At-home skin-care devices are getting smarter as more brands are beginning to incorporate apps, artificial intelligence and sensors into their products to offer customers personalization and customized insight into their beauty routines.
Earlier this year, Neutrogena unveiled the Skin360 and SkinScanner with magnified imaging and sensors, and this week, both Foreo and Clarisonic released two tech-enabled devices that are leading the companies in new directions. Foreo is using artificial intelligence to enhance its silicone facial brush, the Luna Fofo, which has larger implications for the brand in the AI space, and Clarisonic’s new Mia Smart now comes with an app to help users customize routines — the app is meant to facilitate a new anti-aging direction for the brand. These devices are entering the market at a time when the U.S beauty device market is taking off — having seen a 40 percent year-over-year growth to $650 million, according to management consulting firm Kline & Company — and also when high-level technology like AI is becoming more common among beauty brands like Proven, LOLI Beauty and Function of Beauty.
Each brand has approached the route to customization and customer education in a different way. For Neutrogena, its device relies on sensors and cameras to offer users enhanced information on the state of their skin: It uses a magnified camera to take photos of a user’s skin, while sensors scan the size and appearance of pores, the size and depth of fine lines and wrinkles, and the skin’s moisture levels. Meanwhile, the Luna Fofo uses machine-learning AI to offer a skin-care routine to users that will evolve over time. Device sensors monitor the moisture level of a user’s skin, plus it takes into account personal data around skin type and texture that users enter in an accompanying app called Foreo For You. Clarisonic’s Mia Smart also comes with a dedicated app, which syncs with the device so users can track how often they cleanse, set reminders for when to change the brush heads and create their own vibration strengths for each device head.
“[Retail] is a market that is constantly evolving around what the consumer needs and what the consumer wants, and they don’t even know what they want,” said Beki Hoxha, director of business development at Foreo Americas.
Customization aided by technology helps educate consumers about their skin needs, which be helpful for the customer who is both hungry for information and leads a busy lifestyle, Hoxha said. Across all industries, expenditure on AI and machine learning— increasingly being incorporated into beauty gadgets — will grow from $12 billion in 2017 to $57.6 billion by 2021, according to market intelligence firm International Data Corporation.
Foreo positions itself as an on-the-go device company because its facial brushes are easy to clean and small enough to easily transport. But the new Luna Fofo is the company’s first AI device since the brand launched in 2013. Currently, the first version of the device has only one setting for its sonic vibrations, so as not to bog down customers with confusing features, but future versions will have additional sensors to detect air quality and the user’s skin condition in real time and to be able to suggest a skin-care treatment that is suitable at that very moment. This means the future on-the-go devices will become adaptable to customers who frequently travel or are sensitive to changes in weather seasons, for example, and will also be able to predict what kind of treatment, products and tools will be needed for the days ahead, according to Hoxha.
Clarisonic also views smart devices as a future direction for the company, as it is discontinuing its first and second generation Mia devices in order to make room for the Mia Smart, the brand said. The brand has been expanding past its initial cleanser devices, in order to focus more on anti-aging with massaging tools for the face to promote skin firmness, said Naomi Ryseff, director of global brand marketing. The new device is compatible with all nine brushes and two anti-aging massage heads, and the app and device are able to recognize which head type is being used in order to automatically provide users with the appropriate set timer and vibration strength.
“We realize now that we have a lot of questions about how to use the different heads, and as the devices become more complex, customers need a go-to area [like the Clarisonic app] to discover how to use the device,” she said.