Brands And The Future Of Personalization (Part 2)

Franco Varriano
February 10, 2021
 min read

This week we continue our exploration of the brands that are driving the future of personalization.

Part one of this series revealed innovations in the fashion and apparel industry, checking out the personalized product experiences on offer from Nike, Alibaba's FashionAI, and Gucci. Today we dive into the world of Beauty Tech to learn about personalized beauty products and experiences.

With bespoke products, formulas, and experiences, the beauty industry is one of the first to embrace—and cash in on—personalization.

It's hard to know exactly when it all started for the beauty industry—some could say royals have been personalizing their perfumes for centuries! For the sake of this article, we’re focusing on the most recent, high-tech approaches that started to take off four to five years ago.

We've broken this mini-report into three sections: smart retail, emerging technologies, and personalized, on-demand products.

Smart retail

Recent years have seen a rise in social media and direct-to-consumer (DTC) products. This has pushed larger, more established brands and retailers to increase their appeal and provide a better customer experience than what can be found online. Many are turning to smart retail environments to do just that.


Just in time for Black Friday 2018, Covergirl opened its first-ever retail location: a high-tech flagship store in NYC. The retail space was designed as an "experimental makeup playground.”

Customers are greeted by Olivia, the world's first beauty AI assistant, built using Google AI tools.

The store also features Augmented Reality (AR) glam stations where customers can apply virtual lipstick, eye shadow, mascara, blush, and foundation, effectively trying out and personalizing their look before they buy.


Japanese cosmetics brand SK-II launched its "Future X Smart Store" concept in Tokyo in early 2018. A year later, the brand brought its innovative experiences to Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The concept store is a seamless "phygital” retail environment where visitors can learn more about their skin through immersive and personalized mixed media experiences that merge the physical and digital worlds.

Emerging technologies

Augmented Reality (AR) is quickly spreading to mobile apps, web e-commerce stores, and social apps. This is shifting what is possible for beauty brands and customer experience.


In 2018, L'Oréal acquired an AR company called Modiface which specializes in technology applications for the beauty industry. Modiface has a range of products, from retail mirror software to mobile and web tools that enable simulated makeup application.

These tools mean customers everywhere and with any device can virtually try on beauty products and personalize their look before buying their favorites.

In late 2020, L'Oréal introduced its first virtual makeup line, Signature Faces, rolling out beauty product filters on popular apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Snap Camera, and Google Duo.

Pushing its product personalization efforts further still, L'Oréal recently unveiled a device called Perso. Once launched, the device and mobile app will leverage information about customers and their home environment to create personalized skincare, lipstick, and foundation products. Perso can even blend these cosmetics on-demand and at-home.

Personalized, on-demand products

Physical product formulations are the last category of beauty and personal care products to get the high-tech personalization treatment.

These personalized products are created in two ways:

  • i) A product recipe is generated based on unique and specific volumes of ingredients and other personalized factors.
  • ii) A product is produced on-demand when it’s ordered by a customer.

Here are the companies leading the way:


Prose is a made-to-order hair care brand founded by Arnaud Plas, the former VP Digital & E-Commerce Strategy at L'Oréal.

Prose customers complete an online consultation survey that asks about everything from hair type and texture to lifestyle habits to environmental exposure (pollution, UV, humidity, hard water, and wind). Even diet and stress levels are factored in.

Those 135 data points are used to create a custom product that accounts for personal preferences, such as whether a customer would like their product vegan or fragrance-free.

Similar to Prose, Function of Beauty produces personalized hair, skin, and body care products based on the results of an online quiz.

Neutrogena MaskiD

Neutrogena MaskiD is a micro-3-D-printed facemask where customers can customize the product ingredients and shape of the mask. With a launch date expected soon, the future of this product is very promising.

The experience is the product

The beauty industry has long recognized the value of product (and now experience) personalization.

As new technologies, science, and production methods have improved or become available at-scale, the beauty industry is among the earliest adopters.

If you're fascinated by the future of Personalization 2.0—and specifically product personalization that's available to businesses of all sizes, sign up for early access to Creative Layer and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.