While the world is patiently working out a way to live with this ‘new normal’, the role of beauty – how we express and access it – has changed overnight. The resounding message of wash, wash and wash your hands, load up on anti-bacteria and avoid touching surfaces has brought with it a demand for new experiences — we’re talking ‘touchless’ and ‘contactless’ solutions that curb hygiene concerns while still helping customers navigate the beauty world and make purchase decisions with absolute confidence.
With traditional sampling and swatching taking a back seat, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) have taken center stage with brands looking to reinvent the way their customers discover and buy beauty products. These clever technologies help brands decipher exactly what the customer wants and needs, all in the matter of seconds. Genius, right?
Imagine being able to experiment with different lipstick hues, try on numerous foundation shades, all the while sitting on your couch —The most action required is a few flicks of your mouse. The best part? It is equal parts safe and sustainable. There’s been a major ‘tech-celeration’ in this area with a whole lot of brands embracing virtual try-on tools; L’Oréal Paris’ online tool, Skin Genius analyses your skin through your phone or laptop camera to deliver a custom-made skincare routine, while, Estee Lauder’s virtual lipstick try on allows you to experiment with a whopping number of shades, with zero residue left between testers. Olay’s doing it too, with its smartphone skin service called Skin Advisor, it analyzes your skin based on a single selfie and your current skincare preferences. By determining your skin’s age, the AI-enabled app gives you a personalized skincare routine. Over a million women have put the app to test and 94% of them agreed that the products recommended were beneficial for their skin. But...it doesn’t stop there.
The fear of contamination through touch has led brands like Clinique and Revlon to create an innovative, woven antimicrobial technology into their makeup brushes. It works by coating every bristle in an invisible antimicrobial solution that eliminates bacteria to offer extra protection. Though, we might not be able to leisurely stroll into beauty stores or our neighborhood salon like we used to, we can connect with makeup experts, dermatologists and hair stylists via virtual chat boxes, and talk through their top recommendations and watch them swatch the highlighters you weren’t quite sure about. Bobbi Brown’s “live chat” feature provides customers with an opportunity to ask beauty related questions directly to its in-house expert. While companies like Guerlain and Caudalie have been offering virtual one-on-one consultations with their experts via Zoom.
With the demand for ‘bespoke formulas’ and ‘personalization’ drastically increasing, many companies are relying on tech-based beauty to provide high-grade treatments that you can pamper yourself with from the comfort of your own home, which feels particularly incumbent during lockdown.
Neutrogena’s 360 Skin Scanner uses sensors to measure moisture levels on different parts of the face and imaging technology to track wrinkle depth and pore size and recommended ingredients for various facial concerns. So, you can go ahead and cater to your skin’s needs without stepping out.
Simply put, ever since the Covid wave, it’s become imperative for brands to adopt a more all-rounded approach to beauty. To deliver a coherent customer journey that will not only join the dots between online and in-person, but also help brands champion the new normal of social distancing.