Bespoke beauty is harnessing tech to increase accessibility, celebrate differences, and deepen our connection to our skincare, says Camille Price.
British women spend an average of £570 on skincare annually. Though shocking at first glance, this statistic becomes more reasonable when considering the value-add of beauty and skincare products to our lives: an effective beauty routine can work to preserve our skin and increase its longevity, remedy our skin’s negative tendencies, and endow us with confidence.
Given our reliance on these products, most women are reluctant to purchase products from new brands whose efficacy for them is unknown. Forbes recently found that 55% of women are more likely to choose a trusted brand over one they had not used. This reflects women’s fear that a new beauty routine or a deviance from their usual regime might not work as well for their unique attributes, perhaps resulting in a dreaded breakout, dull skin, or an unnatural-looking makeup job, to name a few. But companies are beginning to vault over this barrier to entry with bespoke products, the biggest beauty trend of the spring.
As expenditure on beauty grows and popular opinion shifts towards viewing beauty products as an investment rather than an indulgence, cosmetics companies have begun to challenge the longstanding status quo of catch-all moisturisers and limited foundation shade options.
“As new data transpires, the role of biomarkers and environmental factors in an individual’s response to cosmetic ingredients becomes clear”
Prompted to differentiate themselves in an increasingly saturated and lucrative space, beauty companies have begun offering more variations of products across categories to cater to individuals’ unique skin types and corresponding needs. Established companies and startups alike are delving into researching personalised beauty products: those that are developed specifically for you.
The possibilities at the intersection of technology and the demand for personalised beauty, we anticipate, will be the biggest beauty trend of 2020. Companies have already developed diverse strategies to respond to this trend, employing differing tactics and harnessing patented technologies to capture a slice of the British beauty market, which the British Beauty Council valued at a whopping annual £24.2 billion last year.
Companies specialising in events, devices, and traditional cosmetics alike are capitalising on this booming market to bring bespoke beauty to you.
“Even though the patient isn’t sitting in front of me, I still care for my patients and have a relationship with them”
Kisaco Research seeks to bridge beauty and technology in its new annual Personalised Beauty Summit, claiming that “as new data transpires, the role of biomarkers and environmental factors in an individual’s response to cosmetic ingredients becomes clear.” Kisaco reports that 77% of female consumers expressed a preference for personalised
beauty products in 2019. Brands’ perception of the importance of this market is reflected in the popularity of the new Summit, tickets for which start at £999.
Curology, founded by a dermatologist in 2013, pitches itself as a “relationship, not just a sale.” This company matches you with a dermatologist who examines photos of your skin and asks a series of clarifying questions to create a personalised formula. Co- founder and dermatologist Nancy Satur says that, “Even though the patient isn’t sitting in front of me, I still care for my patients and have a relationship with them.” Each dermatologist and client work together to perfect the product, encouraging you to keep using Curology even if your skin woes are not immediately resolved. The company offers a trial-to- subscription model, resulting in
£15 monthly deliveries of your own branded formula, cleverly delivered in a tube with your name on it.
DNA results to enhance your personalised skincare
Chromozoom offers genetic testing packages across six lifestyle topics, one of which is Beauty. Chromozoom collects your DNA with a DIY swab (like popular DNA insight companies 23andMe and Ancestry.com) and then sequences 70 genes that it has identified as determinants for skin traits. Delivering your results with insights through an app, Chromozoom recommends how to curate your lifestyle to protect against undesirable skin traits towards which you are predisposed. The Beauty kit starts at £129.
Not all of these companies operate exclusively through the Internet. Some have added a face- to-face experiential element that endows you with a heightened sense of connection to your unique beauty solution. In a partnership with Boots Pharmacy and Sephora, technology company X-Rite has spent the last seven years perfecting a skintone- matching device called the CAPSURE. At the Boots beauty counter, the device is used to take 27 photos of your skin from nine angles under three kinds of light. The device triangulates your skin colour, undertone, and tone, producing a full profile of your skin’s shade and helping to match you with products best suited to your unique colouring. In-store use of the device is free, a service the pharmacies provide with the hope that you will proceed to buy your perfectly matched products in-store or online.
Personalised skincare routines
This movement has democratised skincare by increasing access: personalised routines and targeted beauty treatments traditionally provided through private dermatologists are now available through an app, at your local pharmacy, or with a simple cheek swab.
In addition to its economically inclusive nature, bespoke beauty celebrates and caters to our differences: in skin tone, sensitivities, and lifestyle. The customisable focus of these products intrinsically celebrates the elements that make us unique and convince us of our ability to not just tolerate but love our skin. (For once!) The self-love message of these products has been reflected in the rising popularity of models whose beauty challenges conventional standards.
Among these pioneers are Tia Jonsson and Winnie Harlow, who both have an autoimmune skin condition called vitiligo and whose unique appearances have been an asset to their modelling careers as beauty and fashion companies seek to depict women with characteristics as diverse as their consumers.
“I remember pulling all my hair back with butterfly clips when I was little and feeling really brave,” Jonsson told Vogue last year. She has since gone on to model for MAC Cosmetics and Sephora. Jonsson’s transition from self-consciousnes to celebration with regard to her natural skin is a journey beauty companies seek to recreate for you through personalised beauty. This movement thereby deepens the connection between you and your care products by making you feel proud and comfortable in your own skin, literally.
Bespoke beauty will continue transforming the industry through 2020, democratising skincare, celebrating individuality, and bringing you closer to your cosmetics. So what are you waiting for? Get out there, get brave, and find your match. Own the skin you’re in this spring.
Article taken from Vogue Fashion Certificate Vogue project by Camille Price.
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Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash
Photo by Brandless on Unsplash