The Singapore-based company has plans to develop a complete digital skin platform and partnered with the Agency for Science Technology & Research and Nanyang Technological University on this first-phase project.
Reading the label
“CosScan is the world's first optical character recognition, algorithm-based cosmetic mobile app scanner that is personalized on each user's data, skin and product history,” according to the company’s media release about the app.
The Optical Character Recognition photo-scanning technology behind CosScan allows the app to read the label on a cylindrical package from just two images.
Users upload photos of the front and back of a cosmetics package and receive product recommendations as well as information about ingredients as they pertain to the consumer’s skin type. CosScan will give ingredient details on “associated side effects [and] risk analysis” too.
The app gathers information on each consumer by prompting the user to answer a few questions about their skin. (It also collects data on consumers’ purchasing habits.)
Those answers, along with the ingredients of a given product, are run through the CosScan algorithm where it returns results that feel unique to the user.
The algorithm “incorporates a cosmetic database of over 17,000 skincare ingredients,” explains the release. “And it is able to detect the presence of steroids, preservatives, antibiotics, antifungals, botanicals and other chemicals in the skincare product.”
Besides these designations, the app aims to help consumers understand the risks and advantages of a product: "Are the cosmetic ingredients inside the product beneficial or harmful for my skin?" and make purchasing decisions: "Which product should I buy for my skin?"
Beauty apps offer consumers an array of tools for analysing, selecting, testing, recommending and purchasing personal care products and cosmetics.
The stated objective for CosScan “is to empower all consumers about the ingredients in their personal care products and to revolutionize the way customers choose and buy skincare products," according to Jacqueline Goh of SkintechMD.
ToxFox, from the German NGO Friends of the Earth, maintains a database of product formulations and is designed to inform consumers when a product contains “suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals,” reported Cosmetics Design.
The NGO works on environmental issues. And this app is clearly an advocacy tool, giving consumers access to information that supports their mission.
L’Oreal’s MakeUp Genius app uses facial recognition software. Consumers virtually test how products will look on their own face and have the functionality to share the images and purchase L’Oreal makeup.