Illustration for article titled LOreals New Doodad Sounds Like the Supersmart Skincare Gadget I Need
Image: L’Oreal

Skincare is a $148 billion dollar industry, and you best believe that I stress about moisturizing as I drag my increasingly decrepit ass to the dry Nevada desert for CES every year. Scouting skincare tech at the show every year has become a not-so-secret hobby of mine, and on that front, L’Oreal usually brings the goods. This year is no exception, with the French beauty company announcing Perso—an AI-powered gadget that dispenses personalized foundation, lipstick, and moisturizer.

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Initially the Perso would be skincare focused. The way Perso claims to work is you take a photo of yourself within a companion app. The app then uses artificial intelligence to analyze your overall skin condition from the photo, in combination with local environmental data like UV index, humidity, temperature, and weather. Following that, a user could then tell the app what’s bothering them (e.g. My Pores Are Huge, or Why Is My Face Drier Than the Sahara Desert?). Once all that’s done, L’Oreal says the Perso should be able to dispense a “perfectly portioned, single dose at the top of the device.” Each device also features three cartridges: one for color, one that contains active serums, and one that contains a moisturizing/anti-pollution antioxidant.

As someone who hates trying to figure out what combination of skincare products to use and in what amounts, this sounds like the answer to many prayers. L’Oreal also says Perso’s AI platform should be able to monitor your skin over time, making that whole trial-and-error a bit less soul-crushing.

The Perso sounds interesting from a hardware perspective too. I chatted with Guive Balooch, the head of L’Oreal’s Technology Incubator, over the phone before CES and he told me the company “spent a lot of time making the motors inside the Perso dispenser.” The motors purportedly both move and compress formulas stored in cartridges to a dispensing tray in an upward motion, eliminating waste and the need for you to pump. Likewise, the cartridges necessary for the Perso should be NFC-tagged for an easier automatic refill process.

Balooch noted that while Perso’s mostly focused on skincare right now, the device is also capable of dispensing customized foundation and lipstick. For lips, Balooch said the device would have three cartridges of liquid lipstick ranging from light to dark colors. You could get three shade choices from the app itself, or look at recommendations based on Instagram trends. The AR part of the app should also be able to let you see in real-time how it would look, or you could also color-match based on your outfit. A similar process would be used for foundation, though L’Oreal didn’t provide extensive details on that front.

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That sounds like a lot for one device that measures 6.5-inches tall and weighs over just a pound. When I asked Balooch whether that could be expected of a single device, the answer was maybe. Right now, he says you’d need a Perso for each function—meaning if you wanted personalized skincare, lipstick, and foundation you’d need three separate devices. However, Perso is still about a year out from its expected 2021 launch date, so it’s possible that it could change in the coming months depending on feedback. As for cost, L’Oreal doesn’t have a number in mind just yet. On paper, the Perso sounds extremely promising—and I’ll get a chance to see whether it lives up to the hype later this week. That said, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t throw a large wad of cash in L’Oreal’s direction just to try the damn thing right now.

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Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.

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