Dezeen Magazine

Seymourpowell's concept uses AI to decide your skincare routine

UK studio Seymourpowell has designed a concept for a cosmetics service that would curate the perfect products based on artificial intelligence and user data.

Identité is a subscription service that combines "big data" like climate and style trends with a user's personal data — such as their schedule, diet and travel plans — to come up with highly tailored packages of skincare and beauty products.

The intelligent cosmetics concept would operate via an app, automatically sending users a package of everything they need for the week ahead.

Each day's products would come as a sheet of biodegradable single-use modules ranging from factor 30 sunscreen and BB cream to anti-pollution serum and omega-3 supplements.

The artificial intelligence (AI) operates on two levels: first, it finds suitable products for each user's skin type, environment and personal style.

Then, it augments that base profile by incorporating data on the user's recent lifestyle and their schedule for the week ahead.

Seymourpowell provides the example of a user who is about to go on holiday in Tulum, Mexico. Identité receives that information and automatically sends products that suit the high-humidity environment, as well as the vibe of the beach destination.

Based on examples from Seymourpowell's mock-up, that might include aloe vera after-sun lotion, bronzer, sea salt hair gel and temporary tattoos.

For a person heading to a business meeting in New York, Identité might provide longwear matt lipstick matched to the user's specific colouring, along with charcoal-infused double cleansing pads to take off the city's grime at the end of the day.

On days that are more about exercise than work or social outings, Identité's offering might skew towards supplements instead of beauty and grooming products.

"Identité imagines how beauty products could be designed with the application of AI to be more responsive," said Robert Cooper, a designer at Seymourpowell.

"Moving to an emphasis on flexibility and function, Identité explores the relationship between the power of algorithms to make decision for us and beauty products as a form of self-expression and personal identity," continued Cooper.

At this stage, Identité is purely theoretical. Seymourpowell designers wanted to imagine what a future might look like where beauty services are "hyper-flexible, personalised and powered by AI".

It is based on the findings of the team's recent research into the beauty market, when they interviewed influencers and experts around the world.

They found that behaviour was shifting due to digital culture, where skincare fans have become highly knowledgeable about products, often via communities on Instagram or Reddit.

"There's currently a lot of disruption within the beauty category and as a result, many nuanced and contradictory behaviours to unpack," Seymourpowell director Mariel Brown told Dezeen.

"Widespread connectivity is having a profound impact on people's attitudes toward personal identity."

"There is a desire for more diversity and consequently, new expressions of beauty are emerging," said Brown. "Individuality follows on from diversity, and we can see people viewing their bodies as an asset and looking for ways to manipulate their uniqueness to get ahead."

"We became curious as to how new technologies might combine with these new behaviours," she continued.

"What if AI could analyse data to give you an edge via your makeup and grooming? Would you be willing to let it start to control or prescribe your identity?"

Identité also taps into trends for more natural products and more sustainable packaging. By confining its products to single-use modules, Seymourpowell points out that less preservative can be used in the formulas.

The packaging is made of biodegradable injection-moulded fibre.

However, this style of packaging, highly personalised for each user on every day, is the aspect of Identité that would be the hardest to execute in the present day.

"Although there are the technology and production capabilities to produce Identité, the production techniques are not currently flexible enough to create the variation needed for this bespoke service," said Cooper.

"Traditional manufacturing's emphasis on volume and consistency has led to rigid processes that must be reconsidered to align with the digital worlds ability to provide personalised services and meet consumer demand,"

Seymourpowell is a multidisciplinary studio that often works with emerging technologies. Among its previous projects are the modular Fairphone 2 and virtual-reality software for collaboratively designing cars.

Identité follows in the footsteps of recently released AI-enhanced styling tools like the Amazon Echo Look, which uses machine learning algorithms to give users a second opinion on their outfit choice.