Beauty routines on pause during the pandemic? AI and tech come to the rescue

·3-min read

With a second wave of coronavirus obliging many countries to implement partial or total lockdown measures, and customers elsewhere wary of visiting beauty stores or making skincare appointments, going to the hair salon, getting makeup advice or having a skincare treatment may not be on the cards for many of us for a while. But don't panic -- new technologies are here to help you with diagnoses, advice and trial sessions -- virtually.

Skin diagnostic tools 

You no longer have to visit a skin specialist to receive a skin diagnostic. With AI, you can benefit from professional assistance at home, via a computer, tablet or a simple smartphone -- a godsend in these times. Several cosmetics brands offer virtual skin diagnosis tools on their websites or apps.

For instance, beauty giant L'Oréal Paris's Skin Genius can provide you with a skin analysis in mere minutes. All you have to do is take a selfie and answer some questions, and the Skin Genius will evaluate your face according to several criteria like the appearance of your pores, fine lines and wrinkles, radiance, firmness and even tone, comparing it against a database of approximately 10,000 images of women. Then it will provide you with product and routine recommendations for your specific skin type.

Other brands offer this service as well, from Neutrogena with Skin360 to Vichy with SkinConsult AI. If you're concerned about greying, you can also try a scalp or hair diagnostic tool from hair care brands to find the ideal hair color or treatment to do at home.

Virtual makeup testers

Thanks to new augmented reality tech, the lockdowns instated earlier this year didn't stop people from continuing their regular beauty purchases. But it's difficult to find the right colors and tints when shopping for makeup online, without in-store testers. It can also be near-impossible to gauge how a particular product will look on your skin, and whether it will suit your skin tone or lip color. Enter virtual makeup testing: many brands and big retailers provide this service, which makes it easier to buy makeup on the internet or apps. From Maybelline New York to Sephora and NYX Professional, both luxe brands as well as those in the more affordable aisles, offer shade finder tools and testers to help you virtually try on your makeup before buying.

A facial in your own bathroom

Could your bathroom turn into a beauty salon? If the idea sounds strange at first, it might become a reality sooner than you think, thanks to the pandemic. The South African brand Optiphi has already swapped its in-salon services for at-home kits to allow clients to have a facial while staying home. While the kits don't employ AI, they rely on new technology to make this happen.

Optiphi asks its customers to order one of three facial kits offered on its site, which is then delivered to their home. An esthetician contacts them to fix a virtual appointment. The appointment is basically identical to one in-store, except that you apply the products yourself, under the supervision and with the advice of the professional. With a second wave of Covid-19 underway, other beauty professionals might soon be obliged to go down this route as well.