In 2018, the global skincare category was worth $134.6 billion, according to Euromonitor, with new products coming to market constantly. Now, the latest wave of products is going beyond mass-produced creams and serums by harnessing the power of data to deliver personalised, ‘perfect’ skincare.

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In July 2019, Japanese personal care company Shiseido unveiled their new Optune skincare subscription, which uses an app to analyse users’ skin and produce daily skincare recommendations based on that day’s reading. The app takes into account the environment – including pollen count, temperature and pollution – as well as inputs like sleep, menstruation and even mood to calculate the optimal combination of five serums, all contained in the user’s at-home dispenser. With over 80,000 combinations possible, the serum cartridges are replaced on a monthly basis and cost 10,000 yen ($92) a month.

Optune was developed with ease and simplicity in mind as many consumers don’t have time to find the perfect skincare. At a press conference, Shigekazu Sugiyama, president of Shiseido Japan, said the subscription service targets people with “the dilemma of valuing skincare but struggling to find the time to find the perfect formula.” By utilising data, this innovative tool can deliver on skincare enthusiasts’ needs on an everchanging basis.

Due for release in summer 2019, Atolla, an MIT-backed start-up, is releasing their own data-fueled skincare subscription. Once a month, users test their skin, sending readings back to Atolla who uses machine learning to develop a personalised skincare routine which changes as one’s skin fluctuates through the months and seasons. As COO Sid Salvi said, “We use data to inform all our important decisions, so why not for taking care of our skin?”

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Opte device

P&G Ventures, a division of Procter & Gamble, is bringing this into the makeup category with the Opté™ Precision Skincare System, unveiled at CES 2019, a tool that scans skin to detect, cover and treat imperfections by applying targeted concealer and serum. The tech device, which combines “optics, proprietary algorithms, printing technology, and skincare in one device,” scans skin to find any blemishes or spots and deposits the exact amount of concealer needed to create a flawless complexion. By analysing skin anew each time it is used, the consumer gets a perfect finish every time.

“By partnering with leading scientists and experts across industries, we have been able to create a first-of-its-kind, digitally-advanced skincare device that is visibly transforming the look of skin,” said Leigh Radford, Vice President and General Manager of P&G Ventures. “Opté provides Procter & Gamble with an entirely new category of digital skincare to explore and a technology platform from which to innovate. We’re thrilled to introduce Opté on a world stage such as CES.”

The quest for ideal skin is driving tech innovations, utilising the increasing amounts of data available. Companies and their consumers are banking on the premise that the more data incorporated, the closer to perfection they can get.

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