Personalised skin care brand Hop & Cotton forgoes algorithms for personal consultations

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Hop & Cotton is refusing to rely on machine learning to create custom formulations, instead arguing that the personal touch and precision can go hand-in-hand. ©Hop & Cotton
Hop & Cotton is refusing to rely on machine learning to create custom formulations, instead arguing that the personal touch and precision can go hand-in-hand. ©Hop & Cotton
Australian-based personalised cosmetics brand Hop & Cotton is refusing to rely on machine learning to create custom formulations, instead arguing that the personal touch and precision can go hand-in-hand.

The brand’s founder and principal formulator Ng Ee Ting said: “The beauty industry seems to be stuck on technology and computing-based trends but having personal direct communication means that we are not limited to algorithms assumptions, which in many cases are generic.

“With direct communication, we really can go into the utmost detail to create a truly customised products for the individual.”

Putting the personal in personalised beauty

Hop & Cotton determines the consumer’s skin care needs by starting with a questionnaire that takes up to seven minutes to complete.

It invites consumers state their skin type, major concerns, fragrance preferences and list products they have had adverse reactions to in the past.

Ng explained: “Sometimes a customer may not know what ingredient causes problems. If I know which particular products have caused problems for them, I can tell quite conclusively which ingredient is causing their skin to react.”

Once the company receives the questionnaire it will follow up with the consumer via email.

The email consultation will give consumers an overview of why they are experiencing certain problems with their skin and discuss the strategies Hop & Cotton will be taking to help them correct the issues.

Ng added: “We will also share some of the key ingredients we will use to help them address all their skin concerns and discuss what products they need​.”

Getting to know the consumer this way ensure Hop & Cotton’s formulators can create solutions that are “not just a generically or theoretically good for them,” ​Ng said.

“Even the good ingredients may not work on everyone. If we see that a certain individual is clearly not reacting to vitamin C – which is an effective ingredient – we will leave it out. We will select the key ingredients that the formulator has ascertained will work well for them specifically.”

Ng said this is the key difference that sets her company apart from other personalised skin care brands.

“This is what makes human communication different from machines and algorithms. In cases such as this, I think it’s important to not rely on algorithms.”

Defining personalised skin care

Ng believes that the increasing interest in personalised skin care is a double-edged sword for personalised skin care companies such as Hop & Cotton.

“Personalised skin care is gaining a lot of interests and attention and it encourages many companies to jump on this trend with products on its own. This in itself is the biggest hurdle for truly personalised skin care companies,” ​she explained.

She added: “Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon and releasing products that can be marketed along those lines. This means consumers really need to cut through a lot of noise.”

Ng said that she defines personalised skin care as products that ‘have been designed and made from scratch’.

“It’s like how you would go to a tailor to make a suit. It’s not something you put together with things are already pre-made.”

Ng believes it is important to work with the media to spread the message of what personalised beauty means.

“Here in Australia, we talk to editors a lot. I believe that information flows downward and they can help get the message to the consumers. I also write my own articles on the Skin Journal which can be found on the Hop & Cotton website.”

Related topics: Market Trends, Oceania, Skin Care

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