Ruth Griffin: The face of the future
From the 'smart hairbrush' to genetically-profiled skincare, the best high-tech beauty
It's predicted that by 2020 there will be 30 billion connected devices across the globe - it appears the Internet of Things is fast taking over. But how many of these digital devices will be beauty related? As hard as it may be to imagine a Wi-Fi connected lipstick, or a Bluetooth-enabled mascara, it seems that this is indeed where the beauty industry is heading - with a few highly futuristic tech grooming gadgets already available.
Take for instance the soon-to-be-launched Kérastase Smart Hair Coach Brush which has a monitor and microphone to decode how you are brushing your hair and how damaged it is. Connected to an app on your phone, the brush will collect this personalised data and recommend products and techniques to help any hair issues you may have. Already available is the Way Skincare Device (¤55 plus shipping from wayskin.com) - a gadget shaped like a make-up compact that wirelessly pairs to your smartphone, via Bluetooth and an app. It contains sensors that monitor a user's skin as well as the environment, and sends notifications to the user's phone making recommendations such as applying moisturiser or sunblock - acting essentially as a virtual dermatologist in your pocket!
These types of products show us that personalised, data-driven cosmetic products are striking a chord with beauty buffs. Added to that, women are downloading new make-up apps that use augmented reality technology to enable them to virtually road test thousands of make-up items, in real time! As a self-confessed technophobe, even I'm impressed. Next generation skincare has arrived, so I've rebooted my routine with some of the great beauty tech gadgets listed below.
* Actress and acne sufferer Olivia Holt (19) - pictured - is a fan of this next gen skincare mask — the blue light that emanates from the futuristic-looking light therapy mask targets bacteria, with the red light targeting inflammation arising from breakouts and problem skin. Use for 10 minutes a few times a week.
Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask, €51.32, from pharmacies and Boots nationwide
TREAT VS CHEAT
Use only the tiniest amount of this divine, peachy-toned skin brightener for a shot of shimmery, summer skin - Tom Ford Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust, €39, Brown Thomas, House of Fraser
This is a good alternative - again, a little goes a long way with this product. Mix with your foundation or use alone on skin for a luminous, golden glow - Catrice Soleil D'Ete Sheer Serum Bronzer, €5.50, pharmacies and Penneys nationwide
3 TOP MAKE-UP APPS
The beauty industry has cottoned on to the benefits of the tech revolution on make-up sales. Apps that use digital filters and augmented reality to help users predict what make-up products will look like on their faces are being downloaded in their millions. Instead of standing in crowded, badly-lit make-up aisles frantically swabbing on testers that look totally different in daylight, these apps allow us stay at home and virtually test thousands of products, then click to buy. Here are three of the best make-up matching apps…
1 L'Oreal's' Make-Up Genius App - allows users to virtually try on all of the 4,500 make-up products that L'Oreal has in its stockpile. This augmented reality app works in real time (most other make-up apps have worked on a static image) so you can see exactly how you will look in a new lipstick or eye shadow, and decide whether you want to buy the product or not. No more standing in the make-up aisles, trying to guess what looks good. This is a brilliant, time-saving beauty app.
2 Rimmel Get The Look App - this has been dubbed the "Shazam" for beauty buffs! Have you ever looked at an image of a celeb and really wanted to know what lipstick she wears or foundation she uses? Well, here's a handy little helper - this app scans images from across the net and finds Rimmel products that match the shades and make-up styles featured. Users can then virtually try on the make-up in an image of themselves and shop for the Rimmel products to steal their style icon's look!
3 No 7 Match Made Make-Up App - how many of us have bottles of wrong-shade foundation rattling away in our make-up bags? Finding the right shade of foundation can be costly and it's a personal bugbear of mine! Now No 7 has launched its tech driven solution. Just pick up a match-made skin tone analysis card from your local Boots store, download the app, take an image of yourself with the card against your face and input it into the app to see which No 7 products match your skin tone. Genius!
7 OF THE BEST TECH-DRIVEN GOODIES
● Dermatologist in Your Pocket
A tech-driven skincare device that is garnering rave reviews, the ZIIP Beauty Nano Current Skincare Device, €480, is described as a "Harley Street dermatologist in your pocket". This tiny skin stimulator uses nano currents (which mimic the body's own impulses) to kick-start skin cells and optimise their efficiency. Using an app to control the device, you can adjust the setting to address specific skin concerns - from first signs of ageing to acne and lost elasticity - with tangible results cited in just four weeks. To use, download the ZIIP Beauty App (only available on iTunes currently) sync with your Bluetooth and the ZIIP device works its magic and builds up data on your skin issues. From cultbeauty.co.uk.
● Genetically-Profiled Skincare
Stem cell and gene-specific skincare is currently making waves in the beauty industry, and it's widely believed this will become a cornerstone of skincare as more research is carried out. Younom is a new brand that provides wholly customised skincare creams and supplements based on your genetic profile. It uses a saliva sample, which you send by post, to test for the genomes responsible for your specific skin traits (elasticity, hydration etc). Then you order your personalised, anti-ageing cream or supplement. Minimum first order of DNA test, €79, and Younom 24-Hour Multi Active Face Cream, €79. Sixty-day supplements from €29. For more details see younom.com.
● DIY Micro-Needling
Micro-needling is a non-invasive skincare therapy that is a sure-fire way of rejuvenating the skin and adding brightness and illumination - it can also be mega expensive in salons and therapy rooms. If you fancy trying it at home at home, check out the Beauty Stamp by Nurse Jamie, €51, from net-a-porter.com. Also available from the brand is the EGF Stem Cell Complex, €120, which uses plant stem cells to prompt cell growth and plump the skin.
● Electronic blender
One of the hallmarks of a great make-up artist is how long they spend blending and blurring products so that make-up appears soft and natural. If you haven't the patience or skill-set required to do this, check out the blendSmart 2 Way Foundation Brush, €58. It can be used to apply foundation, bronzer and blusher and to contour - the soft brush head spins around rapidly and takes all the hard work out of blending and softening make up lines. From amazon.com.
● Bio-digital skincare
This skincare line is using biotech innovation that is garnering attention in the beauty world, by combining natural ingredients with exosomes. These are messengers that occur naturally in our bodies and tell cells to lock in hydration, facilitating self-repair and reducing the outward appearance of ageing. This hybrid of serum, moisturiser and eye cream adapts throughout the day, so there's no need for you to use multiple day and night creams! Exo Bio.digital Perfection Moisturiser, €103 plus shipping, exoskinsimple.com.
● Mani/Pedi in a Can
Is this the future of manicures? If like me, you have zero patience with manis that take forever, check out this time-saving gem! Nails Inc Hoxton Market Spray-On Nail Polish Paint Can, €17. Spray on this fast drying nail varnish (which is in an aerosol) straight on to nails, then wash off any polish residue which may be on fingers with warm soapy water - a perfect pedi in under two mins! From Boots nationwide.
NOTE: It's important to use a base coat with this polish.
● At-Home Manicurist
If you're not great at doing your own nails, or don't have either the budget or the time for regular manicures, this smart little nail buffer is like an at-home manicurist. The battery-powered beauty gadget buffs away nail ridges and can be used on hands and feet. Emoji Micro Nail, €49.99, from pharmacies nationwide and micronail.ie.