Augmented reality is undoubtedly one of the buzziest tech applications in beauty, but it’s not the only game in town. Recently there’s been a new player rapidly gaining popularity in the digital space—artificial intelligence. More and more brands are turning to AI to further enhance their product innovations. For some, that translates to pairing AI tech with consumer interaction to provide personalized product recommendations. But for fragrance house Givaudan, it means using artificial intelligence to interact with the brands themselves to create an easier, more precise way to formulate new products.

Givaudan Active Beauty—the company’s tech-focused ingredient and product innovation division—recently unveiled EVE, a virtual assistant designed to aid in new product development. In essence, the idea behind the program is to help make it simpler for brands to identify the best ingredients to formulate their products.

While Givaudan has an existing set of tools to assist in formulating, the company found that the process could still be overwhelming and time-consuming for some. “Most of our customers in the marketing and formulation department face a tremendous palette of ingredients among which they have to make their choice in a limited timeframe,” explained Pauline Martin, Givaudan Global Communications Manager. “EVE is an intuitive way to test different kinds of criteria. [The system] leverages human creativity by offering more choices in a short period of time, while limiting the selection of incompatible ingredients.”

The system is guided by an algorithm that uses an expansive list of parameters to filter options. EVE takes into account everything from the expected region of launch to market trends, product positioning, type of formula, and retail price range. By narrowing the scope, the AI system allows users to avoid wasting time on ingredients that aren’t a fit for their current market needs. And, there’s no concern about formula overlap, as according to Justine Catala, Givaudan’s Digital Marketing Project Manager, “EVE can already compute over two million options.”

It is precisely this level of precision that makes artificial intelligence so appealing to formulators and brands alike. “We are fully convinced that digital will be key for the future of research in the beauty industry,” said Pauline. “Artificial intelligence is among the most promising and powerful technologies for the future, but very few initiatives in the cosmetics industry have been implemented using AI codes.”

If it’s worrying this tech could create a Rise of the Machines scenario, Pauline assures that AI can only go so far on its own. “EVE works like a wizard giving you advice, but it is then up to [the customer] to unleash their full creativity and design their product.”

AI may not have been at the forefront of the digital tools conversation, but as initiatives like EVE bring awareness to the capabilities and uses for artificial intelligence, the possibilities the technology can unlock are boundless.