Brands launch highly customized beauty and grooming lines

A new wave of next-gen direct-to-consumer beauty brands are setting the current industry standard for customization with A.I.-driven platforms that glean deep insights from personalized data, offering customers products that are formulated for their highly specific and individual skincare needs.


Computational tech/skincare startup Proven built a proprietary A.I.-generated database known as the Skin Genome Project to serve as the bedrock of its custom skincare offerings. Customers first take an online questionnaire, which is also A.I.-generated, to pinpoint their individual skincare concerns before Proven’s award-winning Stanford scientists take this information, draw on information from the database, and recommend custom skincare blends based on the aggregate data set. A skincare set costs $145 and includes three products: a cleanser, moisturizer, and night cream.


Dermatology is a luxury that isn’t accessible to all skincare devotees, but Curology, a startup that offers subscriptions for custom skincare “superbottles,” is now democratizing prescription-strength skincare solutions via proprietary technology. The brand is both a product and a service: starting at $19.95 a month, customers upload a selfie to their Curology account and are matched with a licensed dermatologist who compiles a full picture of the user’s skin health before creating a highly customized superbottle of prescription-strength ingredients—think Retin A and Clindomyacin, which previously had to be prescribed by a doctor—offering skincare solutions that are targeted specifically to each user’s needs.


Skincare isn’t the only whitespace for distilled customization—haircare is getting the high-tech treatment too. One brand, Function of Beauty, uses a proprietary quiz to formulate personalized bottles of shampoo and conditioner, which start at $36. The 4-year-old startup, which is valued at $110 million, has gathered so much data via this algorithm that they were recently able to launch a new product based solely on demand: a purple shampoo that keeps blonde hair from turning brassy. When taking the quiz, customers who note that a goal of theirs is to reduce brassiness will have the product suggested to them, allowing Function of Beauty to offer consumers what they need before they even know they need it.