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09/08/2021

Sephora updates new AI technology to promote exclusive products

Sephora has updated its Color IQ technology to better serve its clients when seeking cosmetics that match skin tones.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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Beauty retailer Sephora recently unveiled its very first Black-owned beauty campaign, pairing it with a new technology to promote exclusive Sephora products. The French multinational retailer launched in the United States in 1999, and keeps over 25,000 products in its inventory from over 300 brands, including many that can only be found at Sephora.

“Many of the tools, techniques, iconic looks and trends in beauty exist because of the Black community, driven by Black beauty needs and innovation,” said Priya Venkatesh, senior VP of merchandising at Sephora. “However, these contributions have historically been underrecognized or for most, unknown. At Sephora, we want to help move the conversation forward, bringing awareness and education surrounding the impact of Black beauty in our daily lives. This campaign spotlights our Black-owned brands, championing the excellence and efficacy of their innovative products, for all Sephora beauty shoppers.”

The campaign, aimed at recognizing and celebrating Black culture and innovation in the beauty industry, follows the launch last month of a short statement film called “Black Beauty is Beauty” and highlights Black-owned brands and founders, including PATTERN by Tracee Ellis Ross, Briogeo, adwoa beauty, BREAD BEAUTY SUPPLY, Fenty Beauty, Forvr Mood, PAT McGRATH LABS, LYS Beauty, Danessa Myricks Beauty and Fashion Fair.

Sephora has also announced it will unveil its new Sephora Color iQ foundation matching service in-store, which will feature new AI technology, to provide a best-in-class experience for all clients to find their best foundation match. Current shade matching in the industry only accounts for depth and undertone, says Sephora, while the new Color iQ technology accounts for depth, undertone, and saturation to recommend the best products that closely match clients' skin tones. Sephora’s Color iQ uses a proprietary algorithm to provide clients with a dataset of over 10,000 skin tones, suitable across all shade ranges. Sephora currently offers over 8,000 foundation SKUs and with the help of this AI-based tool, Sephora’s Beauty Advisors can help clients find their perfect match in minutes.

For Color IQ, Sephora devised a new and inclusive color system that strategically spans even beyond the retailer’s current foundation assortment. Sephora’s updated Color IQ system has five-times the number of skin tone colors than it had before, allowing a more accurate match with an infinite number of skin tones.

Sephora exclusive Black-owned products that can be found via the Color IQ service include Fenty Skin, LYS Beauty, Fashion Fair, Topicals, Shani Darden Skincare, FORVR Mood, 54 Thrones, Eadem, Fenty Makeup, Pat McGrath Labs, Adwoa Beauty, and Bread Beauty.