Beauty products catch the eye

A robotic arm applying make-up was just one of the innovative displays at the expo booths of world-renowned cosmetics companies.
Beauty products catch the eye
Dong Jun / SHINE

Women wandering past the pavilions of the China International Import Expo couldn't help being attracted by the well-decorated booths of beauty brands where they could pick up their favorite items as easily as taking sweets from a candy box.

At Hall 5.1 of the Pavilion of Apparel, Accessories & Consumer Goods, a booth of makeup giant L'Oréal Paris was the most eye-catching with its AI-powered makeup robot. Inside a glass display case, a robotic arm was seen putting make-up on the model of a female face. 

Holding a lash brush in its "fingers," it turned to the model and applied mascara to her lashes. Then it put the brush back in its container, screwed on the cap and picked another brush to apply blusher to the model's cheeks. The last step was using lipstick to color the model's lips.

Many visitors thought this was something that could free women from the complicated business of putting on make-up, and that may be the case in future, but, for now, it's what L'Oréal uses to test the quality of its products, according to the company's Chen Jiaqi.

Chen told Shanghai Daily that in manual tests, the force every tester uses is different so the results will not be the same. But the robotic arm can ensure each action has the same force. It can also help find out the different effect of applying less or more lipstick.

"It delivers an idea of L'Oréal's digital transformation," said Chen. "L'Oréal has a dream that it can be the first scientific and technological make-up company of the beauty industry. We believe digitization is not only shown on digital promotion. Our data management and factories will all go for digitization."

L'Oréal also brought another two intelligent cosmetic devices to the CIIE — an AI-powered mechanical box for customizing liquid foundation and an AI-powered "magic mirror" which can show how a woman would look in different make-up before trying it. 

The liquid foundation box, with four pigments — red, yellow, black and white — and two enhancers to reach different levels of moisture and thickness, will mix the colors to get the most suitable one for the customer based on data collected from her. It can create more than 3,000 colors for customers, said Chen.

The AI mirror is to help women try different products online. The screen acts like a real mirror but when you choose different colors for your lips and hair, you will see an image of yourself with these colors.

South Korean beauty and cosmetics company Amorepacific was taking pride on its 3D-printed face mask.

Researcher Lin Guihua showed the system and machines the company uses to customize essences and masks for customers. "So far we haven't provided such services in China, but we hope we could have the chance to do it for our Chinese customers one day in the future," said Lin.

With a scanning device, the online system can get information about a customer's skin and its color, moisture, oil, elasticity, wrinkles, pigmentation and the condition of its pores. It will analyze it and give the most appropriate "recipe" for the machine to make the essence.

Another 3D-printing machine can make a mask the same size as the customer's face based on the data collected and apply different levels of moisture and nutrition.

Meanwhile, Japanese beauty and healthcare producer Fancl helps visitors to test their "vascular age" and body fat while showcasing its health food, which is making its debut in China. It also has a health food series designed for women of different ages.

Sui Shasha at the booth told Shanghai Daily that Fancl has seven research institutions covering fields such as beauty, healthcare, materials and anti-aging. It plans to open offline experience centers for Chinese people to enjoy their products and services.

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