Mobile app built-in custom makeup dispensers

In 2021, French cosmetics and personal care company L’Oreal filed a patent for an innovative device that was recently released earlier this year. The unique patent design offers consumers the ability to formulate and manufacture blended cosmetics that are accurately color-matched to the user’s skin tone and complexion via phone app support.

Utilizing proprietary cosmetic color cartridges, the design has since been used to create two consumer products: L’Oreal’s Perso 3-in-1 personalized at-home beauty device and YSL’s Rogue Sur Mesure Custom Lip Color Creator. As detailed on L’Oreal’s website, the Perso is a six-and-a-half-inch beauty-tech device that “delivers personalized skincare and cosmetic formulas on-site.”

Using a combination of consumer interface and AI, the Perso offers an unprecedented level of user personalization to create and dispense custom lip and skincare shades that perfectly match the user’s skin tone and complexion. The device works through the Perso mobile app, which analyzes the user’s face and geographic environment, as well as personal preference information, and targets specific issues such as dry skin and fine lines. The device then takes all of these inputs into account to formulate and deliver a single dose of a perfectly matched and formulated product to the consumer.

The Rogue Sur Mesure, on the other hand, is based on the same technological developments in a more compact model that only offers users individual lip color options. As detailed on YSL’s website, the device allows users to “create thousands of custom hues using YSL color expertise and cutting-edge PERSO technology.” With the same basic functionality as the Perso, consumers select their preferred color cartridge set and then use the YSL mobile app to match the shade of lip color that best matches their tint and can also use the app to analyze a lip color and to dose that matches your outfit with the shade stylist.

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To learn more about the development and commercialization of the device technology, CosmeticsDesign spoke to the inventor of the patent, Guive Balooch, L’Oréal’s Global Head of Research and Innovation’s Tech Incubator. Balooch explained the background behind the device concept, the process by which the technology was developed and how the technology was applied to bring these innovative consumer products to market.

As the cosmetics and personal care industry continues to modernize its product offerings and integrate AI technology, these devices are excellent examples of how this process can be successfully applied to meet consumer needs for more personalized beauty product options.

CDU: What is the inspiration for the patent design?​

GB: We worked with Branch Creative, a San Francisco-based industrial designer who drew inspiration from various shapes and objects. Together we decided that one variant of a cylinder was the best and most ergonomic for the consumer.

CDU: Has L’Oreal conducted consumer market research into demand for a device with these capabilities?​

GB: Absolutely! As more tech-savvy consumers enter the market and technology advances, some trends we are aligning with are personalization, inclusivity and sustainability. Personalization continues to grow and is not limited to luxury – it is becoming more and more precise.

We’ve found that more and more consumers want less shadows and product waste, while also wanting to be more expressive through beauty. This device encourages self-expression and inclusivity, which are always at the heart of what we do.

CDU: How does the device work?​

First, the user downloads the app, which can be installed on a phone or tablet, where they can explore and try on looks virtually. He/she can create lip shades in three different ways:

Color wheel: to choose an everyday shade and then easily adjust it for an evening look.

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Color Matching: to match a standout outfit or favorite accessory with a simple photo shoot.

Shade Stylist: A proprietary algorithm enriched with the color expertise of Yves Saint Laurent Beaute, designed to recommend matching lip colors with each outfit.

Next, the user presses the dispense button, which dispenses the selected shade in a perfectly portioned single dose for easy and mess-free application. The user then applies the lip color with the included brush (which attaches magnetically to the device). The user can remove the powder to touch up the selected shade on the go.

CDU: Is there a learning curve in using the device or is it relatively user-friendly?

EN: The device is very user-friendly and designed to be easy to set up with step-by-step instructions in the app.

CDU: What types of cosmetic products can be dispensed from the device – only makeup or also topical products?​

EN: The device can dispense lipstick, foundation and skin care. We are working on different applications and will expand our offer soon.

CDU: How should the cartridges be sold?​

EN: The cartridges are sold separately. The user purchases the device and separately purchases their preferred cartridge color, of which there are nine options: pink, red, nude, orange, two multicolor, warning red, warm nudes, or cool nudes.

CDU: How are the cartridges changed and how long do they usually last with regular use?​

GB: It depends on individual usage, but we’ve found that cartridges typically last at least a year. To change the cartridges, you can easily remove them at the touch of a button and replace them with other colors.

CDU: What does device maintenance look like for consumers?​

EN: There is no specific maintenance regime, but we recommend cleaning the dosing tray of the compact pack and applicator thoroughly with a cotton pad or clean cloth to wipe off any excess formula. Weekly hygiene maintenance is recommended to maintain optimal performance and hygiene by cleaning the compact can with rubbing alcohol.

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CDU: Were there any challenges that the development team had to overcome when designing the device?​

GB: There were several challenges in developing this device. First we had to create the perfect luxury formula, which was a challenge due to compatibility with dosing technology and materials. Second, the compact design was a challenge as we need to have good airtightness and it needs to be hygienic. Finally, we have worked very hard to perfect the dosing to ensure 100% accuracy.

CDU: Are there any future plans to develop similar AR/AI devices for L’Oreal customers?​

GB: Absolutely. We’re constantly working on various projects and devices that use AR/AI to improve our offerings for consumers.

CDU: While there is an initial upfront cost, over time, is this potentially a cost-saving device for consumers?​

GB: We hope this device will give consumers the opportunity to try different shades/colors and have the opportunity to save on product and packaging waste.

CDU: Is there anything else to add?​

GB: At L’Oréal, we believe that personalization is the future of beauty. This technology builds on L’Oréal’s years of experience in developing innovative, personalized beauty experiences and underscores the importance of using technology to enrich people’s everyday lives.

This device delivers on that promise, allowing people for the first time to create their own lipsticks to match trends, their wardrobe, or create a new shade from scratch in minutes, wherever they want, whenever they want . This use of ultimate personalization perfectly aligns and elevates the brand’s mission and legacy.