Next-gen color-changing properties appear in fashion and beauty

Customization reigns supreme to modern youth as they are increasingly able to adjust their surroundings with the tap of a smartphone button, and they’re demanding it in their personal style as well. Within the rise of smart attire, researchers are experimenting with color-changing properties that aren’t limited only to clothes, but also accessories, jewelry, and beauty. 


Color-changing features are popping up in the cosmetics industry as well. Texas-based Chaos Makeup recently launched a multi-chrome pigment that shifts between multiple colors, including magenta, teal, green, and purple. The brand has been teasing followers with eye-popping videos of these whole hand swatches, which change color based on body heat and light, for the last year. While the product was only recently made available, the social media-based introduction stirred interest and excitement for both its versatility and the way such cosmetics engage the senses, visually or otherwise. 


While Cassandra called out the rise of lighter, sleeker smart rings at the beginning of the year, researchers at MIT are taking this concept in a more colorful direction. Upon finding that UV light can change the color of 3D-printed apparel and accessories that are printed with photochromic ink that changes color when exposed to ultraviolet light, the scientists created rings that started out white but changed to yellow, red, and blue. While the technology is far from perfect, like the researchers behind ChroMorphous, it engendered excitement over the technology’s potential for more impactful applications.


Words like “active” and “user-controlled” describe an entire category of smart technology, but now, thanks to research scientists at the University of Central Florida, these concepts apply to a wearable tech fabric called ChroMorphous. ChroMorphous, which can be controlled via an app on the wearer’s smartphone, differs from other color-changing fabrics on the market due to the design of the fabric itself: once activated, an electric current flows through micro-wires embedded in each fiber, causing thermochromic pigments in the fabric to change color. The canvas-like fabric is currently only prototyped in backpacks and purses, but the researchers see far-reaching implications for continued development.