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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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Olay launches series of personalized beauty tech innovations at CES 2019

P&G-owned Olay is at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week announcing a host of products and services that aim to create a more personalized skincare experience for consumers.

The brand is announcing three major updates to its existing Olay Skin Advisor service that launched in 2016, as well as Olay Labs, a personalized software and beauty regime service, and the Olay FaceNavi Smart Wand, a beauty tech device that provides diagnostic skin treatments.

Olay Skin Advisor
Olay’s Skin Advisor

The Olay Skin Advisor initially launched as a low-tech solution to beauty recommendations which simply asked users to answer a short questionnaire online and upload a selfie. The newly updated version, currently rolling out only in the US, introduces the Olay Future You Simulation, the Olay Whips Simulator, and the Skin Decoder features.

The first allows users to visualize what their skin and face will look like in the future through different scenarios (such as daily SPF use or no SPF) to help them make better decisions on how to personalize their regime in order to prevent long-term damage; the Whips Simulator invites users to virtually try on products from the brand’s Whips line and display what their skin would look like as a result of using them; lastly, the Skin Decoder is a camera attachment to the user’s phone which delivers high-resolution imagery that allows for a detailed diagnosis and tracking of the skin over time. The technology is currently already in use in China for sales associates, as the brand is sold at department stores in the country.

Olay’s investment in evolving its personalized advice platform is a result of its huge success since launching in 2016, with the web-based application having been visited over 5 million times by customers.

Olay Labs
Olay Labs Moments device

In 2018, Olay lunched its personalization software Olay Labs, which aims to blend machine learning with human expertise to create a bespoke four-week skincare regimen. In order to achieve this the brand is deploys a an algorithm that can learn and adapt to the user’s skin in real-time and give it advise.

For 2019, it has announced plans to take this to the next level with the Olay Labs Moments, a device that will create bespoke products to the user, daily in their homes, by tracking their skin’s circumstances and reacting in real-time.

Olay FaceNavi Smart Wand
Olay’s Smart Wand

Lastly, also launching at this year’s conference is the Olay Smart Wand, which connects to a mobile app to offer consumers personalized diagnosis and treatment. The device uses electromagnetic technology to read the user’s skin and relay it to the app, which in turn creates temporary, dynamic programmable fields that help the device better drive skincare ingredients into the user’s skin, bespoke to their issues.

How are you thinking about product 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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product

Glow Recipe encourages fans to sheet mask in public with latest innovation

Glow Recipe - Watermelon Glow Sheet Mask
Glow Recipe – Watermelon Glow Sheet Mask

K-beauty brand Glow Recipe is aiming to help its fans keep up their beauty routines even when on-the-go with the introduction of a transparent sheet mask.

The launch is accompanied by a social media campaign that encourages consumers to ‘break boundaries’ when it comes to their skincare rituals by doing face masks in public and using the #maskseverywhere and #youjelly hashtags.

The mask is an extension of the brand’s popular Watermelon Glow formulation, whose original product, the Watermelon Glow Sleep Mask, propelled the brand into cult status. The cosmetics brand worked with a lab in Korea to ‘gelify’ watermelon extract that gives the product the transparent texture that helps lock-in moisture and looks almost imperceptible on the skin.

Co-founders and co-CEOs Christine Chang and Sarah Lee said to online publication Fashionista: “We know that not all our customers can be as shameless to sheet mask in the back of an Uber, so we wanted to create a beautiful, selfie-ready invisible sheet mask that provides the effects of ‘glass skin,’ which hopefully sparks this movement of sheet masking whenever you need that quick skin-fix, even if you’re en route to a first date.”

They explain that their hope is for the new product to allow more people to take the leap and self-care in public.


Beauty brands are often at the forefront of creating innovations that respond to new consumer mindsets and demands around convenience and efficacy. The industry is particularly making strides in developing products that adapt to a busy woman’s lifestyle and their need for on-the-go formats that don’t compromise on results.

For more on how the beauty industry is listening closely to its consumers and driving meaningful innovation accordingly, listen to our latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast with beauty device brand Foreo’s CEO, Paul Peros.

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Editor's pick product technology

Why design is critical to innovation at L’Oréal’s technology incubator

L'Oréal's UV Sense
L’Oréal’s UV Sense

L’Oréal has given as much dues to design as it has to science and technology with its latest release at CES this week.

The global beauty group has unveiled UV Sense, a battery-free wearable electronic that provides consumers with individual information of their ultraviolet (UV) exposure through a small design worn on the nail. The product will launch for dermatological skincare brand La Roche-Posay this summer.

It has been created in collaboration with visionary designer Yves Behar, founder of fuseproject, and comes from L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator. It follows the first stretchable skin sensor measuring UV exposure from the group unveiled at CES in 2016, called My UV Patch, and follows user feedback for a smaller wearable with longer wear and real-time data.

“We set out to create something that blends problem-solving technology with human-centered design to reach even more consumers who require additional information about their UV exposure. Whenever we develop a new technology, our goal is to make an enormous global impact by enhancing consumers’ lives,” says Guive Balooch, global vice president of the incubator.

I sat down with him to find out more. Head over to Forbes to read the full story.

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technology

CES 2016: L’Oréal patch measures UV exposure

sun_CES

Now for some serious innovation in sun protection… At CES, L’Oréal has unveiled a smart skin patch developed by its incubator team that can tell the wearer how much exposure he/she has had to harmful UV.

Called My UV Patch, it’s thinner than a plaster, lasts around five days and can be worn just about anywhere on the body that’s likely to get exposed to the sun.

It launches in 16 countries this summer and – even more interesting – will be free.

The patch’s photosensitive blue dye charges colour on UV exposure. That gives you some idea of your UV exposure but for a more accurate view, the wearer takes a photo, uploads it to an app and, hey presto, a full assessment of the UV exposure the skin has had.

The company told the BBC that existing wearables come as jewellery or wrist bands but are limited because they have to be worn on one part of the body. But L’Oréal is a specialist in products that can be worn more widely so this development makes sense.

And it’s not an instant product that changes colour on UV exposure then does nothing else. The fact that it can be worn for days allows users to get a broader view of what’s happening to their skin.

That said, having to take pictures and going into an app could be something of a block for many people. As consumers, we all want things to be easy and while the committed skin protector might be ok with the method, the people who are less likely to apply sun protection when they need to might be put off.

But, for now, it’s an interesting development and one that should be applauded for its laudable aims as well as for its future potential – patches such as this can be used in the future to measure a wide variety of other health and skincare-related issues too.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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Data helped Clinique win with ‘spotted eggs’ campaign

clinique

This is an incredibly simple but effective demonstration of data being used to inform a media and marketing buy.

Clinique ran a campaign a few years ago for its Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, and used eggshells with spots on them as a point of comparison for what happens to the skin over time.

Unsurprisingly, it bought search terms against it relevant to the product and its properties, one of which was ‘hyperpigmentation’.

What it swiftly recognised however, was that a lot of the traffic it was receiving from Google came instead via words like ‘spotted eggs’ and ‘freckles’.

“Needless to say that wasn’t in our media buy,” said Emily Culp, former VP of digital/consumer marketing and media at Clinique, now SVP of e-commerce and omnichannel marketing at Rebecca Minkoff. Speaking at the Shop.org Summit in Seattle this week, she added: “Our key term was hyperpigmentation, which is marketing speak. Few people would know that was what it was called, so didn’t know to search for it. We needed to think more like the consumer, so we started bidding against egg farmers.”

“The volume and velocity of data today is mind numbing. It can be incredibly overwhelming. But sometimes, if you’re creative with your data sources, it can actually be very simple,” she explained.