It is expected that by 2020, smartphone users worldwide will reach a figure of 2.87 billion. This is very important for the cosmetic industry because the number of devices that include applications and advances in the Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also increasingly growing.

Black Mirror is a famous series that gives us a glimpse of how technology can affect our lives. It is a series that always keeps us on the lookout because it depicts in a very creative manner how our interaction with the new applications, tools, devices and applications developed through IoT, AR, VR and AI will be. Netflix announced in June the release of “I am Mother” which deals with a robot that becomes the mother of the last human being in a post-apocalyptic world, all thanks to IA.

Cosmetic brands are using IoT, AR, VR and AI to provide new experiences and meet consumer needs in a different and more powerful way. We know that the consumer is becoming more demanding, and technology allows us to develop more personalized and precise products.

We usually see that some consumers fail to find the right foundation tone for their face, and we saw some years ago the launch of machines in stores that, with the help of algorithms and after a quick analysis of the skin, allow for the creation of customized colour formulations. The online market is growing at a giant pace in most countries, and that is why companies are increasingly using AR to improve the shopping experience. We are seeing improvements in facial recognition and image recognition technology.

There is also a boom of devices for skin analysis, which allows the consumer to make a quick diagnosis of the condition of their skin and receive immediate recommendations on which products to use. We have also seen the rise of “smart mirrors” that take a photo of the user and assess the state of wrinkles, spots, pores, lines and brightness to recommend products, routines and frequencies of use. In the market, we also see applications that show users how their skin and face will look in the future.

What’s next?

Printed make-up: Will the day come when the robots apply make-up? This year a make-up printer was presented at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is very innovative because this device scans the skin in real time and only applies make-up to selected points on the face, that is, make-up is used only where there are imperfections, spots or open pores. This device works with a camera that captures 200 photos per second of the skin to achieve an accurate application. Another design agency presented a printer idea that allows the make-up styles we can see on the internet to be downloaded and “printed” on people’s faces. That is if you like the make-up of a model on Instagram now you can have that same style printed on your face.

3D or “e make-up”, electronic make-up: One of the latest trends in beauty technology that does not involve the use of real cosmetics. Augmented reality provides many fun options, and we can download extravagant make-up looks that enhance the digital image. An artist who is breaking schemes in this field is the French Inés Marzet (Ines Alpha) whose creations are well known, viral and used by artists, musicians and models on Instagram. Electronic make-up can change colour, be in 3D or be iridescent, which is not possible in real life … for now! In the future, we will also see the launch of make-up lines inspired by the styles of electronic make-up. It is the age of electro-beauty!

Pocketsky – Portable light therapy: We have seen in the last fairs as in-Cosmetics, the progress in the launch of several technologies related to blue light and now that we are aware that we must limit our exposure to these wavelengths because of the impacts they have on our circadian rhythms and about some biochemical processes in the skin. However, if this light helps us stay awake… what would happen if we used it to our advantage?

I am Colombian, I love a good cup of coffee from Quindío in the morning, and this idea seemed fascinating to me. Recently, Pocketsky was launched. It is a device that emits a specific wavelength, which is placed on the face, in front of the eyes and helps us stretch when we require it – it’s the new digital cafe! The interesting thing is that this type of device will evolve with the advances of IoT, and in the future, we will see applications that suggest the joint use of skin care products. It undoubtedly opens the door to a whole new world of biochemical mechanisms, formats, concepts and cosmetic benefits. Voilà!!!

Air Pix – Ultracompact Drone for selfies: This is a pocket-sized drone specially designed to take better selfies. This new version presents a better camera and better battery performance. We are currently seeing in the market a great trend towards the development of new materials that immediately improve the appearance of the skin. Blurring, soft-focus, mattifying, imperfections correction and designed for extreme selfie are benefits that begin to evolve aligned to the new advances of IOT, AR, VR and IA to obtain the perfect selfie.

AI-Powered Acne Analyzers: Artificial intelligence allows the development of new applications to improve the diagnosis of acne and receive indications for dermatological therapy. The new applications take between 3 or 4 photos of the face and perform a total count of acne points and inflammatory spots, allowing daily monitoring of the improvement using the recommended cosmetic treatment.

Spoken beauty: This is a new milestone for Artificial Intelligence developed by MIT. Recently it has been possible to reconstruct the face of a person by recording his voice. The software is also capable of determining factors such as a person’s age, gender and ethnicity. This was created from voice clips of more than 100,000 volunteers. It is impressive because it manages to create links between the physical characteristics of the face from the voice of the person. In the future, cosmetic companies will be able to work on beauty patterns using the voice of consumers to personalize products such as cosmetic treatments, fragrances and make-up.

Black Mirror is short and intense and gives us different experiences. The new applications, developments and trends of IOT, AR, VR and AI in cosmetics are opening the door to a whole new world of creativity and innovation.

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John Jiménez is a pharmacist from National University of Colombia with a master's in sustainable development and specialization studies in marketing, cosmetic science and neuromarketing. He has 30 publications in scientific journals and a book chapter in cosmetic formulation. He has been the recipient of the Maison G. de Navarre Prize (IFSCC USA 2004), Henry Maso Award (IFSCC USA 2016) and best scientific papers at Colamiqc Ecuador 2009, Colamiqc Brazil 2013 and Farmacosmética Colombia 2014. He also has been a speaker at various international conferences in Europe and Latin America. Since 2019, he has written a trends column for In-Cosmetics connect, Since 2013 a trends column for Cosmetics & Toiletries Brazil and since 2020, a column on neuromarketing for Eurocosmetics. He also has authored and co-authored articles and served on the Scientific Advisory Board for Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine. Jiménez additionally served as president of Accytec Bogotá (2017-2019). He joined Belcorp in 2005 and currently is Senior Researcher for skin care, suncare and personal care categories. Before joining Belcorp, he worked in Laboratorios Esko, Whitehall AH Robins and Fresenius Medical Care in Colombia.

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