Many of us swipe on our favorite lipstick, mascara or blush in an easy breezy manner, without much physical effort. But there are millions of people for whom applying makeup poses a much bigger challenge.
French cosmetics giant L’Oreal unveiled a new handheld makeup applicator called HAPTA at this year’s the Consumer Electronics Show (or CES) in Las Vegas, that aims to assist people with limited mobility or tremors to apply makeup independently. The device was developed in partnership with Verily, a life sciences research company within Alphabet, which is also the corporate parent of Google.
“An estimated one in ten people in the US have some type of fine motor skill challenge. Most of us know someone or have someone in our family that faces this challenge,” said Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oreal’s technology incubator.
The device consists of a base, applicator and an attachment that snap into place magnetically for ease of use and offer 360 degrees of rotation.
“We’ve been thinking for a long time about how to use technology with a sense of purpose to meet the beauty needs of individuals with limited hand and arm mobility,” he said.
Balooch said HAPTA incorporates technology originally developed by Verily to stabilize and level the applicator. Built-in smart motion sensors recognize patterns of essential tremors and unintended movements when it is held. The device, he said, adjusts to those rhythms to assist in steady makeup application.
It also has a built-in battery that enables about one hour of continuous use when fully charged.
The initial functionality of the device is to assist in lipstick application. While L’Oreal piloted HAPTA with its Lancôme lipstick brand at CES, Balooch said the goal is for users to ultimately be able to fit any brand of lipstick into the device and also expand usage to other makeup applications, including foundation, blush and mascara.
L’Oreal expects to launch HAPTA for sales at the end of the year, with an estimated price of between $150 to $200.
L’Oreal debuted another invention at CES called Brow Magic, a handheld electronic eyebrow makeup applicator to create customized brow shapes. It developed Brow Magic with Korean tech company Prinker, a maker of printed, non-permanent tattoos.
People can download the Brow Magic app and scan their face with it, choosing a desired shape and thickness of the brow they want to create.
After brushing a Brow Magic primer through brows, users move the printer across the eyebrow in a single motion. The device uses 2,400 tiny nozzles and printing technology with up to 1,200 drops per inch (dpi) printing resolution to deposit removable ink on the skin. Each ink cartridge should last six months.
The final step involves applying a topcoat to lock in the shape. The printed brow shape can be removed using makeup remover.
Balooch said Brow Magic should also hit the market at the end of 2023, priced between $150 and $200.