Robotic cosmetics

Robotic cosmetics

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… The Star Wars series tells the story of the Skywalker family, who are able to perceive and use “The Force”, which allows them to develop abilities such as telekinesis, clairvoyance and mind control, among others.

R2-D2 is one of the most famous robots in the world and one of the most peculiar characters in the series. We have seen it in 10 of the 11 Star Wars movies. R2-D2 stands for Second Generation Robotic Droid Series-2, according to a Star Wars encyclopaedia published after the film’s premiere. This robot’s function is technical, as it can repair any part of the ship, assist as a navigator and also provide valuable information on many probability data in the missions.

In 2024, we are seeing robots begin to take centre stage in many types of industries. I recently read an article published by the portal which inspired me to write this column.

It was recently announced that humanoid robots have just signed a contract to work in BMW factories. This has been the first contract with humanoid robots in history. The article mentions that “the general purpose robot Figure 01 is 170 cm tall, has a payload capacity of about 20 kilos, weighs 60 kilos and has a range of up to 5 hours. It walks at a speed of 1.2 m/s. Its distinctive feature is that it does not work by programmed commands. It has a “ChatGPT” in its head, and thanks to artificial intelligence it is able to learn tasks, simply by watching explanatory videos”. The article also mentions that the robot can learn other activities on its own.

Robotics is also starting to set trends in cosmetics.

Last year, the magazine Cosmetics and Toiletries published an article on the subject, mentioning that AI and robots are helping to develop patents and beauty products. Some of the activities they can be programmed to do include preparing samples for hair fiber product efficacy analysis, as well as robots that wash, condition and dry hair to test formulations.

One application of AI is related to the optimisation of experimental designs for the development of make-up shades. The publication also mentions something very interesting: “robots do not replace jobs, but their function is to condense massive amounts of data to create consistency in samples and testing”.

Cobots = collaborative robots. Cobots are on the rise in medicine and cosmetics. The portal indicates that: “As the life cycles of medical and cosmetic products shorten, collaborative automation brings agility to manufacturing. Robotic arms can be used to maximize production and ensure consistent quality, and can then be quickly redeployed for new product lines.

Cobots are used throughout the industry to manipulate machines and conveyor belts, assemble devices and products with precision, and package items in blisters, cartons or pallets. Cobots help you reduce the risk of human contamination in delicate processes and clean environments as they can be used for the handling and assembly of sterile products and medical devices or implants. Cobots can also free workers from material handling tasks in operations that can be risky because they generate a lot of dust, noise and high vibration, allowing them to move on to higher value tasks”.

The new R2-D2s at the service of cosmetics in 2024 are integrated with artificial intelligence to optimize beauty services. In some cities, we see, for example, robotic arms specialized in placing eyelashes and applying nail polish, achieving innovative designs in the nail-art trend. In this regard, the portal indicates that: “while artificial intelligence robots are advancing in the beauty industry, fears of being replaced by machines are alleviated by understanding that these technologies are designed to complement, not replace, the skills and artistry of lash artists. The beauty industry thrives on human creativity, and the personal touch that lash artists bring to their work is something that machines cannot replicate.”

In Star Wars, we saw that the Trade Federation was a transport and interstellar trade conglomerate during the last years of the Galactic Republic, so powerful that it had its own representatives in the Galactic Senate.

In 2024, we are seeing the potential contributions of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) to cosmetics. The website states that: “the International Federation of Robotics connects the world of robotics around the globe”, and its objectives include: “to promote the positive benefits of robots for productivity, competitiveness, economic growth and quality of work and life” and “to promote research, development, use and international co-operation in the entire field of robotics”, among others.

Surely, we will soon start to see partnerships between the industry, the cosmetics academy and this kind of organization to generate innovations never seen before in the pursuit of beauty.

In February 2024, we saw a surprising news story: we met a bipedal robot with muscle tissue that can walk, stop and turn. A team of Japanese researchers created a biohybrid robot, made mainly of silicone rubber and strips of skeletal muscle tissue cultured in the laboratory, that mimics human gait and works in water.

Biohybrid robots will be protagonists in the near future in cosmetics by participating as “volunteers” in cosmetic efficacy tests. Thanks to their biohybrid composition, cosmetic testing robots will have a dermal and muscular composition similar to humans, so that companies will be able to test multiple products on the same individual, carrying out efficacy studies of active ingredients for skincare and pre-selection of formulas before starting final tests in humans.

Biomimetic robots are also an interesting concept because they imitate the shape and movement of living beings. These robots could be more efficient and adaptable to complex environments. Robots will be used to perform irritation, allergy and efficacy tests of cosmetic products quickly and efficiently. This will reduce the need for animal testing and contribute to a more ethical cosmetics industry.

Skin diagnosis is another interesting chapter in this trend. This year we will see how robots with AI will be able to diagnose skin problems and recommend personalized products for their treatment.

  • Application of cosmetics: Robots will be able to apply cosmetics precisely and uniformly, even in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Shopping experience: Robots will be used in cosmetics stores to help customers find the right products and offer personalized advice.
  • Mega-personalization: Robots will be able to analyze the customer’s skin type, tone, specific needs and preferences through sensors, scanners and AI. With this information, they will be able to create personalized cosmetic products with exact ingredients and quantities for each person. This will allow for greater product effectiveness and a better customer experience.
  • Augmented reality boom: Robots will be able to show customers how they would look with different cosmetic products from various categories before purchasing them. This will help them make more informed and confident purchasing decisions.

Robots could be used to develop new cosmetic ingredients with specific properties. In the area of ​​quality, robots can be used to perform more precise and efficient quality control of cosmetic products. On the other hand, robots could be used to create more personalized and effective marketing and advertising campaigns.

This is the way… robotics have the potential to revolutionize the cosmetics industry in 2024. Princess Leia would surely be surprised to see how robots can offer customers accurate diagnoses, personalized products, new forms of application, shopping experiences more personalized and more sustainable production. Robotic cosmetics is one of the great drivers of innovation in our industry this year.

Enjoyed this article? Get more by subscribing to our newsletter!

Feeling inspired to see ingredients and trends in action?

Then why not visit one of the in-cosmetics events around the world?


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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *