Tag: beauty

Schwarzkopf’s smart salon personalizes your hair care regimen

As a woman whose long, thick hair has undergone several chemical treatments, I've always been concerned about the health and quality of my tresses. When I heard about Schwarzkopf Professional's new hair analyzer, I was naturally intrigued by its potential uses. The company is bringing its SalonLab Analyzer system to Schwarzkopf salons across the US and Europe in 2018, so you can get a better understanding of how damaged your hair is. Not only that, salons can also use the information learned to better cater their treatments to your needs, as well as create personalized shampoos on the spot. I went for a quick consultation at CES 2018, and am so far impressed by what it offers.

To be clear, this system isn't meant to replace hairstylists. In fact, it requires the input of an experienced professional to fill out a brief questionnaire about your hair, based on her observations and expertise. At Schwarzkopf's suite in Las Vegas, I was attended to by the company's professional global ambassador Lesley Lawson, who quickly entered my hair length, color and previous chemical treatments.

Then, she picked up the scanner and ran my hair through the opening, just like you would with a flat iron. Depending on your hair length, your stylist may scan one, two or three different points to judge its quality. Since my hair cascades down to my lower back, Lawson sampled a swatch of hair at my roots and again down closer to the tips.

The scanner, which has an image sensor to capture color data and an infrared sensor to measure cysteic acid levels, will send that information to the app. Schwarzkopf's reps said cysteic acid is produced when the bonds holding protein strands in our hair are broken, so the more of it is present, the more brittle your hair is. According to the scanner, my hair condition is a relatively poor 60 percent (average of results scanned at the various sample sites), but a healthy 33 percent moist.

After getting your results, you can use the app to pick a dye and get to see what the actual hue will be based on your original hair color. You can also overlay the shades you're considering over your hair in real-time via the app's AR function. As we were running out of time at my appointment, I unfortunately didn't get to try this feature out. But if it works well, it could help people better communicate with their stylists on the look they want or what colors best complement their complexions and faces.

At the end of the session, the app generates a shampoo formula based on your hair data, and sends it to what Schwarzkopf calls the SalonLab Customizer, which is basically an on-site shampoo "printer". In merely 45 seconds, my little sample bottle of shampoo was ready, and the Customizer also spat out a little sticker that used the first two letters of my name to create a faux element a la the periodic table. This label also has a barcode that can be scanned at other partner salons to simply refill your formula.

I haven't used my personalized shampoo yet, so I can't comment on whether it indeed makes my hair feel better. Although customized hair products and AR apps to try out hair colors aren't new, there hasn't been an implementation that's as comprehensive as Schwarzkopf's. Plus, this is more of a professional solution that actually uses data from your manes, compared to competing custom formulation services that base your product on your answers to a set of questions.

Schwarzkopf recommends that salons offer SalonLab Analyzer as a premium service to its clients, although it doesn't dictate how much they charge. Depending on your local stores, you may be able to try out this service for free, or pay a small fee. Although I haven't been able to get any real benefit from trying out the new system yet, I feel more confident about working with my stylist if we both had such information about my hair. I'd also be more inclined to pay more for an add-on like a moisturizing treatment if presented with data about my hair quality.

To some, this may seem like yet another one of many services hairstylists are known for trying to upsell to you. But when combined with the app and custom shampoo service, this feels like a more well-rounded approach that could actually be useful.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

Lululab’s skincare assistant peers deep into your pores

Getting clearer, healthier skin could soon be as easy as taking a selfie. At CES 2018 in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Lulu Lab — a member of the Samsung-C accelerator program — showed off its novel skincare camera designed to capture and analyze facial features with a single picture.

Dubbed the Lumini, the system uses a multispectral camera to see below the surface of your skin and more accurately diagnose a variety of potential issues including wrinkles, acne, melasma, and pore size. AI software, running on a mobile device, then grades your face, highlights trouble spots and recommends skincare products to address them. The Lumini is being marketed for B2B and will be available at cosmetic counters worldwide starting this summer.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

Foreo’s UFO is a vibrating puck that makes sheet masks better

Skincare company Foreo is adding a bit of tech into a beloved pampering ritual with its new UFO and UFO Mini devices. The company is calling these smart masks, and UFO stands for "Ur Future Obsession" -- both of which are sort of misnomers. The UFOs are more like palm-sized pucks that vibrate, similar to the Neutrogena Wave cleansers. You attach a mini sheet mask, which Foreo is selling at $9.99 for seven, and rub the device all over your face. All the time, the UFO is going through preset cycles --- heating up for 30 seconds, followed by a period of vibrating, and finishing with 30 seconds of cooling down.

There are benefits to having these extras when applying a sheet mask -- the heat opens up your skin's pores to help you better absorb the juicy goodness. A light ring on the UFO also glows red, green and blue to signal whether you're in the heat, vibrate or cool phases respectively. But they also offer other benefits. The red light is supposed to stimulate collagen production to counter signs of aging, the green brightens a dull complexion while the blue is supposed to fight bacteria and promote blood circulation. At least, according to Foreo, anyway.

After I tried out a 90-second facial on half of my made-up face, I did notice a lot less residue left on my face compared to what I typically see after a 20-minute mask. This makes me think that the heat did help my skin absorb more of the mask, but it could also be the fact that the UFO's sheet is so much smaller than a traditional mask. It's also easier to ensure that areas on my face that are not always covered by sheet masks, like the corners of my nose and around my mouth, were covered. Beyond that, I couldn't tell if there was much of a difference in results from using UFO compared to my usual sheet masks.

Still, the whole experience was immensely comfortable. The UFO will only go up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and down to 40 degrees, so your skin won't be scorched. I thought that having to rub the device all over my face would be troublesome, but since it's only for 90 seconds, I wasn't too bothered. The only reason I can think of to pick a traditional sheet mask over the UFO is if you're feeling extremely lazy and want to put on a mask, lay down and not have to physically exert yourself at all.

The UFO's battery should last for up to two weeks on a charge if you're using it twice daily. Foreo is offering morning and nighttime masks at launch, with preset cycles catered to each. The UFO costs $279, while the Mini, which doesn't have the cooling capability, is $179. That's not money that I want to spend unless I know it will definitely improve my complexion, but it could be worthwhile for those who want to pamper themselves.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.