Chinese people Like Tailor-made cosmetic products
It was as easy as 1-2-3. I refer, of course, to the so-called Clinique “computer”. Launched in 1968, the computer was actually a plastic diagnostic tool with a sliding bar — like a beauty abacus — that sat on shiny white counters in department stores and swiped to reveal a personalised solution for your every skincare need. Every skincare need, that is, as long as it was one of four: normal, oily, dry or (more radical at that time when there really weren’t any other options) combination.
Personalised skincare has come a long way since Clinique’s pioneering skincare programme became one of the world’s best-selling “bespoke” ranges (50 years later, a bottle of Dramatically Different Moisturiser — from £30 — is sold somewhere in the world every four seconds). Wander through a beauty hall today and aside from the ubiquitous monogramming, you’ll find personalised skincare programmes wherever you look.
倩碧具有开创意义的护肤方案一举成为全球最热销的“定制”产品系列之一(50年后，全球平均每4秒就能卖出一瓶售价30美元起的倩碧特效润肤露(Dramatically Different Moisturiser))。此后，私人定制护肤品突飞猛进。如今再逛化妆品区，除了无处不在的倩碧身影，量身定制的护肤产品随处可见。
From Dior’s new Capture Totale serums, which address an array of individual concerns — be it plumping, redness, lifting, mattifying or getting extra “glow” — to face masks by Fresh designed to be layered and alternated according to the day of the week, brands today are catering to a consumer who, rather than being boxed into a “type”, wants a moisturiser for every mood.
“It makes sense,” says Noella Gabriel, the co-founder of Elemis, whose skincare analysis relies on detailed facial mapping and lifestyle consultations, as well as a choice of 10 different treatments, all of which help explain which of its 450 products are right for you. “Skin type will fluctuate throughout the month due to hormones, stress and varying factors as well as age. So, although you may have a combination skin type there will be times that oiliness and breakouts are more the norm, when you feel that your skin most needs the attention.”
According to a new report by Mintel, this demand for individualized beauty is in its infancy. It predicts a big increase in customization beauty in the year ahead. The demand is driven by the Asian market: in the same survey, 31 per cent of Chinese consumers aged between 20 and 49 said “individuality” was the definition of luxury. “More than ever, customers are seeking experiences and products that are tailored rather than a one-size-fits-all approach,” agrees Emily Saunders, the beauty buyer for Self ridges and its Beauty Workshop. The newly opened 5,000 sq ft space offers a range of “bespoke” services, from facial massages at Face Gym to skincare from Geneu — a British brand that sells tailor-made serums (from £200) based on a 15-minute DNA test.
For stores, personalisation has the added advantage of offering a flexibility that can’t be delivered as easily via e-commerce. The Clinique “computer” (a version of which they still have for those of us nostalgic enough to miss it) is now the ubiquitous iPad, while other skincare counters offer high-tech equipment or hands-on mini-facials, all of which require the advice of a consultant.
“The customer wants to walk away knowing they have received something that’s bespoke to their needs and haven’t just been sold the latest launch,” says Emily Soulsby, beauty buyer at Liberty, whose beauty rooms offer a pop-up facial service that delivers a detailed skin analysis. “It’s about the service rather than what’s on the bottle. We have customers who come in for a facial and go on to purchase the products recommended in their treatment.”
The potential for sales is enormous. When QMS Medicosmetics took over the beauty room for a week, offering tailored consultations, its in-store sales tripled.
Yet while the diagnostic tools are personal, are the products all that bespoke? Elixseri, a new range of serum-only skincare (from £76), is an innovative line designed to work according to how your skin feels at different times of the week, month or year. You pick a serum that deals with your most pressing concern, then layer on another to address other issues as and when you feel the need. This “wardrobe” approach is definitely a step in the right direction, but Dr Liudmila Korkina, the chief scientist behind it, agrees that — like most skincare offerings — it’s far from being fully personalised yet. “In order to create a truly personalised diagnostic, we need to determine many more factors than the standard lipid or moisture levels that we do today,” she says. “From a medical and formulation perspective, personalised skincare is one of the largest challenges of modern dermatology and cosmetology.”
不过，尽管诊断工具的使用做到了个性化，但产品都做到了量身定制吗?新推出的纯乳液护肤系列Elixseri(售价76英镑起)大胆创新，会根据你的皮肤在一周、一个月或一年内不同时间的不同感受来选择配方。你选择一款针对你最迫切需求的乳液，在需要时，再叠加一层针对其他问题的乳液。这种“衣橱”式护肤的思路肯定是正确的，但该品牌首席科学家柳德米拉•科尔基纳博士(Dr Liudmila Korkina)也赞同一点，即与大多数护肤产品一样，目前该品牌还远远称不上完全个性化定制。“要想做到真正个性化的诊断，我们需要确定多得多的因素，绝不仅我们现在依据的标准脂质或含水量。”她说，“从医学和配方上讲，个性化护肤是现代皮肤科和美容业最艰巨的挑战之一。”
One brand attempting to meet that challenge is Allél, a Swiss-made skincare label created by two Swedes. Allél’s products and nutritional supplements are prescribed only after the customer has had DNA testing and a professional evaluation (available at the Cadogan Clinic in London for £1,500, and including three months of products). Allél looks at 16 genetic markers in five different categories of skin ageing, including skin’s collagen, pigmentation and how it responds to inflammation.
“Our products have been tested in clinical tests, showing significant results within 28 days of use, with improved skin firmness and elasticity as well as reduction of wrinkle depth and volume,” says the brand’s co-founder Dr Elisabet Hagert.
该品牌联合创始人伊丽莎白•哈格特博士(Dr Elisabet Hagert)表示：“我们的产品都经过了临床测试。测试结果显示，在连续使用28天后，皮肤会得到显著改善，更加紧致，有弹性，皱纹也会变浅和减少。”
Of course, the real test is whether having such a personalised regime will make a significant difference. “Everything about skincare is psychological and we must learn it,” says Elixseri chief executive Alicia Schweiger. “The placebo effect is at least 50 per cent of the entire learning experience.” Knowing it’s just for you might give your skincare a head start. For once in your life, perhaps you should take it personally.