BW Confidential has taken a deep dive into how various tech devices will be shaping the beauty industry in 2015 and beyond. Here’s what they see as the leading innovations, including 3D printers, interactive mirrors, wearable technologies and interactive displays.
The 3D printer is poised to change the face of many an industry by giving consumers the power to design their own products. A prime example of trends to come is the Mink mini 3D color make-up printer, by Grace Mink, which lets the consumer print make-up colors at home. “People are becoming the makers of their products,” says futurist and play expert, Yesim Kunter. A beta version of the printer will be released this summer for about $200.
In 10 to 20 years it is thought that the 3D printer will have widespread uses, whether it be for medical purposes or for food. Even travelers may be able to have clothing printed and waiting for them at their destination. “Pricewise, 3D printers are still expensive, so it is cheaper to go to the shop to buy your makeup. But it could transition into bigger things. With a 3D printer you can print so many different materials, so if someone wants to look younger, the printer might print a material that can be accepted by the skin, for example,” says Yesim. “We’re already printing organs and a nervous system, so you should be able to print out your skin.”
If Amazon’s recent boutique for wearable technology is anything to go by, this category is now firmly mainstream and intelligent textiles and accessories that integrate beauty could be right around the corner. One example of a trend to come is with Google Glass, for which ModiFace, the makers of beauty apps and an augmented reality 3D mirror, is currently developing a beauty app. “We’re working on a wearable smart beauty app for Google Glass that can scan products you are looking at and tell you the best price and which one suits your face. We will see a lot more from this intelligent beauty area in the next 10 to 15 years,” says ModiFace CEO and Founder, Parham Arabi.
Looking ahead, technology will become even more wearable thanks to improved processes that enable smaller products with greater performances.
“Before we know it, it’s likely that the threads our fabrics are woven from will have some sort of tech capabilities—for example, sensors that monitor your health,” says Kate Unsworth, Founder and CEO of Kovert Designs. The company has developed a ring that vibrates when the wearer receives a text, email or phone call.
“Wearables will add an extra dimension to the beauty industry, providing us with the means to be more preventative, rather than simply having to rely on cures. For example, instead of wearing an anti-wrinkle cream, you could wear jewelry that could alert you if you exceed your recommended dose of UV rays, or clothing that monitors the elasticity or regenerative properties of your skin, providing a warning if you are in danger of developing cellulite, for example,” says Kate.
Product displays, shop windows and the products themselves look to be more interactive, says BW Confidential. Indeed, some predict the store might simply become an outlet with no stock: consumers will come to experience and order products. “Digital interaction at the point of sale will be further developed to improve the experiential approach. Tomorrow we may be able to sample a fragrance across the screen or digitally,” says Carlin International Beauty Project Manager, Elodie Nigay. French company Comactive is integrating 3D technology into product packaging and has developed solutions for sampling in-store. “Olfactively, [3D] sampling is becoming possible. For make-up, we need to accurately reproduce colors, but this will happen in the next five years,” notes Comactive Director, Christian Le Ba. “Finding the right foundation shade or trying the latest fashion look has always been a challenge for consumers and often results in high return rates for brands. With augmented technology and Kinect we’ll see brands and products in a new way, and consumer engagement will reach a new level,” says Brand Growth Marketing Partner, Kelly Kovack. “Taking the guessing out of buying makeup by allowing consumers to virtually try on items quickly and easily is a win-win.”
Digital Mirrors, Apps
Digital mirrors are fast becoming a prominent feature in beauty, and it’s only a matter of time before consumers have personal digital mirrors in their handbags to help them apply makeup or assess their skin. This year, app developer ModiFace launched a 3D Augmented-Reality Makeup and Anti-Aging Mirror for retail, as well as for tablets and other portable devices. “ModiFace’s 3D Mirror was the first mirror device that shows how makeup is applied to the face in real-time, but we’re just getting started in what beauty mirrors can do,” says ModiFace’s Parham. “The compact digital mirror of the future will be a smartphone that can analyze your face, give beauty tips, know your schedule (for example, job interview versus a night out) and based on that, preview different makeup and hair options.”
In other ways, like at home, bathroom and bedroom mirrors and T.V. screens may be able to assist the consumer in her beauty rituals. “Philips is already doing this,” says futurist Yesim. “[In the future] the mirror will be able to use sensors and the reflection of the shine on your face, for example, and take that information to tell you what to do.”
World of Robots
Robots already take on automated tasks in manufacturing processes and production, and have been trialed in retail for services such as bringing clothes to the fitting room. However, in the future, the robot is also expected to have capabilities to act like a human. At the MIT Media Lab, researchers are looking to build interactively social robots so they can partake in people’s lives, where it is hoped they will assist in physical therapy or language learning. With more interactive functions, robots will be able to respond to a person’s actions and facial expressions, according to the lab.
In consumer industries such as beauty, it is forecasted that robots could be more like personal assistants to accompany a consumer. In this way the robot might be able to help someone choose the most appropriate products, advise what color makeup or fragrance to wear on a given day, or apply products, such as makeup, with ultra-fine precision. Furthermore, in a similar way that robotic devices have been used to partake in meetings from a distance, personal robots one day might even shop and run errands for us.
Renewable Technologies and Energies
A big area of investment is in environmentally friendly and sustainable developments. Looking ahead, the way companies innovate with new-generation energies will have an important impact on trends. Products are already differentiating themselves: Thierry Mugler has its refillable Source fountain, Unilever launched the Compressed line of deodorants that boasts less packaging and Stila introduced its Solar Refillable compact.
Other recent inventions include edible packaging and water-free products. “There is already packaging that I would be prepared to eat made from potato pulp. Recyclable packaging is a huge area of development and is the center of innovation; there is pressure to act in a responsible way,” says Philips Vice President of Consumer Lifestyle Design, Grant Davidson. “In the future, we’ll see formulas designed to conserve our natural resources, for example, using fewer raw materials to create more anhydrous formulas to conserve water,” says Ali Poston, Senior Manager, Product Development at Kolmar Labs.
High-definition images for digital TV, 3D film and games are influencing the millennial’s outlook on beauty in a big way. At one extreme is the ‘human Barbie’ embodied by Russian model Valeria Lukyanova, while the colors and looks of animated cinema or gaming characters inspire mainstream items. “CoverGirl took ‘Hunger Games’ virtual and took [beauty] to a whole game-like level,” says beauty futurologist, Jeanine Recckio.
With Photoshop trends, consumers will want a fake skin finish and products are being developed with electronic properties to reflect a camera-ready finish. Likewise, developments with 3D and performance-capture makeup could soon give rise to more animated, electronically-enhanced formulas and interactive properties in makeup. “Products that create a digital effect on the skin are coming; it’s almost here,” says Tegan Taylor, a professional make-up artist who is behind the make-up technologies for 3D digital films such as ‘Avatar’ and ‘Call of Duty.’ The techniques and formulas used on a professional level, like phosphoresence, might creep into mainstream innovation, especially in formulas designed to capture and reflect light, says Tegan. “We already have makeup for high-definition [effects]. It remains to be seen how much the two will really cross over, using digital enhancement and [makeup] that is not visible to the naked eye.”
Devices and gadgets are becoming a bigger part of daily lives, making all around connectivity inevitable. “The influence of hyper connectivity is changing our lives. The growth of the internet is so swift that in the next 10 to 15 years we’ll all be connected,” says Leïla Rochet Podvin, Director of Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation. “Technology has a major influence on every aspect of the beauty industry, whether it’s engaging with consumers on-the-go, creating programs to see what a product will look like prior to purchase or developing diagnostic tools,” says Leïla.
Looking ahead, the interconnectivity of various devices will come into play, and brands will create clouds to store consumers’ beauty profiles. And while beauty products will integrate mini-computerized functions, further ahead the device or its functions could come in more minute forms, such as digital inks for tattoos or programmable chips for nail polishes. “Processor chips are so much smaller and easier to put into new [formats],” says Yesim. “Take the Google Contact Lens, in a drop you can put so much information!”
This report is part of BW Confidential’s The Future of Beauty Special Collector’s Edition, which retails for $75, and can be purchased by clicking here.