Smart Beauty

by Haley Fritz

In his 2004 book The Paradox of Choice, psychologist Barry Schwartz argues that customers face a sense of “paralysis" when faced with too many choices. Increasingly, natural skincare and beauty brands are turning to smart technology--custom formulas, matching systems, artificial intelligence--to offer customers personalized choices designed especially for them, cutting through oversaturated shelves and supplanting paralysis with purchases. 

The recent surge in customizable beauty products appears to benefit both businesses and consumers. Personalized customer experience increases revenue and customer loyalty, while customized beauty products address the concerns of customers previously overlooked by the mainstream market. Now, consumers can find products specially made for every skin woe, ranging from acne and redness to sensitivity and allergies--each infused with personalized technology straight out of the 22nd century. 

Intelligent Skincare

Cofounded by Ming Zhao and Dr. Amy Yuan, PROVEN skin care uses its signature Skintelligence quiz to formulate custom concoctions perfect for every skin type.  


The Skintelligence quiz relies on The Skin Genome Project, a novel algorithm that assesses individual product information, the effectiveness of over 20,000 skincare ingredients, eight million customer testimonials, 4,000 scientific publications and the water hardness, UV index and humidity in the customer’s hometown (based on their provided zip code) to determine their custom skincare formula. If PROVEN’s technology seems like science fiction to you, you won’t be surprised to learn that The Skin Genome Project won MIT’s 2018 Artificial Intelligence Award for its novelty and efficacy in weighing lifestyle and skincare factors. 

For something so rooted in futuristic technology, however, PROVEN’s products are also remarkably clean, formulated without parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde and SLS. The brand is also eco-conscious, forgoing palm oil due to the destruction of habitat resulting from the rapid expansion of palm oil plantations, as well as choosing naturally-derived squalane and reef-safe mineral sunscreens over traditional chemical formulas.

To Hair, With Love

Customized hair care brand Function of Beauty has quickly become a cult favorite among beauty editors and laypeople alike. The brand formulates personalized hair care products based on self-reported user data, such as hair thickness, texture and concerns (including scalp oiliness and sensitivity).

  

While not all of Function of Beauty’s customization options are 100 percent clean, the brand promises not to formulate with any questionable ingredients banned in the European Union. (Click here for a full list.) Function of Beauty’s products are also cruelty-free and vegan, with fully-recyclable bottles and caps; when ordering, the brand also offers customers the choice to opt out of receiving new pumps with each order, allowing customers to avoid single-use plastics.

For sensitive scalps, the brand offers a 100 percent natural eucalyptus scent, as well as fragrance-free and dye-free options. The brand’s newly-launched leave-in treatment is also dye-free, and adheres to the same strict standards as the rest of Function of Beauty’s products.


Beauty in the Buff

Critics can’t get enough of The Buff’s signature custom-blended face and body oils. The Buff has only been on the scene since 2018, when founder Jasmine Garnsworthy launched the brand “on a hunch” that custom oils would become the way of the future. And what a prediction! 

The custom skincare brand boasts that its oils “just get your skin” -- and they do, thanks to a detailed skin quiz that collects data on your preferences, sensitivities and more. Each custom formula comes with a base of jojoba or rosehip oil, while citrus essential oils lend a fresh, clean scent. Every unique blend is cruelty-free and vegan, with zero filler ingredients or synthetic preservatives. Meanwhile, all of its oils are cold-pressed and unrefined. 

But the formula is not the end of The Buff’s personalized options: the brand also lets you customize its packaging with a monogrammed label, complete with font and color customization. Smart skincare has never looked so good.

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