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Brief Published: 9 May 2019

Élever: Printing Beauty Looks in Real Time

London-based studio Seymourpowell has created a concept design for a make-up printer that instantly replicates beauty trends from social media. Does this device have the potential to disrupt traditional product development cycles?

The device (named Élever) looks like an ordinary handheld mirror, but inside, it harnesses the power of 3D printing. It combines facial recognition technology and AI-powered image analysis to examine the user’s features and digitally print a make-up look.

Seymourpowell is cleverly tapping into social media’s ability to catalyse specific beauty trends. The device enables fans to replicate specific looks online with a click of a button regardless of their skill level. This feeds into consumer desire to replicate complex looks – 80% of US millennials would like to see how looks created by their favourite make-up artists/influencers would look on them (Poshly, 2017). 

If Élever launches, it has the potential to disrupt traditional product development cycles, which is an exciting opportunity for the future of the beauty industry. Currently, the supply chain operates at a slower rate than the continuously shifting online beauty trends, but the device offers an instantaneous solution to keep up with the speed of change. 

In an interview with NYC-based design platform Dexigner, Mariel Brown, director of futures at Seymourpowell, said: “Our research indicates that to successfully meet the demands of tomorrow’s beauty consumers, we need to challenge these established systems and become more agile.”

In Rethinking Beauty: Digital Worlds, we highlighted Mink, an at-home 3D make-up printer concept that never made it to market. This was followed by Swedish brand Foreo’s digital make-up artist Moda and British start-up Contour 8000’s precision-engineered printer device – both of which have still not materialised. It remains to be seen if Seymoupowell’s Élever will be the first concept to market.

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