Head of L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator, Guive Balooch talks to Luxe Packaging Insight about Perso, the group’s personalized home beauty device launched at CES Las Vegas earlier this month.
Is Perso L’Oréal’s first at-home personalized beauty tool?
The group has offered personalized beauty at the point of sale for several years now, but we wanted to move into the at-home segment. Although Perso isn’t the very first venture in this area—L’Oréal USA launched custom hair color service Color&Co for at-home use in May 2019, but which is more of a B2C project—it is the first platform around personalized beauty at home. Perso is a smart A-I powered device that allows the consumer to interact and create lipstick, skincare and foundation that are totally unique.
How does Perso work?
It’s a small, connected hand-held device measuring just 6.5 inches and fit with three cartridges that are loaded from the bottom. The complex part of the hardware—Perso currently holds some 10 patents—was to develop a motor small enough to move the formula out of the three cartridges to the top of the device suited to textures ranging from watery skin serums to lip formulas that are closer to the consistency of honey.
How can Perso’s AI formulate a product based on the latest trends?
If we take Perso’s lipstick version, the consumer checks what’s trending that day on social media through the app. If she finds a color she likes the app, via our Modiface augmented reality technology (editor’s note: a software company acquired by L’Oréal in 2018), she’ll be able to virtually try it on. The consumer can also choose to create her own shade. If the color suits, the user simply presses the device’s Perso button and it dispenses the right combination of liquid formula from each of the three cartridges from the top of the machine. Once dispensed, the user simply mixes the three formulas with a small applicator.
How many shades are possible?
We’ve intentionally limited the number of cartridges to three so that the machine wouldn’t be bulky, but on the color spectrum, thousands of shades can result from just three cartridges: from light pink to dark red and even purple. The Perso app proposes the first three cartridges, but if the user wants an electric blue shade, for example, the app will suggest purchasing additional cartridges. The tool was designed to make them easily interchangeable; they pop in and out and are NFC tagged so that the app lets the consumer know when they are running low and need to be changed. With three cartridges, Perso can supply two applications per day for at least three months.
What does the skincare version offer?
Both tools use the same technology, but the skincare cartridges include SPF, anti-oxidants, moisturizing compounds and even a hint of glow. The app takes into account the current environmental factors, including API (air pollution information) using Israeli startup Breezometer’s technology that gauges air quality, humidity, pollen, and allergens within a five-meter radius. The app then sends a “recipe” to Perso that calculates the proper ratio of moisturizer, SPF and glow. Modiface also has a role to play in the skincare version as the user can take a snapshot of her face and the app analyzes criteria such as firmness, radiance and fine lines. While these aren’t factors that change on a daily basis, the app will create a weekly or monthly diary to build a ‘skin management system’ that tracks how the skin evolves over time to insure a ‘smart’ relation with the cartridges.
What are the options for foundation?
As of today, our priorities for Perso are in lipstick and skincare. We are looking at the foundation option in two ways: some consumers, although this is a real niche, change shades according to where they are applying the product (on the face or the neck, for example), so providing more precision allows them to more effectively apply the foundation. The other option is that the foundation be adapted on a seasonal basis by taking into account changes in the weather, or travel for example. Another idea we’re looking into is having the foundation be part of the skincare system.
How does Perso fit in with L’Oréal’s approach to sustainable packaging?
There are other more expert people in the group that can address this, but in essence every time the consumer sees a trend, they buy the product, which most often remains unfinished it so it ends up as waste. We hope that Perso will allow people to test a number of different trends, but not buy multiple products, so that’s the advantage of the cartridges, which will be developed in line with the group’s sustainability guidelines. The tool itself is made of soft-touch plastic. At the top of the device there is a small detachable part allowing one to make enough formula for a few days, close the top part and slip it in your purse.
Discover how L’Oréal aims to position Perso within its brand portfolio in our full interview with Guive Balooch in Formes de Luxe’s Spring 2020 issue.