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L’Oréal’s Stretchable Skin Sensor Forms Its Own Product Category [CES 2016]

L’Oréal’s Stretchable Skin Sensor Forms Its Own Product Category [CES 2016]
Design

With L’Oréal and PCH, connected devices and cosmetics collide to bring us a UV-ray patch

Rob Kleiman

Under the Las Vegas sun at this year’s CES, L’Oréal and PCH announced a partnership that could make skincare and beauty products a whole lot smarter. Together, the companies plan to develop and manufacture personalized beauty products and connected devices. The first product under this partnership is the My UV Patch, a connected cosmetic UV-ray monitor.

It’s the first-ever stretchable skin sensor available to consumers. L’Oréal and MC10, Inc., developed the technology, and PCH engineered the product for commercial production. This makes L’Oréal and its partners the first beauty-focused partnership to enter the stretchable electronics space.

Guive Balooch, Global Vice President of L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator says, “connected technologies have the potential to completely disrupt how we monitor the skin’s exposure to various external factors—including UV—and can inform consumers how to protect against them.” According to Balooch, there are plenty of benefits to these new materials. He says:

“Previous technologies could only tell users the amount of potential sun exposure they were receiving per hour while wearing a rigid, non-stretchable device. We’re excited to be the first beauty company entering the stretchable electronics field and to explore the many potential applications for this technology within our industry and beyond.”

This new product category and technical approach to personal care will be interesting to watch as L’Oréal continues to evolve from a legacy beauty company to a true tech player by bringing digital beauty experiences to consumers everywhere. As a greater amount of resources are put into this area, consumers will get increased opportunities to interact with personalized technologies and choose from products that suit their tastes in Mutable Fashion, which is a trend covered in the PSFK Labs’ 2017 Forecast report.

Liam Casey, CEO of PCH, proudly reflects on his role in the project:

“We work with a variety of industry leading companies to help them bring products from concept to consumer. These companies are passionate about brand, about design and the consumer experience. L’Oreal is one of these companies. The patch is the first of several handpicked products L’Oreal and PCH will develop together. The partnership brings together tech and beauty to deliver great product experience for consumers. This product represents the intersection of beauty and technology.”

The collision of technology and beauty is nothing new for Guive Balooch, a scientist dedicated to bringing cutting-edge technology to the beauty industry. As a part of his team’s work in the lab, Balloch led the development of the world’s first virtual makeup tester, Makeup Genius, which has already reached more than 14 million downloads, and he plays an integral role in L’Oréal’s exploration of flexible electronics. With experience in augmented reality, connected objects, customized beauty, 3D printing and bioprinting, he helps uncover disruptive innovations that will empower beauty consumers worldwide. Designed as a startup within a larger organization, The Technology Incubator inside of L’Oreal partners with entrepreneurs, academic institutions and experts across a diverse array of fields to unearth breakthrough research and first-to market technologies.

Scale will be a big factor in this partnership as it will give L’Oréal access to the full PCH platform, including design engineering and development, supply chain management, manufacturing, packaging, fulfillment and distribution. PCH works with many of the world’s best brands and hottest startups, taking products from concept to consumer, and every step in between.

“The beauty and fashion industries have a unique role to play in developing and leading the wearables category,” said Casey.

As the partnership tests the market for this device and others like it, its team of technologists will push to learn more about how consumers interface with the products. Devices like these may require users to add new behaviors to their personal care routine. “The My UV Patch is the first of many tech products that L’Oréal will develop with PCH, who is set apart by their ability to innovate and bring products to the market quickly,” said Balooch.

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Over time, increased personalization and richer insights into what people want will strengthen the consumer’s relationship with brands like L’Oreal. This shift may potentially lead to stronger customer loyalty. There is a high likelihood that these products will show up in major retailers in the department stores soon as opposed to some of the other novelty items on the market.

L’Oréal PCH

Get the most out of this year’s CES with PSFK CES 2016 Guide, featuring the best booths and events, as well as daily schedules and recommendations. Check out our coverage on PSFK and head over to our SlideShare page to download the full guide.

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