‘Upskilling’ complete: L’Oréal to close Clarisonic and refocus on own-brand device NPD

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Clarisonic has a range of facial care brush devices for different skin types and needs, including acne, ageing and men's grooming (Image: Clarisonic Facebook)
Clarisonic has a range of facial care brush devices for different skin types and needs, including acne, ageing and men's grooming (Image: Clarisonic Facebook)

Related tags: L'oréal, Clarisonic, beauty 4.0, Beauty devices, beauty tech, Personalisation, AI, Beauty apps

International beauty major L’Oréal will shut down its facial care brushes business Clarisonic to refocus and invest new product development efforts into own-brand devices.

L’Oréal acquired the Washington-based skin care tool company in 2011​ and was now set to shut down the entire business, effective from September 30, 2020.

“This difficult decision was made so that L’Oréal can focus its attention on its other core business offerings,”​ Clarisonic said in a statement.

A L’Oréal spokesperson told CosmesticsDesign-Europe: Clarisonic has played an instrumental role in upskilling and ultimately expanding L’Oréal’s knowledge and expertise beyond cosmetics and personal care products to the benefit of all L’Oréal brands. L’Oréal will continue to leverage the know-how acquired through Clarisonic to continue to develop our own brands devices.”

L’Oréal tech-heavy AI-driven future

Since 2012, L’Oréal had been heavily invested in beauty tech under its Technology Incubator – designed and launched as a start-up within its research and innovation division focused on the development of products that plugged market gaps and met consumer needs.

Led by Guive Balooch – a man who firmly believed beauty tech for customisation and precision was the future​ – L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator had already launched several products since its inception, including a smart skin tracking app My Skin Track UV and custom-blended foundation tool Le Teint Particulier.

In January 2020, the incubator unveiled its latest piece of beauty tech innovation – an AI-powered at-home skin care device ‘Perso’.​ Standing at 6.5 inches tall and weighing 450g, L’Oréal’s Perso device had been designed to mix personalised skin care, lipstick and foundation formulas based on real-time data and trend analysis provided by its ModiFace tech app. A global launch under skin care was pegged for next year.

Balooch said the technology would be applied to “multiple brands”​ across the company’s portfolio globally and targeted “anyone seeking a personalised beauty experience tailored just for them”.

“…There is no situation where I think technology won’t be a part of beauty in the future, I’m convinced of that,”​ he said.

Beauty 4.0 increasingly competitive

And L’Oréal wasn’t alone in believing beauty tech was the future. The beauty tech race was clearly on​, with artificial intelligence, augmented reality, big data and mobile apps becoming part and parcel of everyday business in the category – all driven by personalisation. And there was plenty more still to come.

Last year, Shiseido unveiled a subscription-based personalised beauty service​, also linked to a smartphone app for optimal and tailored skin care. Scottish firm Cutitronics was also on an expansion mission​ with its hand-held, data-driven device that analysed skin and linked this to contributing factors like weather and age tracked through an app. And Swedish skintech brand Foreo recently upgraded its facial mask priming device​, among a swathe of other brands investing in technology advances.

Beauty biohacking – where science and data was used to tailor regimes to exact physiological needs – was one of CosmeticsDesign-Europe’s five EMEA trends to watch in 2020​.

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