The beauty industry is catering to young females’ desire for products that fit their unique needs by personalizing everything from ingredients to packaging…
Young consumers today grew up being told that they are unique—so why wouldn’t they expect products to be made to fit their specific needs? In our 2017 trend Customization Nation, we let you know that the days of one-size-fits-all are numbered and customization is being taken to the next level to appeal to young consumers, for whom personalization has become an expectation. YPulse’s research found that 72% of 13-34-year-olds agree that products that are personalized for each individual are superior to mass-produced products, and 74% are interested in buying products that are customized to their taste/made specifically for them.
Millennials and Gen Z’s interest in products and services that feel like they’re made just for them hasn’t slowed down, and neither has the innovation to provide them. Brands are continuing to experiment with products and marketing that puts individual customers in the spotlight—and the beauty industry is arguably in the biggest customization race there is. Beauty companies big and small have hopped on the trend to cater to the 56% of 13-34-year-old females who want to customize their beauty/makeup products.
Last February, Glossy asked if it was possible for this beauty personalization trend to scale—but a year later we’re still seeing startups and big brands alike find ways to make new products and services that cater to individual consumers, or at least feel like they do. Here are some of the ways that customization is taking over the industry:
Startups are battling it out to be the custom hair care brand for young consumers. We first wrote about Function of Beauty in 2017, and since then they’ve taken over Instagram feeds and made headlines for their hyper-personalized hair care set. The indie brand blends up shampoo and conditioner for each customer based off a five-question quiz, customizing everything from the fragrance to the chemical components, and even going so far as to print the purchaser’s name on each product. Function of Beauty’s founder explains to Paper, “Every single person is unique and different…why negate that instead of catering to it?” Judging by their success so far, young consumers think catering to their uniqueness is the way to go. But they’re far from the only personalized shampoo makers in town these days. Prose and Belle Bar, and Form all cropped up in the last few years to cater to young consumers’ strands. The brands are funneling shoppers from social media to their sites, where quizzes and custom options use information like hair thickness and zip codes’ pollution levels to tailor shampoo, conditioner, and more.
Big brands are putting a personalized spin on classic products as personalization becomes a buzzword. Clinique has taken a cue from startups, creating a customized version of their best-selling moisturizer. Adweek reports that the new Clinique iD lets consumers pick a base (jelly, gel, or lotion) and buy any of five colorful cartridges that cater to specific skincare needs, from fatigue to fine lines. The cartridge clicks into the base and the two formulas are blended when users press down the pump. Reception to the new product seems to be positive, with Vogue calling it a “game changer.” Neutrogena is also bringing a bespoke approach to skin care, with new 3D printed face masks customized to users’ measurements and skin needs. The Verge reports that the hyper-customized product uses a new app called MaskiD to take 3D images of faces, and the ingredients of each mask can be chosen based on that individual’s skin type. Meanwhile, Lancôme is taking aim at all those brands offering 52+ shades of makeup by creating one foundation that’s specifically designed for each individual’s skin tone. Their Le Teint Particulier is custom made in 8,000 shades thanks to a color matching process that requires visiting a “Lancôme Color Expert” at Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue. Skin type and other preferences are programmed into the formula, and the custom makeup is mixed in a few seconds—oh, and of course each buyer’s name and “complexion ID” are printed on the bottle.
Clinique and Neutrogena haven’t stopped at highly personalized products. They’re also going high-tech in an effort to give consumers the feeling of a personal consultation with an expert—and to recommend products accordingly. According to MarketWatch, Clinique’s Clinical Reality app (which was set to launch on Jan 1st of this year) tells users the right lotions, balms, and serums for each customer by analyzing a close-up snapshot of users’ skin—and they plan to add a feature that will let users see the products’ impact on their skin months in the future. Their recent New York Fashion Week pop-up showcased the technology with a row of iPads ready to scan visitors’ faces, ask them questions about their routines, and recommend the Clinique iD that would work best for them. Neutrogena’s Skin360 device works similarly, analyzing users’ skin down to the finest wrinkle, so that users can “know exactly what [their] skin needs.” The device looks like a cell phone cover and does, in fact, slip over phones to use the camera as a scanner that zooms in on skin and sends the information to an app. Skin360 then recommends products, skin care routines, and more that specifically cater to that person’s skin requirements.
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