Feb 12, 2014
10 major beauty innovations to get excited about
Catherine Louis Credits: Catherine Louis
Feb 12, 2014
10 major beauty innovations to get excited about
Now: Lightweight HD makeup formulas, such as Make Up For Ever MicroFinish Powder, blur fine lines and pores.
Within 10 years: Makeup with embedded sensors will be able to adjust to lifestyle or environmental conditions to promote healthy skin. If it’s humid, mattifying ingredients will quickly wick away moisture or, when it’s dry, others will add hydration. Sally Uren, CEO of London-based non-profit agency Forum for the Future, suggests we might also see makeup that uses light-sensitive ingredients that evaporate at the end of the day, thus eliminating the need to remove it at all. Lazy girls, this is a total game changer.
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2. There’s a pill for that
Now: Color Wow Root Cover Up, a water-resistant brush-on mineral powder, conceals errant greys between shampoos like a champ.
Within five years: Instead of having a standing appointment to mask roots, you could pop a pill to prevent grey altogether. Details are hush-hush, but L’Oréal did make an announcement that it is working on a grey-prevention supplement. Independent research shows that the absence of the TRP-2 enzyme, which helps protect melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells, is what causes us to go grey. L’Oréal’s pill would be based on a fruit extract that mimics it. Caveat: You’d have to take the pill before you started seeing silver, as it can only prevent, not reverse, the process.
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3. Big-Brother beauty: Sensors that keep you on track
Now: Nike’s FuelBand tallies fitness efforts, and Jawbone’s Up Wristband measures shut-eye habits.
Within five years: Expect to see smart sensors surfacing in tech-embedded beauty products. “Intelligent objects, like techie eyeglasses, shirts, cars and appliances, are a huge trend, so the next logical step is makeup and skincare,” says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT, a marketing communications agency in New York that works with Johnson & Johnson and Schick.
According to Mack, we’ll eschew best-before date stamps in favour of bottles that begin a countdown as soon as you break a product seal and alert you when your makeup or face creams are past due. She also predicts that remembering to reapply SPF poolside will be a cinch thanks to a wearable patch that changes colour— likely connected to your smartphone— to tell you when you need to bump up your sun shield.
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4. Makeup that morphs
Now: Unless you are a Kardashian, privacy is an increasingly coveted commodity. Many gyms no longer allow cellphones, and guests at weddings are being asked to respect “no social media” rules.
Within 15 years: Worrying about someone posting a photo of you online? Just buy a feature-masking foundation. Uren says it just might happen. “This type of makeup would contain pigments engineered to blur features from facial-recognition technologies like Google Glass or other insidious things,” she says.
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Now: Sephora’s IQ hand-held magic wand “reads” skin at the molecular level to pair you with the perfect foundation. At Holt Renfrew’s Yorkdale store in Toronto, you can pose at its #selfie station after getting your makeup done and then share it online.
Within three years: Hyper-targeted retail marketing could all but replace your local counter person. Watch for beacons, says Mack. These are in-store location-aware shopping devices that employ low-power Bluetooth transmitters. (Apple just launched its version, called “iBeacon,” naturally.) “Marketing messages will be much more segmented,” she adds. For example, if the store beacon knows you are Caucasian, 40 years old and have dry skin, you can opt to have reviews from similar demographics sent right to your chosen device.
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6. No pain, all gain
Now: Last year, Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch launched anti-cellulite jeans that promise to turn body heat into infrared rays to stimulate circulation.
Within 10 years: Eradicating double chins and bra bulges without extensive downtime is the next frontier in cosmetic procedures. “Tightening the skin of the face and body is the ultimate challenge,” says Dr. Fredric Brandt, a New York-based cosmetic dermatologist. “In time, we will see lasers that are able to work beneath the skin’s surface without actually disrupting it.” Brandt sees this youth-enhancing process improving over the years with “little downtime and maximum benefits.”
7. Gene-pool beauty
Now: Since mapping the human genome in 2000, researchers have been using gene chips to assess everything from the cause of dandruff to rosacea.
Within five to 10 years: Soon, science will understand why one product works for your best friend but doesn’t work for you. Your derm appointment might include a prescription for an entirely customized anti-aging program that syncs specifically with your genes. “We will be able to be specific in the portions of the DNA we are targeting in each individual,” explains Brandt. This would allow beauty companies to create incredibly effective products to battle everything from acne to aging. It’s also possible that, one day, microscopic spider-like robots with the ability to seek out bad cells (i.e., cancerous ones) and destroy them without affecting any of the surrounding healthy cells will be implanted in the body.
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8. Top tips
Now: Nails are covered in magnetic pigments with high-wattage finishes.
Within five years: Bentley, not Balmain, may inspire your nouveau nail shade. “Much of our innovation for nail-polish finishes, colours and textures comes from the car industry,” says Ralph Macchio, chief scientific officer and senior vice-president of global research and development for Coty. He points to advancements in polymer technology to improve polishes by making them much more resilient. “Polymers bind colour to the nail, and, depending on how they’re grouped together, they give a certain characteristic: tacky versus non-tacky, shiny or matte,” he explains. “We can tailor the polymers to how we want them to behave.” This means more insta-dry options that last longer and more innovation with textures. The nail holy grail? “Whoever breaks through with an acetone-free way to remove gel polish—they’ll have a big winner,” says Macchio. Your nail tips may soon be able to open doors for you. False nails embedded with radio-frequency identification tags could open electric doors, pay for your dinner at a restaurant or function as your (very stylish) subway-pass smartcard.
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Now: Trying different hairstyles is easy with an online virtual makeover. And in Japan, Shiseido is using Mirai Mirror at its counters. This motion-sensitive mirror allows customers to try on makeup without lifting a brush. Pick up a product, scan the bar code and the motion-sensitive mirror instantly applies it to your face. It’s texture-sensitive, so users have a realistic view of what a product will look like.
Within 10 years: On the medical side, Uren predicts the invention of skin-health mirrors that are able to detect skin cancers long before they are visible to the naked eye.
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10. Needle-free zone
Now: Beauty companies are borrowing from regenerative medicine to treat wrinkles as “micro-scars,” prompting skin to boost its repair mechanisms. Take Giorgio Armani Crema Nera Extrema, which uses pro-regenerative proteins (PRGP) to kick-start wrinkles to heal themselves for smoother skin.
Within two years: Revance Therapeutics is now in stage-three clinical trials for its brand of topical Botox (a.k.a. botulinum toxin type A), known as “RT001.” The gel will be able to penetrate the skin, relaxing underlying muscles to soften creases. If you want to firm up your face quickly, Living Proof (a beauty company born from research out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is launching Strateris, a “proprietary cross-linking, breathable polymer film technology.” The film, which can be spread across the face, is said to be flexible and imperceptible during daily use and can reshape the appearance of skin: a true facelift in a jar.
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When worn for just 12 hours, the First Warning Systems Breast Tissue Screening Bra can detect tissue-growth-pattern changes long before a mammogram can. Pending FDA approval, it could be on the market this year.
Need to halt mindless munching? Microsoft recently sent Twitter into a tizzy with its prototype for a sensor-equipped bra that would help curb emotional eating. After the Internet went crazy, the company soon clarified that it would instead be opting to develop a wristband with similar screening capabilities that can be worn by both sexes.
Scrolling through a sea of YouTube tutorials for hair-spiration? So 2013. Matrix is rolling out its “Eye for Style Salon Chair” via Google Glass. Book virtual salon time with L.A.-based Matrix stylist George Papanikolas (who counts Nicole Richie and Miranda Kerr as clients) and he’ll capture your styling service via Google Glass and email you a personalized tutorial video that you can watch time and time again until you nail the twists and turns of a fishtail braid.
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