gucci Westman and US-based designer David Neville are launching a new colour cosmetics line that touts natural beauty values and targets a demographic aged 30 and above. 

Westman Atelier will launch in April 2018 with six products, including a highlighter, blush and foundation – the essentials for creating a ‘no make-up’ look, which Westman is most known for.

Westman’s balanced approach to a healthy lifestyle has driven the brand’s ethos of “consciously crafted beauty”, whereby natural ingredients work in tandem with innovative synthetics in its formulas. As an example, the Baby Cheeks Blush Stick contains organic jojoba oil and raspberry stems that tone the skin and prevent inflammation, while the colour payoff and deluxe feel of the blush is made possible with the use of non-toxic synthetics.

The whole range harnesses an innovative sustainable pigment technology that blocks fragments of synthetic colour pigment from touching the wearer’s skin by encapsulating the molecules in clean ingredients. The brand’s launch taps into the growing trend for eco-friendly beauty labels that combine traditional raw elements with synthesised naturals to provide effective, science-backed products sustainably. For more on this, see Future Beauty: New Era Naturals.

Another distinctive selling point for the brand is its target market, which is older millennials and above. The formulas are designed to sit well on older skin, which appeals to this group’s desire to have a flawless complexion without looking overly made up. For more on mature consumers in the beauty category, see Boomer Beauty: Securing the Silver Spend and Mature Beauty: Entering a New Age

Published: 19 Feb 2018

Bamford Hosts Wellness Week

Bamford launches Wellness Week 2018 at The Haybarn

Capitalising on The Business of Wellbeing, luxury British beauty and lifestyle brand Bamford is launching a Wellness Week featuring one-day workshops designed to help visitors better establish balance in their busy lives.

Hosted at the Bamford Haybarn Spa at Daylesford Farm in the Cotswolds, the week (March 19-25 2018) will focus on sleep, gut health and ‘unplugging’ – three core sectors of the wellbeing economy.

The Unplug workshop is designed to quieten the mind, and a talk by anxiety expert and hypnotherapist Chloe Brotheridge will arm visitors with techniques to aid calm in everyday life. Gut Health will explore how bacteria in the gut affects our immune system, ageing and hormonal health. 

The Sleep Healthy workshop was inspired by the growing number of consumers who don’t get the recommended seven hours of rest a night. More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis (CDC, 2016). The expertise of yoga instructors, psychologists, therapists and nutritionists will feature throughout the day, which will include crystal bowl sound healing and one-on-one reiki sessions.

Sleep (and the lack of it) is a growing concern for consumers. Americans will spend an estimated $52bn on sleep aids by 2020 (BCC Research, 2016). For more on beauty sleep opportunities, see Beauty 360 and Brands Boost Beauty Sleep.

Bamford’s initiative cleverly propels it into the lucrative wellbeing space – establishing the brand as a pillar of education and self-improvement. For more on this, see Monetising Mindfulness  and Neom Organics' Wellbeing Schools

Published: 15 Feb 2018

St Giles: Personality-Enhancing Perfume

St Giles

Boldly claiming to stimulate and amplify the personality of the wearer, a new range of luxury fragrances by British brand St Giles offers scent profiles that seek to convey the stereotypical traits associated with specific careers.  

The five fragrances in its inaugural collection are The Tycoon, The Actress, The Writer, The Mechanic and The Stylist. According to the brand, each unique scent combination reimagines an archetype associated with a career. Influences are also drawn from the founder’s social circle – for instance, The Writer is inspired by Nicola Moulton, the former beauty and health director at British Vogue.

The Writer is sold as a perfume for consumers looking to encourage social change via the written word. The fragrance is designed to bring focus and inspiration to the wearer by incorporating rosemary, which stimulates memory performance. Ginger is used as a top note to enhance the brain’s functionality.

Conveying an array of different personalities through scent is an emerging trend for fragrance houses, with more brands in this category combining multiple sensory pathways to create a novel experience. A good example is Canadian start-up Parfums Jazmin Saraï, which merges a range of musical genres with fine perfumery.  

With each of St. Giles’ perfumes evoking a distinctive olfactory experience, users are encouraged to experiment with wearing the scents for different occasions. For instance, creative director Michael Donovan recommends The Actress for those looking to feel glamorous and elegant. For more on this idea, see The Rise of Fragrance Wardrobes.

This clever concept can also be adopted by mass-market brands. US retail giant Target’s new vegan fragrance line is inspired by four personalities: Confident and Charming, Good and Grounded, Vibrant and Playful, and Cool and Collected.

Published: 14 Feb 2018

Valentine’s Gift Set for Same-Sex Couples


For Valentine’s Day, Swedish beauty tech start-up Foreo has launched a limited-edition gift set exclusively for same-sex couples, offering a refreshingly modern approach to LGBTQ-targeted Valentine’s Day marketing and gifting strategies. 

With the launch of its His & His Foreo Issa 2 gift set (which includes two black silicone sonic toothbrushes), the brand is tapping into its inclusive roots. Foreo is short for “for everyone”, with its products aimed at all consumers – regardless of gender, race, age or sexuality.

This all-embracing strategy has been harnessed by brands in the past via advertising campaigns – see & Other Stories’ Valentine’s Campaign  and Same-Sex Tiffany Ad Fuels Wider Rebrand. However, the brand asserts that this is the first product launch dedicated to same-sex couples. For more on tapping into the LGBTQ market, see Retailers Capitalise on LGBTQ Pride Celebrations, Marketing to LGBTQ Consumers and Make-Up for the Trans Community.  

The silicone toothbrushes themselves showcase innovative design, with flexible heads that adapt to every tooth while gently cleaning teeth and gums. Users can also choose between 16 different tempos, although each speed offers 11,000 high-intensity pulsations per minute to break down plaque gently.

The Valentine’s Day promotion also allows customers to try out the toothbrushes at a discounted rate before their full global release on February 22. For more Valentine’s retail innovations, see Valentine's 2018: Best Digital & In-Store Strategies

Published: 13 Feb 2018

Shiseido’s Personalised Skincare System

Shiseido's Optune

Shiseido has developed a customised skincare system called Optune exclusively for women in Japan. Launching this Spring, the at-home skin analyser and product dispenser offers personalised skincare that takes weather conditions and hormonal changes into account, and can also be altered in real time.

The Optune App analyses images taken with a smartphone camera to assess the user’s skin condition, while also factoring in temperature and humidity levels, as well as the user’s mood and menstrual cycle. The data is then collected in Optune Zero – a small machine that determines and dispenses the optimum combination of serum and moisturiser. The data is then stored, allowing consumers to track how the climate affects their skin over time.

Skin analysis is a fast-developing category in beauty tech. US-based dermatological brand Neutrogena’s Skin 360, which debuted at CES 2018, is a good example. The device enables users to examine their skin’s condition immediately. However, Shiseido’s offering pushes tech capabilities by accounting for external factors.

Shiseido has also adopted a new skincare model within the app based on hormones and menstruation cycles to predict skincare needs – much like US natural beauty start-up Amareta. This is a key growth area as consumers actively search for innovative ways to combat skin issues such as dryness or acne, which change throughout the different stages of women’s cycles.

For more on customised skincare and analysis tech, see Smart Skin: Adapting Intelligently in Future Beauty: Perfecting Bespoke, Beauty Analytics and Smart Skin: Nuanced Analytics in E-Beauty: Digital Device Boom

Published: 12 Feb 2018

Service for Millennials: Saks' New Beauty Department, NYC

Saks Fifth Avenue

American luxury department store group Saks Fifth Avenue is to open a new leading-edge beauty floor targeting millennials at its New York flagship. Scheduled to open in May, the new beauty offer taps an increasingly important demographic for department stores (see Next-Level Department Store Strategies).

The floor will focus on service-driven experiences and Instagram-worthy product presentations. It will feature 15 spa rooms, Italian fashion brand Gucci’s first beauty concession, and a new-age apothecary.

  • Wellness Services: Tapping into millennials’ skincare obsession (Pinterest searches for beauty in 2017 saw a 75% increase year-on-year – Pinterest, 2017), the beauty floor will house spa rooms with complimentary brand services and paid wellness treatments such as CoolSculpting (a medical treatment used to destroy fat cells by freezing). An 850 sq ft event space will host masterclasses, seminars and brand activations. An in-store on-demand beauty concierge will be available via technology-enabled desk bells sending push notifications to nearby staff.
  • Concessions: London facial massage brand FaceGym will open its first US workout space, offering an unconventional approach to skin rejuvenation. Additionally, Gucci will debut its first beauty boutique selling Gucci fragrances alongside custom-designed flower bouquets by US flower brand EB Florals.
  • Atypical Setting: Saks is breaking with traditional department store set-ups by moving its beauty offer from the ground floor to the second floor. Measuring 30,578 sq ft (40% larger than its previous setting), the space will have new escalators assuring swift access. Windows have been uncovered to create an open, airy feel, while low-height fixtures allow uninterrupted sightlines. It was designed by US architect firm Gensler.

For more on service-led retailing, see Brand Spaces 2018/2019 and Beauty Flagships.

Published: 2 Feb 2018

Kjaer Weis: Custom Make-Up Kit

Kjaer Weis Collector's Kit

New York-based organic cosmetics brand Kjaer Weis is launching a bespoke refillable colour cosmetics kit that celebrates the versatility of grab-and-go multipurpose product.  

The Collector's Kit houses six product slots for customers to fill with any of the brand’s eyeshadows, lip tints, foundation and blush. The magnetic pockets satisfyingly snap the pans into place, contributing to the luxury feel of the brand’s packaging (as noted in Elevating Beauty, the click of a closing Mercedes door inspired the brand’s heavyweight refillable cases).

This personalisation strategy (also adopted by US-based colour cosmetics brands Nars and Tarte Cosmetics) allows consumers to curate their own perfect product selection, avoiding the wasteful inclusion of products that are never used or needed. Equally, ease is appealing to beauty fans. In 2017, Pinterest reported a 147% increase in saves of curated make-up kits, pointing to the confusion faced by beauty consumers navigating the saturated cosmetics market.

Founder Kirsten Kjaer Weis created multifunctional cream products for the kit, encouraging users to apply a lip tint as a blush, for instance. This also allows them to reduce the time it takes to get ready, Weis told Stylus: “It’s something that’s appealing to someone who wants to do their make-up in five minutes in the morning, or just a little retouch during the day.” For more, see Round-the-Clock Beauty in The Work/Life Revolution: Agile Beauty.

For more on beauty brands adopting bespoke strategies, see Future Beauty: Perfecting Bespoke and Bespoke Beauty New Retail Strategies

Published: 30 Jan 2018

Chop-Chop London’s Inclusive Digital & Mobile Hair Salon

Chop Chop London

New mobile hair salon concept Chop-Chop London brings inclusive, streamlined and tech-driven services to the busy modern beauty consumer – tapping into three essential trends and strategies driving the beauty industry. Opening today (January 30 2018) in London’s tech district Old Street, hairdressers offer clients 24 styling and cutting options. 

Alongside celebrity hairstylist Sherman Hawthorne, co-founders Kaye Sotomi and Laure Ferrand’s goal was to create a salon that is accessible to all races, genders and hair types. The brand’s ethos is grounded in inclusivity and this is reflected in its service menu, which boasts an affordable set price of £20 for 20 minutes, regardless of gender or request.

The most striking feature is the ‘virtual queue’ on Chop-Chop London’s app, which is used for all bookings. Customers can select their desired timeslot on demand and simply wait; an alert is sent 10 minutes before the appointment. The salon hopes to cater to consumers seeking high-tech, time-saving solutions with effective results – as explored in Battling Busyness.

The brand is aiming to open three salons by the end of 2018 in popular hubs such as shopping malls. The foldability and mobility of the pods enables them to be moved easily and quickly to different locations – suggesting big business for music festivals and large events.

For more on new salons that celebrate customer individuality and foster inclusivity, see Instagangs: Niche Hair Salons

Published: 29 Jan 2018

Organic Pharmacy Launches Lunar Cleanse

Organic Pharmacy's Lunar Cleanse

Tapping into the holistic beauty attitudes driving young millennial consumer spend, British natural beauty chemist brand Organic Pharmacy’s new Lunar Cleanse two-step treatment detoxifies the body in alignment with the lunar cycle.

The cleanse involves a preliminary Vitamin and Mineral Scan, where an in-house homeopath uses a BioEnergetic device to assess the client’s nutrient levels, organ function and hormone balances. A Green Coffee Body Sculpting treatment follows, combining massage techniques with lymphatic drainage – a therapy that reduces swelling and purifies the body. According to the brand, the moon’s gravitational pull affects 50-65% of water in the human body. It therefore indicates that for best results, clients should participate in the cleanse during a full moon, although the treatment is offered all year round.

Organic Pharmacy is cleverly tapping into holistic and new-age beauty trends (for more, see Make It Magic: New-Age Beauty and Modern Mysticism), in which lunar cycles are playing a growing part. American indie beauty brand Species by the Thousands also taps into lunar cycles with its range of bath salts designed for the different phases of the moon. For more on holistic and cosmic approaches to beauty, see Product Projections 2018: Cosmetics, Beauty Launches Inspired by Outer Space, and Instagangs: Bewitched Beauty.

Cyclical routines such as this are growing in influence in the beauty market. US natural beauty start-up Amareta’s skincare line is based on women’s hormones and menstrual cycles, which can cause disruption to the skin. Natural and bodily rhythms will play an increasing role in beauty offerings in the coming year.  

Published: 25 Jan 2018

NYC Exhibit: A History of Eye Make-Up

Maybelline’s Blue Eyeshadow in 1950s

Eye of the Beholder at New York University’s 80WSE Gallery explores the history of eye make-up over the past century. The collection of more than 90 items illustrates how mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow have been marketed to women, and reflects shifting cultural notions of beauty.

Starting with the advent of eye make-up in Hollywood’s burgeoning film industry in the 1910s, it traces the development of formulations through to the arrival of glitter eyeshadow in the 2010s (see Product Projections 2018: Cosmetics for more on glitter’s current dominance). Key trends from each era correspond to influencers of the time, ranging from early film star Mary Pickford’s eyelash extensions, to Kim Kardashian’s spider lashes.

Other pieces include Maybelline’s iridescent blue eyeshadow from the 1950s, which points to the belief that blue was a neutral, eye-enhancing colour. In contrast, vibrant Mary Quant eye pencils from the 1960s represent an early instance of make-up being sold as a form of self-expression.

Advertisements complement the products – such as a Maybelline comic strip from the 1940s that identifies mascara as the key player in a woman’s journey from secretary to wife.

According to the curators, showcasing eye make-up allows the exhibit to represent a diverse range of faces. While foundation and lipstick brands have been criticised for offering limited hues, eye make-up can be used by everyone. This mirrors the current move towards an inclusive beauty culture (see Inclusive Beauty: 5 Key Lessons and Empowering Beauty for more).

The exhibition runs until February 2 2018. 

Published: 23 Jan 2018

Oh Yeahh! Launches Happiness-Inducing Lip Balms

Oh Yeahh!

Boldly claiming to increase feelings of happiness in the wearer, a new range of lip balms from Italian personal care start-up Oh Yeahh! enhances levels of serotonin – a mood-improving hormone released by the brain.

Oh Yeahh! has released five lip balm varieties – Silver, Melon, Red, Pink and Violet, with each corresponding to a translucent shade and reflecting a particular personality. For example, Melon comes in a peach colour and represents creative and vivacious women.  

The lip balms aim to trigger positive emotions by using a patented Happiness Boosting Complex, which includes a mixture of griffonia (an African plant), kiwi extract and cacao. According to Oh Yeahh!, this combination of ingredients is rich in tryptophan – a precursor to the production of serotonin that boasts better sleep, fewer headaches and improved mood. The brand’s research also claims that the concentration of serotonin in the saliva increases by 280% after 30 minutes of wearing the lip balm.

Oh Yeaah! is not the first brand to use active ingredients that engage with nerve pathways on a neurological level. Aromatherapy is another key growth area, as consumers look to change their mood and mental state with scent. British aromatherapy brand Ila Apothecary’s Feminine Happy Oil blends essential oils to balance feminine energy. 

For more on scent’s power, see Unlocking Fragrance’s Potential for Creativity & Health in Work/Life Revolution: Agile Beauty. For more on mood-altering products, see Future Beauty: Accelerating Anti-Ageing, Mood-Boosting Cocktails, Lush App: Mood, Scent and Connection and Thync

Published: 16 Jan 2018

Murdock Cocktail: Where Fragrance Meets Flavour

Silent Pool Gin x Murdock London

UK-based distillery Silent Pool and luxury barbershop brand Murdock London are collaborating to launch the Murdock Cocktail in January 2018. Playing with the boundaries of fragrance and flavour, the cocktail emulates notes of Murdock’s Black Tea Cologne.

The cologne was created by barbers for Murdock’s target clientele – the modern British man. It combines natural and raw ingredients such as leather, musty woods and Egyptian basil to represent the exotic spice and tea routes of historical British traders, as well as the “wanderlust traveller” of today, according to the brand.

Spicy and woody elements of the cologne were integrated into the cocktail to craft a unique blend – emphasising the intersection between flavour and fragrance. Stuart Bale, head of innovation at Silent Pool, used aromas from the Black Tea Cologne to transform this fragrance into a beverage. Black tea supplied by British firm Rare Tea Company is the base ingredient.

In addition, flavours that are not typically associated with drinks – cedarwood, sandalwood, neroli extract and petitgrain – add aromatic zest to the cocktail. A subtle warming essence was made with more conventional ingredients – Tasmanian mountain black pepper and nutmeg.

The cocktail will be available at Murdock’s barbershop in Covent Garden, where customers will receive the cocktail when spending over £50 ($68).

This collaborative initiative is a good example of how flavour and fragrance are merging in innovative ways to create dynamic beauty and food experiences. We explore this topic further in Stylus’ new Industry Trend report New Fragrance Worlds