By now, Artificial Intelligence has become such a buzzword and its effects have been seen on various industries, ranging from healthcare to defence to telecommunications. The ability of AI and machine learning to process immense quantities of data and present unique and specific responses to queries has been apparent in so many industries, and the beauty industry is no different.
Although beauty standards are considered subjective and human attractiveness is challenging to define by any measure, there have been attempts to use AI to quantify this tricky subject. On a broader scale, the beauty industry is similar to other industries in that it deals with customers and their data. The possible applications of AI in beauty product marketing and management are overwhelming, but here are some scenarios in which companies are currently using AI to support their business.
Their technical capabilities allow AI systems to undertake personalization. As they are able to sift and work with immense amounts of data, they can give specific replies to user questions from observed trends in their datasets. This feature is currently being used by beauty companies to provide personalized product recommendations to their customers. One example would be apps developed that suggest skincare regimens based on skin type and condition.
Delivering data based on keywords generated by users is known as Natural Language Processing. In practice, this means that an NLP system can get a collection of terms from a user, tap on its data sets to pick out links between products, and suggest personalized and specific answers particular to each user. For instance, Users are asked questions based on their current look, their desired look and their destination, and are suggested a curated look in response.
Trying on cosmetics virtually has become a breeze with the introduction of ‘virtual mirrors’ – apps that use computer vision technology to show how the customer would look like wearing certain products, be it eyewear, make up colours, clothes etc. A boon for product marketing, these virtual try-out services allow customers an idea of the product’s fit and style without having to visit a physical store.
A broader parameter than product recommendations, AI can also assist the beauty industry by giving data on what attributes most people around the world find attractive. Attractiveness is often considered an ambiguous word, something specific to each person, but there are companies that claim to achieve a definitive index of beauty with the help of AI. An example would be a company called Beauty.ai that claims to have held the first international beauty contest judged by robots. Their mobile app allowed users to submit selfies to be ranked by an AI engine based on various factors such as skin colour and facial symmetry. Results were then categorized by age group and gender. Although it was not clear whether this works and could be used in a mainstream context, it was certainly an interesting demonstration of the power of AI in beauty.
The above scenarios herald an exciting new frontier demonstrating how data science could be incorporated in to our understanding of beauty and beauty products. With further developments in AI, the possibilities are endless.