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Editor's pick product technology

L’Oréal deepens scientific focus on personalization with uBiome partnership

L’Oréal has announced a partnership with microbial genomics company, uBiome, to deepen its research into the skin’s bacterial ecosystem, in order to help inform future product development.

Unveiled at this year’s SXSW festival taking place in Austin, Texas, the partnership aims to arm L’Oréal’s tech incubator team with the tools to better understand the trillions of bacterias that live in the microorganisms that make up a person’s body – known as the microbiome – and provide an important barrier to their skin.

“When it comes to skincare, people often audition product after product to determine what works for their unique skin. At L’Oréal, our goal is to advance scientific research and leverage new technologies to change this relationship, by allowing deeper levels of personalization,” said Guive Balooch, VP of L’Oréal’s technology incubator.

“The microbiome has major implications for skin’s overall appearance and health. With the global reach of uBiome’s community of citizen scientists, our two companies will be able to extend our respective research in this space, and better understand the interplay between bacterial diversity and skin health.”

L’Oréal’s research into the skin’s microbiome started over a decade ago, and findings include the link between the microbiome, skin barrier function and immune responses as well as the effect of bacteria on ageing skin. This has helped inform many new products for the beauty group, including brands La Roche-Posay and Vichy.

“A major finding from our research shows that skin disorders, much like gut ones, are often linked to a problem of microbial imbalance. Good proportions of each microorganism are key to ensuring skin health,” says Luc Aguillar, a research director at L’Oréal’s Research and Innovation division.

The human skin, which is the body’s largest organ, is home to roughly 1,000 species of bacteria, which can not only affect skin health and appearance, but contribute to common skin concerns such as acne, eczema and rosacea as well as body odor and the aforementioned ageing.

“So many clues about our overall health come from the amazing world of microorganisms,” said Jessica Richman, co-founder and CEO of uBiome. “L’Oréal is an ideal partner for uBiome as it has had a strong focus in scientific innovation in this space for years. Their expertise, combined with uBiome’s advanced understanding of the skin microbiome will allow us to pave the way for the future of personalized skin care.”

Founded in 2012, Silicon Valley-based uBiome has the world’s largest database of human microbiomes, and has seven issued patents and 250 pending. Its platform includes four kits for at-home testing that has been used by thousands of consumers, doctors and more than 200 research institutions globally.

The partnership is being introduced at L’Oréal’s “Know Your Skin” exhibit at SXSW until Monday, March 11, where other featured innovations by the group are on show, including the My Skin Track UV devices (including the newly-introduced clip), the Custom D.O.S.E by SkinCeuticals, and an on-site skincare experience by Kiehl’s.

Guive Balooch will be joining the Current Global’s co-founder and CEO, Liz Bacelar, on stage at SXSW on Monday, March 11, to talk about the future of connected beauty.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick product

L’Oréal sells new UV skin sensor exclusively at Apple stores

L'Oréal's My Skin Track UV
L’Oréal’s My Skin Track UV

L’Oréal USA is teaming up with Apple as an exclusive nationwide retail partner for the launch of its new skincare technology device, the My Skin Track UV sensor.

The move marks the first time a beauty company has partnered with Apple retail stores.

“I think that it opens the door for a new consumer market for us, and a new retail environment,” Guive Balooch, global VP of L’Oréal’s tech incubator, told Fast Company.

The device is part of the ongoing UV Sense prototype from the beauty group’s La Roche-Posay brand, which launched as a nail patch earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This iteration sees the sensor technology applied onto a battery-free device, which can be clipped onto clothing and accessories with the aim to measure the wearer’s exposure to UV radiation.

Like the nail patch, the device is accompanied by an app that translates that data to the user, making them aware of not only their individual UV exposure but giving them personalized advice on how to keep it at a safe level. It also uses a phone’s location-based data to provide further information about humidity, air quality and pollen in the area.

The My Skin Track UV app will also display data on Apple’s HealthKit, in a further move to educate the consumer on the damages of sun exposure as part of their day-to-day lives. Meanwhile, moving from a nail patch to a clip-on device furthers the groups attempt to also attract the male audience.

At SXSW festival earlier this year, TheCurrent spoke to Balooch on how the group is deploying technology to have more one-to-one relationships with its consumers. Beyond connected devices, from the clip-on to a hairbrush, this strategy also includes new digital tools that aim to bridge the gap between physical and online experiences. Recently, it introduced digital beauty assistants that use AR technology to showcase makeup looks to customers via video chat.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Events technology

Vote for us at SXSW: The future of connected beauty

L'Oréal My UV Patch
L’Oréal My UV Patch

In 2019, TheCurrent will be returning to SXSW in Austin, Texas – but we need your support! Beyond gathering insights and producing events like podcast recordings, we are aiming to host three panels. But we can only get on the official schedule with your vote. And today is your last chance to do so!

One of our panels, “The future of connected beauty”, will look at how digitally native consumers are increasingly relying on technology to meet their ultimate beauty goals, and how brands are catering to that by focusing on delivering efficacy and personalization. The result is a beauty experience that blurs the lines between retail and at-home.

Our CEO Liz Bacelar will be hosting this conversation with Guive Balooch, global VP of the Technology Incubator at L’Oréal, a company that has been a pioneer in the beauty tech space. Together, they will help the audience better understand the beauty consumer’s increasingly digital behaviour, as well as how self-optimisation in beauty is becoming more and more reliant on tech. The audience will also learn about new technologies that aim to deliver highly convenient and personalized experiences, and what the future holds for the beauty industry.

Click to vote
Click to vote

So if you want to see this panel at SXSW 2019, please vote! But be quick, as public voting closes today. Doing so is easy, just login or create a quick PanelPicker® account via panelpicker.sxsw.com. Then find our The future of connected beauty panel and all you have to do is click on the “Vote Up” button in the top lefthand column.

Beauty technology is one of the industry’s most pertinent conversations, as brands develop the tools and services to correspond to their consumer’s high levels of expectation. TheCurrent has been watching this space for years: most recently in May, we interviewed Paul Peros, the former CEO of Foreo, a beauty device company who as of that month was on track to turning over $1bn a year; and in March, we talked to Balooch himself on the future of beauty technology. The beauty industry has also been presenting some of the most interesting innovations at trade shows we attend throughout the year, such as CES in Las Vegas.

Our other panels at SXSW include Blockchain for radical transparency and How streetwear turns hype into $$$. Please vote for them too!

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Editor's pick Podcast technology

L’Oréal on creating personalized touchpoints through beauty tech

L'Oréal's Guive Balooch and Rachel Arthur
L’Oréal’s Guive Balooch and Rachel Arthur

L’Oréal is on a mission to marry technology and beauty in order to enhance their customer’s lives, says Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oréal’s Tech Incubator on the latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast, hosted at SXSW 2018.

At the core of that purpose is the team Balooch runs, which works as an R&D lab for beauty tech. “When we started about five years ago, our goal was to make sure we could find the link between personalization and technology and find a way to get consumers the right product for them,” he explains.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

Since its inception, the team has developed products such as a connected hairbrush, a UV sensor worn on the nail, the first example of an augmented reality make-up app, and most recently, an on-demand system called Custom D.O.S.E. for SkinCeuticals, which dispenses serum personalized to the customer’s skin needs in under a few minutes.

Technologies such as AI and machine learning have conditioned consumers to become more demanding than ever in finding products and experiences that are relevant to them on a granular level, Balooch explains. But if you look at the beauty market today, off the shelf products simply cannot respond to the plethora of demands that individuals have, he suggests, especially when looking at skintones. This is where a product like Lancôme’s Le Teint Particulier comes in, in which consumers have a consultation that includes a skintone scan before generating a tailor made foundation for them.

L'Oréal's My UV Patch
L’Oréal’s My UV Patch

That’s something consumers have been demanding for some time, but the tech and science until recently has just not been possible, Balooch explains. Today we’re at a real inflection point however, meaning customization is only going to get better.

As is the case with all of L’Oréal’s beauty tech launches, the goal is to enable brands under the group’s umbrella to target consumers at a one-to-one level, removing any frustrations that arise during the shopping experience, while allowing beauty associates to focus on the human side of the interaction. For Balooch, this innovation mindset will push new or long-established beauty products to start adapting to change, thus becoming smarter over time. This means evolving the experience they offer the customer by leveraging more individual data, encouraging co-creation, and even coaching consumers themselves to become smarter about how to use their products.

“In 10 years time there’s no question to me that every person will have the ability to have the perfect product for them. I think that there will be much more co-creation – that we’re moving towards an era where the people are becoming the companies,” he notes.

Beyond developing a made-for-me final product, attributes of efficacy and seamlessness are always top of mind when launching new connected technologies, from the production process to the design of the hardware and software itself, Balooch says. When partaking in the D.O.S.E experience with SkinCeuticals, for instance, consumers are able to watch as the machine prepares their personalized serum from beginning to end. This not only helps create an emotional experience for the recipient, but does a good job at communicating the process in a transparent way.

For L’Oréal, that marriage between design and technology is key for customer-facing experiences. “Design is not just a secondary piece of what we do today with technology. [It] can actually fuel the tech itself,” says Balooch, who believes for an integrated experience, technology needs to be both beautiful and warm. The future, he believes, is a balance between such creative and engineering teams.

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
Editor's pick product

L’Oréal provides personalization with launch of on-demand skincare at SXSW

L'Oréal's CUSTOM D.O.S.E
L’Oréal’s CUSTOM D.O.S.E

L’Oréal is honing in on the trend for personalization in beauty with the launch of CUSTOM D.O.S.E at SXSW today, a technological service that can scan and evaluate an individual consumer’s skin and create tailor made serums as a result.

Developed for L’Oréal-owned skincare brand SkinCeuticals, D.O.S.E will act as a personal skincare lab, says Guive Balooch, global VP of the French conglomerate’s Technology Incubator, who worked on the project. “D.O.S.E acts like a mini skincare laboratory, combining lab grade formulation and factory grade manufacturing into a machine that sits on the counter. As we pursue our mission of beauty for all, we are inspired by the challenge of using technology and design to create innovative beauty experiences custom made for each consumer,” he says.

D.O.S.E’s pioneering technology is able to mix active ingredients – chosen to target the appearance of ageing skin, including specific issues such as wrinkles and discoloration – into a single serum. During the production process, a compounder can mix ingredients precisely drop by drop, combining active ingredients that historically were not able to be mixed outside a factory setting. This means skincare professionals can administer individual serums, for which through research L’Oréal has developed dozens of combinations for. To develop the service, the beauty giant researched more than 250 unique skin types.

“Our customers are consistently concerned with skin aging and discoloration, among various skin conditions that require a personalized approach to address them,” said Christina Fair, general manager of SkinCeuticals. “The D.O.S.E technology empowers skincare professionals to co-create personalized formulas that address patients’ unique skincare needs on the spot, in minutes. We’ve created a better ecosystem for them to offer enhanced experiences for their patients using technology to address specific skin concerns.”

The D.O.S.E experience begins with a one-to-one consultation with a professional who can advise the customer on the most relevant active ingredients to suit their skin. Following the assessment, all data is transferred to a D.O.S.E machine that mixes and dispenses the serum ready for use. Bottles are addressed with custom labels that include an expiration date and barcode for reordering.

The March 8 launch, hosted at media platform Fast Company’s Grill house during SXSW, is also showcasing L’Oréal Professionnel’s Style My Hair app, which suggests real-time 3D hair color services, as launched in January this year. Additionally on display is the Lancôme Le Teint Particulier custom blend foundation experience, which similarly to D.O.S.E begins with an expert consultation and ends with a made to measure formula that is blended at point of sale.