From virtual makeup try-on to skin analysis, AI beauty technology has long been targeted toward women. Now, brands are seeing AI’s potential for the men’s market.
On November 4, Edgewell-owned Bulldog Skincare for Men became the latest men’s brand to add a digital skin-care analysis tool to its U.S. website. It joins brands including Lab Series and Neutrogena in marketing the technology to men. Created in partnership with AI/AR beauty tech company Revieve, the tool allows men to take a selfie of their skin in order to receive a virtual analysis and product recommendations for their specific issues. With men’s skin-care brands focused on convincing entry-level consumers to upgrade their skin care, Bulldog Skincare for Men hopes that the analysis will provide a simple option for recommending a new routine.
“For someone coming into the grooming space for the first time and not really familiar with ‘What products are for me?’ or even ‘What is my skin type?,’ it can be very overwhelming and almost a little daunting,” said Lisa Gustafson, the brand manager at Bulldog Skincare for Men. “We felt there was a really great education opportunity for Bulldog to take the lead in the space and educate men about skin care, the benefits of skin care and what products are for them.”
The Bulldog tool tells men what their skin type is based on their selfie, and then analyzes over 120 skin metrics to provide a personalized list of product recommendations.
This is the first time Revieve, which works with companies including Shiseido, Ulta Beauty and Kendo, has created an AI tool specifically for men. Adjusting the tech to analyze men’s skin involved specific considerations, such as getting the app to recognize facial hair.
For men, “the barrier to going into the store and having a discussion and dialogue with that beauty advisor is quite high,” said Sampo Parkkinen, CEO and founder at Revieve. “So this is, for the male audience, in particular, a very easy, low-barrier way to start understanding their skin and what’s impacting it.”
A growing number of skin-care startups are betting on the growth potential for the men’s market, as men level up their skin-care routines.
The new tool also comes at a time when the use of AI and AR beauty tech has spiked during the pandemic. According to Parkkinen, Revieve tools have seen a 500% increase in use during the pandemic.
Estée Lauder Companies’-owned men’s care brand Lab Series also has an AI skin diagnostic tool on its mobile site, which uses a selfie to analyze eye dullness and puffiness, irritation and redness, uneven texture, dark spots, eye lines, and other lines and wrinkles. The tool then recommends a customized set of products to address the concerns.
Neutrogena’s Skin360 virtual assessment tool, meanwhile, allows users to select a box stating that they use products designed for men before receiving their assessment. Product recommendations are provided via email after a photo analysis and quiz.
The new tools are being introduced at a time when brands are seeing a turning point in getting men to adopt more sophisticated skin-care routines.
“Before there were so many stigmas, or it was just not looked at as something that was that important to guys,” said Gustafson. “But in the U.S., especially in the past 3-5 years, it’s become more acceptable for men to groom.”