Special Edition: Personalised Beauty in a Digital Revolution
Latest: L’Oréal to launch AI Perso lipstick device first in Q1 2021
The launch of its skin care version will come later in 2021.
Initially unveiled back in January 2020, L’Oréal’s Perso device used artificial intelligence (AI) and a patented motorised system to blend and dispense personalised formulas based on real-time data and trend analysis. The device had been developed to make skin care formulas like moisturisers, serums and under-eye creams, and coloured cosmetics including lipsticks and foundation.
Perso lipstick to launch ahead of Perso skin care
Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe, the head of L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator Guive Balooch exclusively revealed that L’Oréal would kick off its 2021 Perso launch with the lipstick device – a slightly slimmer design compared to its skin care counterpart.
“We’re going to start with lipstick, then in the second half of next year we will also launch the skin care version. We plan to launch both next year; we’re just launching the lipstick [device] first,” Balooch said.
This was the reverse of L’Oréal’s initial launch strategy in which it had planned to launch into skin care first, followed by coloured cosmetics.
Balooch said the Perso device for lipstick and skin care had slightly different designs – the lipstick device was slightly slimmer and included a removable compact on the top, for example – but both were powered by the same technology.
“We separated the skin care and lipstick because we wanted to provide the highest level of cleanliness. It’s better not to mix colour cosmetics with skin care formulas.”
Whilst L’Oréal was still finalising specific details of the Perso lipstick device launch, it planned to roll out the BETA device into a select number of countries in the first quarter (Q1) of next year, he said, with a full global expansion to follow later in 2021 for both the lipstick and skin care devices.
“There won’t be a long period of time between the BETA and the full launch, especially as this is an at-home device,” Balooch said.
Consumers can personalise ‘hundreds of colours’
Asked what sort of price-point L’Oréal hoped it could achieve with the Perso lipstick device, he said: “We are working on potential options – whether it be subscription-based or somehow making the device itself as accessible as possible – but our approach is that, under the brands we plan to launch it with (…) the actual cartridges that go in the device, per volume of product, will be in line with their normal price. A consumer won’t pay more for the amount of lipstick from the same brand; the difference is they can personalise hundreds of colours with just having three of those cartridges.”
Balooch said that consumers could search real-time colour cosmetic or fashion trends via the Perso app and then identify a specific shade or colour to be blended by the device. This offered the “magic” of consumers not only being able to be a part of a trend but also create a trend, he said. “It’s not about a company telling a consumer what to use; it’s a company giving a platform to consumers to get everyone around their trend and be part of other trends. To me, it’s the ultimate personalisation and inclusivity.”
Balooch said the Perso lipstick device would firstly launch under L’Oréal’s luxury coloured cosmetic brands but long-term the company hoped to “cascade that to consumer product brands”.
Phygital personalised beauty for ‘magical’ results
After five years in development, he said L’Oréal was extremely excited about the imminent launch.
“We’re really excited about it because what’s really magical about Perso is it is ‘phygital’ – a physical and digital experience together.” And this was a significant, upcoming beauty trend to watch in the personalised, customised space, he said.
“I think in the next three to five years, we will see a lot of physical objects that can give magical beauty results for people, and that’s because they will be powered by intelligence, in terms of data. …I see beauty becoming this incredible space where physical and digital can provide even more value.”