Beauty brands are now embracing individual needs rather than catering for mass appeal writes Meera Murugesan
FOR the longest time, beauty or personal care products have taken a one-size-fits-all approach.
If you have oily skin you get products targeted at oil control and if dry skin is your concern, you pick a moisturising or hydrating range.
But for many women (including yours truly), skin can be oily in certain areas but dry in other parts or hair can be lank and greasy during some periods but dry and frizzy at other times. So how do we choose?
And sheet masks always come in standard sizes that are often too large for some women, making them droop or bunch up at the sides when applied.
Most consumers don’t fall into the standard classifications that beauty brands generally use to market their products.
We are too complex a mix to fall into any one category, which would explain why women use a combination of products from different brands to meet their beauty and skincare needs.
Some products may have the texture we like but the scent could be unappealing and vice versa. As a consumer, you understand your skin and personal preferences the best but you haven’t had much of a choice in how these products address your specific needs and likes.
But there has been a shift in the beauty industry in the last two years with more brands ditching the once-size-fits-all approach and embracing customisation of skincare, cosmetics and fragrances.
Customistion used to be a service only available from high end brands whose clients could afford to pay for such a service but today, many affordable brands have also embraced the concept of personalisation.
With technology, it has become easier to make skincare and toiletries which can be tweaked to suit the needs of the individual consumer and to offer such products at affordable prices.
THE INDIVIDUAL TRIUMPHS
Last year it was reported that L'Oréal had unveiled a high-tech personalised skincare service called Custom D.O.S.E
It’s a state-of-the-art service which can scan and evaluate a consumer’s skin needs and based on that, combine various active ingredients to produce a serum targeted to address that person’s skin concerns.
Beauty giant Avon meanwhile has its Personalised Beauty App which allows its representatives to help customers effectively select foundation to match their skin tone while Olay, an everyday brand with mass appeal has Skin Advisor which uses artificial intelligence for skin consultations.
It was also reported early this year that Neutrogena had unveiled its innovative MaskiD at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in the United States. It’s an app that enables women to have access to a customised 3D printed face mask – aligned to the specific shape and needs of their face.
Users take a selfie in order for the app to create a multi-dimensional map of their face, including the exact measurements and shape of their facial features.
The active ingredients in the mask are also based on information about the consumer’s skin needs.
Customisation in skincare provides consumers the flexibility to choose a product that fits their needs and wants says Denise Pereira, business development manager of Clini7 (M) Sdn Bhd, the distributor of Huygens in Malaysia.
Huygens is a French beauty brand that offers clean, cruelty-free products and it has customisation services for its bespsoke body, bath and hair care products.
“Our skin and hair undergo changes each day due to environmental and physiological factors. Customisation allows consumers to choose the right product for their skin, body or hair and this is especially important when a person is experiencing hormonal changes, an acne breakout or even ageing,” says Denise.
With Huygens’ bespoke products, your hair care will be formulated according to your hair needs and the same goes for your face care which will be formulated based on your current skin needs she adds.
Customers first pick from a selection of 12 neutral products comprising body, bath or hair care.
Then they choose an essential oil of their preference to be put into those selected products. There are 15 natural essential oils to pick from depending on whether they want “comfort and calm”, “energy and vitality or just “balance”.
The Huygens team will create their bespoke body, bath or hair product on the spot by using a special magnetic stirrer to mix in the essential oil of their choice into the product and it’s all done at the beauty counter in a matter of minutes.
For someone with weak and fragile hair for example, the Huygens team will add the “strengthening Hercule” blend (rosemary, sage and lavender) to its sulfate-free and silicone-free shampoo and conditioner.
For a person with a lack of energy in the morning, they can add an uplifting blend like ylang to their organic body lotion or organic dry oil.
And customisation need not be a burden on the pocket for the consumer stresses Denise because the prices of the ingredients and the essential oils are very diverse.
“We have amazing blends at entry level price but also blends containing more rare ingredients such as Bois Rose with rose wood, which are a little more expensive.”
Huygens bespoke products range from RM98 to RM308 depending on the essential oil chosen so they are still within the price range of many women.
And as a bonus, the product is fresh and made in front of you says Denise.
THAT PERSONAL SCENT
The Body Shop, which has always been known for its ethical and eco-conscious approach to cosmetics, also hopped onto the customisation bandwagon recently with the launch of its Scents of Life fragrance range.
Scents of Life products fall into three categories - perfume oil, eau de toilette and body mist with each category containing five different options or scents. But what’s unique about this range is that it allows customers to mix and match from the various categories to create their own preferred fragrance.
“Fragrance can be personal as each individual has their own preference on the scent notes that they like. Scents of Life will allow customers to play, engage and experience different types of scents and our customers can let their creativity go wild,” says Datin Mina Cheah-Foong, managing Director of The Body Shop Malaysia.
Roger Schmid, a fragrance expert and group advisor on innovation for The Body Shop says customisation is the way the fragrance industry is heading and in the case of The Body Shop, its new range offers “affordable customisation” and its particularly appealing to young people.
“Young people like the idea of having and using something they created themselves because they have this natural curiosity and also, they want to be different,” says Schmid.
One can express individuality in a myriad of ways, through clothes and accessories but fragrance is a subtle, more intimate way to do it he adds.
“People often say I have four fragrances but I never thought about mixing them up!”
Today, it’s no longer about brands or Paris or New York dictating what we should be wearing or using stresses Schmid. The old rules or standards don’t apply.
It’s about what the user finds appealing and even puts together herself.
Mixing scents and coming up with something new that is surprising and pleasant is a lot like cooking explains Schmid.
And once you get into it, you will be surprised by what you can create and people will be pleased because they can say they put it together themselves he says.
MADE FOR YOUR FACE
FINDING the right moisturiser is crucial but the search can be long and frustrating because two people with the same type of skin can still have very different needs.
Gone are the days of the one-size-fits all skincare says Wong Fong Yee, Clinique Malaysia’s education manager.
“The new era of skincare is about customisation. Just like our fingerprint which is uniquely our own, our skin requires skincare that is tailored specifically to our unique needs and concerns.”
Customised skincare is important she adds because it is curated to meet your skin’s needs at the present time. A person’s skin condition changes throughout their life, influenced by genetics, age, lifestyles and environment factors.
So even if two people have the same skin type, their skin needs can be vastly different. A personalised skincare product can address targeted concerns specific to the particular individual that mass products are unable to.
Clinique introduced the idea of a custom-fit skin care regimen in 1968, with its iconic 3-Step system.
The brand is now empowering the consumer to fully control and create the perfect moisturiser for their skin type and concerns with Clinique iD – a custom-blend hydration system.
Launched in March this year, there are essentially two parts to Clinique iD. The first part consists of three hydrations bases from Clinique’s Dramatically Different series.
Consumers choose the hydration base of their choice, whether it’s the Dramatically Different moisturiser, lotion or oil-free gel.
The second part consists of five active cartridge concentrates which contain high levels of pure, concentrated active ingredients to target specific concerns, whether its pores and uneven texture, uneven skin tone, lines and wrinkles, irritation or fatigue.
To customise, users take the hydration base of their choice and select one of the five active cartridge concentrates and combine both by inserting the active cartridge concentrate into the hydration base. The result is their very own custom-blend hydration system.