AI And The Elevation Of SkincareContributing Author
When one thinks of skincare, their next immediate thought likely doesn’t align with the notion of artificial intelligence or AI. However, advances in technology have brought skincare and AI closer together than ever before. Augmented reality, virtual reality, and AI have entered the beauty industry lexicon and effectively disrupted the industry.
While many companies have started integrating AI and virtual elements into their eCommerce and in-store sales, few have woven the skills and expertise of healthcare providers into the transaction.
Consumers can have easy online access to skincare experts and evidence-based guidance with The Skin Consult. It’s an entirely new approach to developing a personalized skincare routine.
The Strength of the Skin Care Industry
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the skincare industry remained strong. Consumers simply shifted their purchasing from in-store experiences to online. The spread of the coronavirus had a positive impact on skincare sales, likely due to an increased interest in health, wellness, and cleanliness. While interest in makeup fell, primarily due to an increase in mask-wearing and a decrease in going out in public, skincare sales remained steady.
Skincare products fall under the category of self-care for many consumers. An interest in self-care and well-being rose significantly during the pandemic. In addition, many people lost their access to spas and estheticians for a time due to mandated shutdowns and isolation orders. As a result, they began to seek out more personalized skincare options and likely continued to purchase products that worked well for them during periods of shutdown.
What is Beauty Tech?
Beauty tech is a broad term and can be applied differently by individual companies. Technology makes things more efficient and convenient. The application of technology in the beauty industry is no different. The ease of purchasing beauty and skincare products with a few clicks has been available to consumers for years. However, there has been an increased push to merge technology and the beauty industry, spurred by rapidly expanding technological innovations and shutdowns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today’s discerning consumer expects personalized service from brands. The integration of technology in the beauty industry speaks to that demand for personalization. Studies show that 77% of consumers have paid more for a product or brand that offers a more personalized experience. AI and algorithms are just part of the more significant technological picture that helps brands and companies give consumers what they want.
Consumers may have been exposed to virtual components when shopping online or even in stores in the past few years. Many companies have used virtual “try on” elements on their eCommerce sites, recommended products based on consumer behavior data, or quizzes developed to individualize the shopping experience.
Technology in the beauty industry is not a novel idea. Nevertheless, beauty tech is ever-evolving, and companies are continuing to innovate in order to bring the best in personalization to their customers.
AI and other beauty tech advancements were practically shoved into the spotlight when the COVID-19 pandemic shut the world down. Suddenly, people had no choice but to purchase beauty items online. People found that they could no longer sample items in person. As a result, many consumers have become adept at living more of their lives online, including shopping for beauty and skincare items.
The Typical Approach to Beauty Tech
Skincare products and services remain a hot commodity. People are always going to be interested in trying new things. However, the process of finding the right skincare products can be overwhelming. You can walk into any large beauty store, see shelves upon shelves of products and shoppers looking around who are, ultimately, making largely uninformed decisions. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery stresses the importance of knowing one’s skin type before purchasing skin care products, but many consumers are shopping blind. Even if shoppers go into a store with vague ideas of their skin type, they still may not have enough information to purchase the correct products.
Many brands have jumped on the AI bandwagon to bring their consumers enhanced individualized shopping experiences. The AI models many beauty and skincare companies use are often based on user-submitted information and quizzes. Some retailers have taken beauty tech further and offered virtual try-on capabilities, allowing people to try on a lipstick shade or eyeshadow online—options that have largely been met with praise from consumers.
Skincare, on the other hand, can be a harder sell with AI models. Virtual try-on options are not as useful for skincare products, where it’s more about the feel and effectiveness of the product. Some companies have leaned on user-submitted information to provide “customized” skincare products to consumers. Still, some of these methods fall short in tapping into the healthcare aspect of skincare.
A True Tech-Driven Skin Consult
When a person visits an esthetician in person, they expect detailed skincare advice and the services of a trained expert. When a person is experiencing skin troubles, such as acne or rosacea, they may visit a healthcare provider who can step up the level of attention given to their skin. The Skin Consult has taken the value of experts and published data and married it with the latest in AI technology.
The new post-pandemic marketplace will be inspired by how companies met consumer needs during the periods of the shutdown we witnessed at its height. When people lost access to regular skincare or beauty service providers, they took to the internet to find at-home solutions. People not only became accustomed to purchasing needed items online, but they became more familiar with services like telemedicine and video conferencing visits with professionals, as well. People realized that they could still gain access to expert consultations when needed, even as the coronavirus shutdown continued.
We have developed a way for estheticians, medical providers, and AI to intersect. Consumers can gain access to the valuable experience of a professional while they are considering their skincare needs. In the healthcare and the beauty world, technology is a beautiful tool. Regardless, there is still a place and a great need for experienced professionals. A quiz or a simple tech model can not always meet the complex needs of the consumer. The model that we have developed empowers providers with the technology and gives consumers data-driven solutions for their skincare needs.
The Skin Consult process begins with an in-depth quiz to determine a customer’s skin type. Algorithms become more effective with each data point that they collect. This collection of consumer data points is followed by a consultation with a TSC expert—screened and vetted professionals who can give expert advice and recommendations. Based on their individualized quiz and expert assessment, the customer’s skincare is then curated for them. The customized skincare regime is then sent directly to the customer with detailed use instructions and a list for easy refills.
The clinical treatment algorithms guide our skincare experts to curate customers’ regimens based on the peer-reviewed science supporting the active ingredients in the products. These active ingredients have been proven to be effective in clinical trials and shown to provide excellent results. This approach melds science, technology, and beauty seamlessly. The Skin Consult board of advisors includes a facial plastic surgeon, cosmetic chemists, health tech medical physician, pharmacist, and board-certified dermatologist who understand ingredients as well as how the skin works. Our highly-curated product recommendations are driven by science, which sets us apart from other beauty companies utilizing AI. Our end goal is to provide transparency in understanding skincare ingredients and boost confidence in personalized skincare regimens. Our approach is equitable, accessible, affordable, and evidence-based.
Skincare makes up 23% of the entire beauty industry. It’s a focus of both men and women, young and old, and of people of all skin types. Women alone spend $3,756 a year on beauty products. A lot of money and products can go to waste when people buy based on a trial-and-error approach, but a model that marries science and technology saves the consumer time and money.
A New Age of Beauty
We are entering a post-covid age of consumerism. Consumers have become accustomed to the ease and availability of online shopping and access to healthcare professionals for questions and concerns. As the coronavirus wanes and we begin our “new normal,” the melding of technology, customer service, and marketing will become the status quo. It is forecasted that AI alone will have an annual growth rate of 33% between 2020 and 2027. There is no going backward. Technology will continue to grow and evolve, including a transfer into the metaverse and more virtual consumer options.
At one time, the concept of AI seemed like the stuff of science fiction movies. Since then, however, it has seeped into nearly every facet of our lives. Taking the idea of tech-minded brands further and integrating the expertise of healthcare professionals is the way The Skin Consult is taking its place in this new age of beauty.