Recently L’Oréal unveiled its AI-powered offering Perso at the CES 2020. L’Oréal is a French personal care company with its headquarter at Clichy, is one of the most recognised brands in the world. The popular brand has always been seen as an innovation hub in this evolving sphere, which is privy to all kinds of trends and fads.
In a sector which is usually accused of stereotyping and making women (and men) feel inadequate in front of unrealistic beauty standards, L’Oréal has been making use of technology to fill in this wide chasm. For example in 2014, L’Oréal acquired NXT Cosmetics for an undisclosed amount, to penetrate the North American markets. In 2016, they acquired IT Cosmetics for $1.2 billion. It also has six other research centres, dedicated to cosmetic research and developing technologies, established in six different countries with one in India as well.
Now, the company is making strides to make its products, right from product development, testing and transportation, as eco-friendly as possible. The company declared all their product ‘vegan’ in origin and also claims to have significantly reduced its carbon footprint – by 77% since 2005 and aims to become carbon neutral by 2050.
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L’Oréal’s latest revolutionary product — Perso was unveiled at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2020. Perso is an AI-controlled cosmetic product dispensing device, which is actually a collection of three devices — one for skincare, foundation and lipstick each. The device is operable via Bluetooth and is NFC (Near-field Communication) compliant, which basically means that it works best in tandem with a smartphone. Users must install the Perso app, take a picture and upload it in the app. The app analyses the condition of the user’s skin with regards to the moisture content, wrinkles, pore visibility, etc. The AI takes it a step further, through Breezometer geo-location data, which locates the smartphone and gathers relevant information concerning that specific location like the local weather, humidity, pollution, UV index and even pollen concentration in the air. To further bolster the effectiveness of the cosmetics, the user can input their personal preferences or elaborate on what they are looking for.
The Tech Behind L’Oréal’s Perso
L’Oréal-owned and AI-enabled – Modiface, is the technology that computes all the data collected through the app, taking every input into consideration, it dispenses a high-quality solution (cream, lipstick, etc.) with the perfect combination of ingredients to suit the user’s individual needs. The solution is released at the top of the device for cleanliness and the quantity is fit for a single-use. The device, through the AI, automatically adjusts itself in accordance with the day and night requirements. The app can create a personalised daily makeup regiment, delivering a unique experience to its users based on trial and feedback.
Perso grows old with you. As the user ages, the needs of the skin changes too. AI can predict these changes or the user can keep their unique database updated. Perso also changes the combination of its ingredients to suit the personal requisites of the user, keeping pace with the passage of time.
The hardware of Perso is 6.5 inches tall, which is fitted with L’Oréal’s patented three-cartridge system containing the essential ingredients. Using advanced robotics, the ingredients are extracted (from the cartridges), mixed, condensed and dispensed for use. Modiface comes equipped with precise-shape vendor tool, allowing users to modify their foundation requirements according to the sculpture of the face or as they see fit. The AI can also make such predictions and change the composition of the product.
The Perso app (at the CES 2020) comes equipped with photos of thousands of individuals for the users to use as a reference. L’Oréal’s Perso and the app will be officially launched in 2021, with several features such as creating a unique shade of lipstick or matching the same with dresses and much more. People will also have the option of syncing the app with their social media accounts and create their blend of makeup from whatever inspires them.
The cartridges do run out and require replacing. Each refill is designed to last for a month. The refilling process is made simple and mess-free too. The users can track the content levels of the ingredients in the cartridges and order replacements, place their order and track the shipment through the app.
Outlook on Perso
In times when the AI is mostly used for surveillance or keeping track of digital records, cyber terrorism, cybersecurity etc., L’Oréal’s take on AI implementation in the field of cosmetics, nonetheless, is rather refreshing and inspiring. L’Oréal has applied AI capabilities in a way not many have envisioned which, rightly so, places them at the helm of the cosmetics industry. The probability of personalised products procuring revenue is 1.7 times that of general products. That is the reason behind cosmetic companies focusing on personalisation with the trend gaining momentum in recent years. Honourable mention to Kylie Jenner and her creative marketing strategy.