According to L'Oréal, it is estimated that 50 million people globally live with limited fine-motor skills. As a result, many need assistance to carry out daily tasks and activities that able-bodied people sometimes take for granted. For those faced with such challenges, self-care and beauty practices can often seem out of reach. However, this should not be the case, and everyone, no matter their physical ability, should be able to indulge in beauty and cosmetics.
While there have been offerings in the past for those with mobility issues, such as Olay's easy-use lid and Degree’s inclusive deodorant, applying products is still a difficult task for some. To tackle this issue and champion a message of inclusivity and individuality, at CES 2023, L'Oréal unveiled HAPTA, "the world's first handheld computerized makeup applicator." The tool was revealed alongside Brow Magic, an electronic eyebrow makeup applicator that gives consumers perfectly personalized brows from the comfort of their homes.
"For L'Oréal, the future of beauty is inclusive. And this future will be made more accessible by technology," says Nicolas Hieronimus, CEO of the L'Oréal Group. "The two consumer technologies we are unveiling this year at CES represent the true purpose of our company: to create the beauty that moves the world."
The HAPTA device harnesses Verily technology, initially created to stabilize utensils, allowing those with mobility issues to feed themselves independently. In cosmetics, the technology offers users with restricted hand and arm mobility the opportunity for makeup experimentation with ease and precision. The device is handheld and powered by built-in smart motion controls and customizable attachments for applications such as lipstick that allow users an improved level of motion, offering solutions to struggles such as difficult-to-open packaging.
"Inclusivity is at the heart of our innovation and beauty tech strategy," says Barbara Lavernos, Deputy CEO of Research, Innovation, and Technology at L'Oréal. "We are dedicated and passionate to bringing new technologies powering beauty services that augment and reach every individual's ultimate desires, expectations, and unmet needs."
HAPTA is equipped with a magnetic attachment that allows 360-degree rotation and 180-degree flexion and a clicking feature that enables the device to be locked to a customizable intended position, making product applications easier. The tool contains a built-in battery that takes three hours to obtain maximum charge, which results in one hour of continuous use. The mobility gadget is set to be piloted with L'Oréal-owned Lancôme at the latter end of 2023, first as a lipstick applicator, with plans for additional product usage in the near future.
"For years, Lancôme has sought to provide every woman with beauty solutions adapted to their needs. Beauty tech has enabled us to fulfill this mission in an even more powerful way, revolutionizing how we develop beauty products and services and enabling greater personalization," adds Françoise Lehmann, Lancôme Global Brand President. "With HAPTA, we are going one step further by making beauty more accessible to use because everyone should have equal access to it."
Brow Magic was the second technological innovation announced by the brand. While the device is not specifically targeted towards those with mobility issues in the way HAPTA is, it was created to celebrate individuality and provide users with their best unique eyebrow shape that resembles that obtained from a professional service like microblading.
The device uses 2,400 small nozzles and printing technology with 1,200 drops per inch (dpi) printing resolution, and was developed in partnership with Prinker, a company popular for pioneering printed, non-permanent tattoos. Using L'Oréal’s ModiFace scanning technology—which has also recently been used in the rollout of AI skin consultations in UK retailer Sainsbury's—Brow Magic analyzes the face and recommends shapes for microblading, micro-shading, or filler effects, printing designs directly on the face.
The brow reader device is activated via the Brow Magic app in order to scan the face. Users then select their desired brow effect, shape, and thickness, apply the L’Oréal Brow Magic primer to their brows, move the printer across the brow, and finish with the application of a topcoat. Once the selected shape is applied, the printer remembers the consumer's selection and saves the shape for future applications. The printed brows are semi-permanent and can be wiped away with any regular makeup remover.
"The strength of L'Oréal's beauty tech program is supported through the quality of our partnerships," comments Guive Balooch, L'Oréal Global Head of Research and Innovation's Tech Incubator. "Often, we find a brilliant technology that is being applied to something outside the beauty realm. Combining L'Oréal's heritage of beauty with these advanced technologies allows us to create entirely new beauty gestures—reimagining the original technology and the traditional beauty experience in the process."
The two technological advancements come after L'Oréal was named as one of Time Magazine's best inventors in November for its Colorsonic device. The dyeing tool accurately applies hair color at home using recycled cartridges of dye and developer inserted into the device's handle, distributed through an oscillating nozzle, leaving users with salon-level results. HAPTA and Brow Magic have received the CES 2023 Innovation Award, furthering the cosmetics company's credibility as technology experts in the beauty industry. The duo will not only make beauty more accessible to all, but will also pave the way for the future of beauty, encouraging innovation for the greater good with no limitations or barriers. While there is no official release date as of yet, both products are expected to be available to consumers in the upcoming months of 2023.
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