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Tech industry gets a makeover - or is it make-up receiving an update?

Line between tech and beauty is blurring with hi-tech beauty products looking more normal

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 10:27am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 10:27am

Is it just me or are beauty products starting to look less like regular pots of cream with tamper-proof packaging – and more like something that should come with a two-year manufacturing warranty?

Even more exciting is that these new hi-tech beauty gadgets are well positioned to become the norm in the foreseeable future – and less like a gimmicky prop used in a sci-fi film.

The biggest example? Dyson’s popular HK$3,380 Supersonic hairdryer.

Dyson, known for its futuristic, non-cordless vacuum cleaners, entered the beauty market with a hairdryer that promised sleek, gleaming hair with zero frizz and no heat damage to the hair while giving salon-like styling. Its hairdryer, the result of five years of research, boasts a digital V9 motor that delivers airflow at 168km/h, a smart temperature control system that cools itself and keeps the temperature constant, and promises to halve the time spent drying your hair.

Another company that has entered the beauty industry is electronics firm New Kinpo Group. The Taiwanese company, which traditionally specialised in manufacturing electronic products,

made headlines when it unveiled its new HiMirror Plus at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. The smart mirror, invented by CEO Simon Shen, is like having a personal skincare assistant.

The mirror checks your skin for any wrinkles, dark circles or blemishes, before making product recommendations based on its analysis. It stores the data for future use which only you can access after “logging in” using your face as the passcode. So if you’ve started using a new skincare product and want to see if there are any noticeable changes after a few weeks, you can pull up previous data (via your smartphone or the mirror itself) to check for signs of progress. The point is, it leads to actionable changes – whether that means switching to a new routine or continuing with your favourite products – based onevidence, not what you think might have happened.

The mirror comes with LED lights to simulate five different lighting situations, helping you figure out how best to apply your make-up so you don’t end up looking like a clown in a brightly-lit room or a washed out wallflower at a dimly-lit bar.

Cosmetics companies are also jumping on the smart tech bandwagon, eager to cash in on the growing demand for more hi-tech solutions to everyday beauty problems.

L’Oréal Group is aggressively investing in innovating hi-tech beauty products through its Technology Incubator. This incubatorconcentrates solely on technological innovation.

The company has unveiled a string of products through different brands: My UV Patch by skincare brand La Roche-Posay; Le Teint Particulier Custom Made Makeup by cosmetics brand Lancôme; and a smartbrush produced with Kérastase, a hair-care brand, and Withings, a consumer electronics company that falls under Nokia.

My UV Patch, resembles the look and feel of a non-permanent sticker tattoo – a symbol of our childhood youth – which can adhere to and stretch to match the movement of your skin. It’s just 50 micrometres thick, about half the thickness of an average strand of human hair. The patch uses photosensitive dyes that change colour according to the level of UV rays it is exposed to, which you can take a photo of and upload to an app to find out how much sun you’ve been getting.

The smart brush uses a microphone, three-axis load cells, an accelerometer, a gyroscope and conductivity sensors to measure how smooth, silky and healthy your hair is. The results are sent straight to your smartphone via Bluetooth or Wi-fi. It sounds mighty hi-tech, given that the names of the components seem better suited to a Nasa spaceship than a humble hair brush. But impress it did, leading it to pick up this year’s International CES Innovation Award for outstanding product design and engineering in new consumer technology products.

The Le Teint Particulier custom made make-up is the only beauty service that requires you to leave the comfort of your home. Despite this service only being offered in select Nordstrom locations in the United States, its promise that you’ll finally meet The One might prove too tempting for beauty buffs. The One, of course, meaning the correct foundation shade that will match your exact skin tone – a goal that is, in my opinion, harder than finding a real-life Prince Charming.

The in-store service starts when a beauty adviser uses a hand-held tool to scan and analyse your skin. The information is sent to a machine which follows your special formula to create your own bottle of customised foundation. The bottle comes printed with your own complexion ID, for easy refills.

If you’re like me and too lazy to go out for a proper manicure but still want professional-level work done, you should consider putting the O’2 Nails on your Christmas wish list – it is less than four months away. Designed for home use, the O’2 Nails Mobile Nail Printer V11 prints out designs on your nails in just 35 seconds. You can select designs from ready-made ones, upload your own design or upload a photo of your dog via a smartphone app.

Whether we’re ready or not, it look like we’ll all be living life like The Jetsons soon enough. I can’t wait until I lay my hands on Jane Jetson’s morning mask.