Optune is Shiseido’s first subscription-based service and costs ¥10,000 ($92) a month. This will give users access to a dedicated application that uses an original algorithm to analyse skin, environmental and sleep data.
The Optune service is currently only available in Japan, but may expand abroad depending on its local success, said the company.
Shiseido added that a key motivation behind the establishment of this service was to cater to users that have to juggle hectic lifestyles: “In recent years, there are more and more women seeking a balance between work and home life, and an increasing number of them cannot spend time on daily skincare.”
Skin data collection
The Optune app analyses and collects data from skin using the phone's front-facing camera. At present, it is only available via the Apple store for iPhone users.
Skin conditions can vary day to day due to external factors such as weather, urban pollution, pollen levels, as well as internal factors including sleep, stress and menstrual cycles.
According to Shiseido, the app is able to capture all these factors along with the user’s current skin conditions. It also includes the function to sense biological rhythm disruption, which enables it to detect biological rhythm through movement during sleep.
“When users set the sleep measurement function provided, the app detects movement during sleep, identifies the disruption of the users’ biological rhythm caused by such movement, and reflects results in the skincare solution provided the next day,” said the company.
Results of the analysis are then sent to the dedicated device which contains five serum cartridges called Optune Shots. The formula is dispensed automatically when the users place their hand into the machine.
The cylindrical machine monitors quantities of Optune Shots, enabling the delivery of new cartridges to users before they are depleted. New cartridges are selected based on the latest skin measurement data and environmental factors.
“The algorithm and Optune Shot have been developed to enable comfortable use for all skin care patterns based on knowledge derived from the research and development of cosmetics products and beauty care,” said Shiseido.
Investments into personalisation
This is not Shiseido’s first foray into personalised skincare. In 2017, the company acquired MATCHCo, a California-based start-up.
MATCHCo’s technology allows customers to scan their unique skin tones through its mobile application and uses the data collected to blend bespoke foundations.
Shiseido CEO Masahiko Uotani said the acquisition would allow the company to offer more value to its customers.
“Creating innovations is an area of special strategic focus for Shiseido Group, and we look forward to offering more unique value to consumers around the world. This will now be made possible through accelerated innovation in rapidly evolving digital tools and customised products.”
Shiseido is not the only beauty company to embrace technology. Last year, L’Oréal acquired Modiface, an Augmented Reality (AR) beauty company.
Since the acquisition, L’Oréal has partnered with retailers such as A.S. Watson and Amazon to offer ModiFace services to consumers.