How The Digital Realm Revolutionised The Way We Consume Beauty
‘The Perfect Match’. These three little words have caused undue heartache to women, for centuries. Not anymore. Technology, it turns out, is the knight in shining armour we’ve been waiting for. It has swept even the pickiest, most hard-to-please woman right off her feet, by offering her the perfect match, custom-built to her specifications. No, we’re not talking Mr Right, grow up, there’s no such thing! This is way better — bespoke beauty solutions that respond to your every need, whim and fancy. They will flatter, pamper and make you feel special. It’s a no-brainer, ladies. Ask Kim Kardashian if she can live without her vampire facial. Or Angelina J to ditch her customised caviar body wraps. No. Survival sans amour is doable, but sans armour is a whole different story. It’s time to reboot and reprioritise, because the perfect partner for your skin, your hair, your face and your ego won’t necessarily cost you an arm and a leg, most definitely not a broken heart.
Bespoke beauty solutions span a spectrum of costs and procedures. From the daunting Barbara Stern skin ritual involving extraction of your blood platelets and their infusion into your customised face cream to the more egalitarian skin pioneer, Prescriptives by Estee Lauder. The reason bespoke products appeal to women across borders and demographics is that they celebrate diversity. When every woman is distinct from the other, what sense does it make to use products that blur these distinctions, rather than enhance them? Plus, the millennial or Gen Z isn’t one to walk down the trodden path. She wants to blaze her own trail, in every aspect. She’s not interested in buying the lipstick worn by Emma Stone; she’d rather create her own signature shade, fragrance or nail art. And now, she can!
She can traipse into The Lip Lab in Paddington, London, consult the colour expert to identify the most flattering hue for her skin tone, pick a flavour and finish, tweak the shade if needed and walk out in less than 15 minutes with a bespoke tube named after her. She can choose from over a hundred mascara formulations and brushes from the city’s hot beauty brand Eyeko. She can wear a Le Teint Particulier, a bespoke foundation by Lancome from a colour palette of over 20,000 pigments. She can get a diagnosis of her unique skin concerns at Kiehl’s or No7 outlets and get hold of a serum that targets wrinkles, reduces redness, refines texture, brightens dull skin, and shrinks pores, in any permutation and combination. She can get Match Made or Cosmetics à La Carte to replicate a colour or texture from a photo, fabric swatch, a liquid, just about any reference. And leave with a tailor-made foundation, eyeshadow palette, lipstick or blusher without making a hideous dent in her wallet. She could also visit the scent shaman Sarah Horowitz to decant her soul into a bottle of fragrance, at the Blending Bar in California. While sitting right here in India.
That’s right — the digital era is the best thing that could happen to beauty and skincare. Finding ‘the one’ is just a fabulous algorithm away. Brands are launching apps that leverage facial recognition technology and artificial intelligence to mix and match ingredients and create a unique product specifically for the app user. No more wrong choices and shelves full of unused make-up that turned out to be completely unsuitable for you. Everything you buy now is bang on. The best part — you can shop in your shabbiest pajamas, snuggled up in bed.
My Beauty Matches, the world’s largest online beauty shop, kicked off the personalised-online trend. Now almost every bespoke brand offers analysis, interaction and ordering on its website. Start-ups like Match Made are reimagining the entire market dynamics with their innovative platforms and products. Bespoke portal Function of Beauty is powered by a proprietary algorithm that offers more than 300 million combos for a customised shampoo-conditioner set. Log in, create a hair profile based on type, structure, moisture level; pick your goals i.e. soothe scalp, nourish roots, split ends or oil control; select your preferred fragrance and product colour. Voila! You have your very own monogrammed home-delivered luxury haircare experience. Ditto, with skincare. Answer a simple online or in-store questionnaire for Sephora’s hottest-selling My Daily Dose serum set, and create a serum daily to target the need of the hour. Codage Paris uses the Haute Couture digital diagnostic tool to customise your skin fix, and Haute Custom Beauty’s online services are the closest thing to having a live-in skin consultant in your home. Plus, the Skin Identity tool from Skin Inc identifies skin type and builds skin cocktails for it. Looking for a unique hair colour shade? It can be yours with the help of an online technician at esalon.co.uk.
If you’re into phone apps, the trending MatchCo turns your iPhone video camera into a colorimeter to determine your skin tone and deliver a 3-in-1 foundation, primer and moisturiser to your doorstep. Sephora, the encyclopaedia of beauty, has a ton of zippy apps to let you scan, create, match or even digitally try products like lipsticks, foundations and eyeliners.
The more creative sorts can indulge their inner mad scientists with the amazing DIY kits available. Pick up a perfume blending kit made by artisanal brands like Atelier Cologne, Commodity, and Derek Lam from Sephora. Or the irresistible Hair Masque Cocktail Kits By Madam C. J. Walker. Palette London’s Create your Own Nail Paint Collection features five blendable paints that spawn a unique set of colourways. Dip into the Finding Ferdinand Lip Palette and mix away till you discover the colour you have been searching for, and they will replicate it for you. Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Lip Palette comprises a mixing plate, spatula and 18 shades that range from primary to neutrals. The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops allow you to lighten or darken your foundation. Absolution’s la Crème du Jour Anti Age Day Cream, La Solution and Anti Age Serum is a mix-and-match regime that gives you a complete yet flexible skin programme. Finding the perfect match has never been easier.