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L'Oréal's new device applies eyebrows with AR, printing

New devices debuting at CES point to how the beauty brand is expanding access and striking unlikely partnerships.

L'Oréal's new device applies eyebrows with AR, printing

L'Oréal will demo new beauty technology this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A pair of new makeup applicator prototypes are showing how a brand can get involved in charting the future of not just in the products they make, but also the tools that help to apply them.

Here’s a look at the products, and takeaways on what this innovations shows about where beauty is heading:

HAPTA

This handheld makeup applicator is designed to help people with limited hand and arm mobility steadily apply lipstick. Seeing as how this group numbers 50 million people worldwide, the device represents a step toward inclusion.

The technology includes:

  • Smart motion controls
  • Customizable attachments that help the user open packaging and apply lipstick
  • A magnetic attachment that clicks in at the preferred position, and enables 360 degrees of rotation and 180 degrees of flexion
  • Stabilizing and leveling technology from Verily, which will be piloted by Lancôme in 2023
  • Built-in battery and device charging

L'Oréal Brow Magic

The handheld, electronic brow makeup applicator is designed to draw and apply a precise brow shape. Achieving the right look typically requires several products, as well as expertise in techniques like microblading that are the province of professionals. This is designed for home use.

To develop the device, L'Oréal partnered with Prinker, which makes printed, non-permanent tattoos. The device has 2,400 tiny nozzles, which apply up to 1,200 drops per inch.

The process begins by using L'Oréal’s Modiface augmented reality technology.

Here’s how it works:

Users scan their face with the Modiface app, then receive recommendations on microblading, micro-shading, or filler effects.

Personalization is next. Users select the desired shape, thickness and effect.

Then it’s time to apply with the device. Users brush Magic Brow Primer, move the printer across the eyebrow in a single motion and apply a topcoat to complete the look.

The tool will launch in 2023.

Trends to watch

The devices point toward a few important ways that beauty is evolving:

Beauty tools go digital: Beauty products have long been accompanied by devices to apply them. These prototypes underscore a new wave of development is bringing smart and digital technologies into an industry that still mostly defaults to manual. The use of augmented reality shows that a crossover between digital and physical is on the horizon, as well. AR has largely been used for try-on, but the use of Modiface with Brow Magic points to a role within primary use.

Expanding access: With the beauty technology announced this week, L'Oréal is putting these tools in the hands of more people. HAPTA is helping people with limited fine motor skills, while Brow Magic is allowing services that would be performed by professionals to be completed at home. In turn, it is empowering consumers to apply the look they want, and do it themselves.

Vertical growth: L'Oréal is often seen expanding its chemically-based product lines to cover more categories of beauty, whether that's hair, cosemetics or skincare. These devices show that L'Oréal can also expand vertically as a provider of the tools that help to put these core products on. That also means a consumer will see the name L'Oréal each time they look at their tool. That presents incremental sales opportunities when that consumer look to buy their next product.

Cross-disciplinary partnerships: Technology isn’t developed by individual firms alone. L'Oréal employs its own scientists and engineers who are developing these prototypes, but they are working with others. The projects show how partnerships may not always originate in the exact use case for which a company is building. HAPTA partner Verily is owned by Alphabet, works in life sciences and originally developed the technology for use with dining utensils. Brow Magic partner Prinker’s technology was built for temporary tattoos. Don’t be limited by the industry you’re working in. Focus on the outcomes you want to achieve, not where you are today.

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Shipt launches ecommerce accelerator for local retailers

LadderUp is aiming for 50% LGBTQ+ and BIPOC participation. Shopify will provide access to its platform.

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LadderUp will include an 8-week ecommerce course. (Courtesy photo)

Shipt is launching a new accelerator program designed to provide ecommerce tools for local retailers.Called LadderUp, the program is centered on equity. Target-owned delivery owned Shipt said conversations with business owners have revealed that local entrepreneurs face “gaps” in technology, but they also want to participate in ecommerce platforms. The COVID-19 pandemic was especially difficult for Black business owners, who saw earnings drop between 11-28% in 2019-2020, as compared to the earnings decrease of 5-17% for the rest of the population.

With the new program, the company’s goal is to reach at least 50% LGBTQ+ and BIPOC participation in the program.

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