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Forget Frivolity: Beauty Tech is Big Business

Beauty is often seen as a frivolous pursuit, however, pair beauty with cutting-edge technology, and you’re looking at a $42.9B market. Beauty tech is a huge industry; from the Opte skin perfecting makeup printer to at-home IPL treatments, innovation in the beauty space is keeping pace with every other tech sector. With printable makeup and skincare already on the market and app-based tech that can diagnose skin conditions from a selfie, what’s next? 

If trends at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 are anything to go by, beauty tech is not only on the rise, but is thriving. Show organizers “saw a 10 percent increase in beauty-focused exhibitors” including high-end cosmetic devices that go beyond the jade rollers, micro-needling and light therapy that was innovative only a few years ago. 

Beauty tech is engrained in consumers' everyday lives and brands are turning to tech to engage with existing and new customers like never before.

Beauty Tech Everyday

When does something go from concept to reality? When the public adopts it into their daily lives. Nowadays, consumers are able to perform almost every beauty-related treatment at home thanks to advances in beauty tech. Here are a few examples: 

  • Professional nail salon results without leaving home? Here are a multitude of UV lamps at every price point to help achieve flawless manicures.
  • Don’t feel like exposing your most vulnerable areas to a stranger? Grab any of these at-home laser hair removal devices to zap away unwanted hairs from the comfort of home.  
  • Want glowing skin but need to skip the spa? Snag this handy tool that can help manage complexions with calming heating therapy, cooling cryotherapy and LED treatments.

While all these devices are impressive, there’s a more direct way beauty tech is incorporated into consumers’ lives - via their smartphones. Utilizing artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology, there are myriad applications that perform functions like analyzing selfies to diagnose skin issues, helping makeup enthusiasts curb buyers remorse and transforming visages in real time, during live streaming and video sessions. 

What This Means For Brands

While crafty startups and ambitious entrepreneurs were behind early beauty tech innovations, as the industry has grown, big brands have taken notice and are now looking to technology to form a deeper connection with existing customers and lure new ones in. In other words, if beauty brands don’t want to become obsolete, they need to not only keep up with the times, but also innovate.

For example, beauty giant, L’Oreal, has taken huge strides in the beauty tech arena, offering so much more than the affordable cosmetic products it was widely known for. The company is so entrenched in the beauty tech space that the L’Oreal Technology Incubator has been established, spawning some of the most innovative new products out there: 

  • Perso, for example, is an AI-powered device which gathers environmental data and skin diagnostics to blend on-the-spot cosmetics.
  • The Incubator’s Water Saver is a sustainability product for salons that works by minimizing water droplets in sinks while simultaneously increasing their velocity. According to L’Oréal, this will help reduce a salon’s water usage by 80 percent. 
  • My UV Patch is L’Oreal’s first UV sensor. It comes as a wearable patch and uses photo-sensitive dyes to track UV exposure. The accompanying app prompts users to scan the patch to get an update on their UV exposure and recommends lifestyle changes can help protect skin.

What This Means For Communications Professionals 

Considering the extremely fast pace at which the beauty tech space is growing, what does that mean for communications professionals working within it? In short, opportunity. 

At the core, public relations professionals are storytellers. Whether a story works to educate consumers, build a brand, establish a new discipline or all of the above, it’s essential to get the word out there. In terms of beauty tech specifically, there are so many facets to a device, app or service, that the possibilities are endless. There’s everything that goes on behind the scenes: the science behind a product, the testing and safety precautions. The end user story is also an important angle, but in many ways secondary to the genesis narrative, because that’s what helps carve out niches within the larger industry. 

20 years ago, internet of things (IoT) technology existed, but use cases were limited to tech giants like Microsoft and IBM. Nowadays, IoT is not only a major part of everyday life, but the beauty tech industry. From smart mirrors to smart brushes, for many consumers, the first touchpoint they had with these products was an article read in Vogue, Popular Mechanics or Forbes, and the public relations professional who placed it there helped usher in a new wave of tech. 


Photo Courtesy of Estudio Bloom on Unsplash


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