Nearly two years after debuting as a prototype concept at CES, P&G is finally launching its Opte device brand.

Opte is designed as a precision skin-care and makeup hybrid device that reduces or eliminates the need for complexion products such as foundation. Opte itself is not a makeup product, nor is it a skin-care product, exactly, according to the brand.  Opte launched in China on Aug. 1, and it will otherwise only be available in the U.S; it is launching DTC only on Opte.com by the end of September, and soon there will be an undetermined number of dermatologist offices that will also retail the product. Within the U.S., there are 20,000 people on a waitlist on the website, said Matt Peterson, Opte CEO. Wait-listers found Opte through digital advertising tests conducted through July and August on Facebook, Instagram and Google. Starting Monday, those on the list can purchase the product and the device will begin shipping. In October, Opte will open up to the general public for purchase.

Opte claims its device is suitable for 98% of skin tones. It sells the device and a single cartrage of serum for $599 — refills are $129 The refills last approximately 90 days, and a subscription service will offer an undetermined discount to subscribers.

“Stay-at-home solutions are not going away; it isn’t a Covid-19 trend. Coronavirus just made the at-home category [expand] faster,” said Peterson. “People care about control, and part of that aspect of control is being able to do it themselves at home, whether that is around makeup or food, or [anything else]. Secondly, everyone wants a lightweight, healthier look.”

Opte is designed to allow users to forgo complexion makeup by concealing and fading spots simultaneously. Opte works by digitally scanning the skin and analyzing the complexion. It then aims to camouflages age spots, sun spots and hyperpigmentation by depositing a small amount of a serum as a treatment. The serum contains niacinamide and white pigment made from titanium dioxide (also a primary ingredient in sunscreen), as well as iron oxides to lighten the spots and fade them over time. Because there is no makeup residue, the Opte treatment does not require wiping or taking off at the end of the day and can even be applied at night, if desired. Peterson added that the serum is a clean beauty product.

“What Opte stands for today is precision skin care,” said Becky Kaufman, P&G Ventures director of R&D, and who has worked on Opte for the last seven years. “We would love to see that [concept] continue to grow into a category of its own. This is about revealing the natural beauty of your skin.”

Developed under P&G Ventures, Opte is now transitioning to be grown, marketed and branded under M13, a venture capital firm that maintains M13 Launchpad, which serves as a brand incubator. P&G is still a significant shareholder of Opte but Opte owns the intellectual property. P&G Ventures previously worked with M13 on the Kindra menopausal personal care brand.

The device market has been undergoing a unique transformation over the last three years, and even more so during coronavirus. Brands and products focused on anti-aging and that incorporate advanced technology have faired well. Clarisonic’s demise was partially attributed to a change in consumer habits around skin care and devices. Opte’s arrival on the scene not only focuses on a more natural (or no-makeup-makeup) appearance, but also specifically on educating consumers around a more “healthy appearance” rather than beautiful appearance, said Peterson. Like many other devices, Opte is priced at a luxury tier that can make it a barrier for consumer adoption.

The go-to-market strategy for the next four months relies mostly on launch publicity through consumer publications, influencer gifting and digital advertising through Facebook, Google and Instagram advertising. Communications and education will focus on explaining how Opte works and the precision-skin care concept.

“The thing that makes this so unique is that it’s a combination of beauty as well as technology,” said Peterson. “You’re just going to continue to see how technology helps shape the [at-home, clean and skin care] categories in different ways.”