L'Oréal debuts Perso, personalized beauty products made at home

L'Oréal's new Perso device

A new product coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas could be a new disruptive force down the cosmetics aisle at retail, including private label which has recently been gaining speed in the category through retailers like Trader Joe’s and Ulta.

At CES this week, L'Oréal launched a small device called Perso that can create personalized beauty products at home. In other words, consumers who own a Perso can create their own customized shade of pink lipstick or a foundation that exactly matches skin tone. This means fewer shoppers looking for the right shade of pink in grocery store beauty aisles and more shoppers creating personalized makeup at home.

"L'Oréal is leveraging advanced technology to create smart beauty products and services that answer the needs of our consumers and offer them near-limitless personalization and precision," said Nicolas Hieronimus, L'Oréal deputy CEO. "We are committed to making L'Oréal the leader in Beauty Tech – and Perso is the next step in that exciting journey."

National consumer goods brands are finding new ways to battle against private brands and innovation is a stronghold. The Perso launch to get consumers buying beauty at home especially poses a risk to food retailers who have recently revamped beauty care products to be more competitive such as through customization like Target, upscaled beauty departments (e.g., Wegmans Food Markets) and private brands (e.g., Trader Joe's).

Grocers have been trying to emulate the level of beauty personalization that retailers such as Ulta offer, with some success. But L'Oréal's latest launch poses another threat to retailers because now that technology and customization is being put into consumers' homes, another hurdle in getting people to buy beauty at grocery stores. 

L'Oréal says Perso creates personalized skin care in four steps:

  • Personal skin analysis: The user opens the Perso mobile app and takes a photo with a smartphone camera. Utilizing L'Oréal-owned ModiFace technology, the app uses AI to analyze the user's overall skin condition — including deep wrinkles, fine lines, the appearance of dark spots, and pore visibility.

  • Environmental assessment: Using Breezometer geo-location data, Perso assesses local environmental conditions that can influence the state of the user's skin, including weather, temperature, pollen, UV index and humidity.

  • Product preference: The user then enters personal skin care concerns into the Perso app, including fine lines, dark spots, pigmentation, pore size, radiance and dullness. The user can also input preferred texture and hydration-level to further customize a unique formula of moisturizer, serum, and under-eye cream.

  • Custom formulation and dispensing: This collective data informs the creation of a personalized blend of high-performance skincare, dispensed in a perfectly portioned, single dose at the top of the device for easy, clean application. The technology adjusts for morning and evening application, and the device features a detachable mirrored top so consumers have the option of taking a single or larger dose with them on-the-go.

Perso's hardware features a unique motor system located at the top of the device that moves and compresses the formula from the cartridges at the base of the machine in an upward motion to the dispensing tray above.

With regular use, Perso's AI platform will be able to assess skin conditions over time, letting the user know what is working and will automatically adapt future formulas based on personal results.

Perso also features an automatic refill process that ensures its custom, NFC-tagged cartridges are always stocked and ready for daily use. Users can manage shipments from the Perso mobile app.

Perso will be launched in partnership with a leading L'Oréal skin care brand in 2021.

Gina Acosta writes for sister publication Progressive Grocer.