One size does not fit all. One size does not even fit most. Yet, there is this idea out there that one product can be universal—whether it’s a piece of clothing or skincare formula. Many of us find this sentiment, while intriguing, to be utterly untrue. Maybe your foundation falls somewhere in between shades or your hair is both color-treated and curly. Instead of risking trial and error or even worse, mixing and matching, companies are offering more customizable options.
The shift in “bespoke beauty” can be attributed to advances in technology, where businesses can now design algorithms to better assess a customer’s specific needs. The goal is to use that acquired data and present the user with something that suits their individual profile—whether that’s a specially-formulated hair product, skin serum or nail polish. This allows you to not only utilize ingredients that are beneficial to you, but also eliminate anything that could potentially cause harm or have a negative reaction.
What we’re all are really interested in, however, is having something that’s tailor-made for us. Dating back to Marie Antoinette, the former queen had her own personal perfumer whose job it was to concoct fragrances that reflected her mood and personality. An extravagance, most would agree, but today a signature scent is just a click away. Bottom line, it’s a bit of a power trip where we get to resist buying into mass-produced products that in the end, may or may not even be right for us.
A leader in the customized personal care industry is Function of Beauty, who formulates their own shampoos and conditioners based off the results of an online quiz. Co-founded in 2015 by two MIT graduates, Zahir Dossa and Joshua Maciejewski, Function of Beauty believes in targeting more than one hair concern in a single bottle. Oily on top but dry on the bottom? Want to strengthen and add shine? You shouldn’t have to buy separate products.
First, you’ll need to build your hair profile and select your hair type, hair structure and scalp moisture. You then get to choose up to five hair goals including hydration, deep condition and lengthen, to name a few. The kicker is that you’re also in control of the fragrance (both scent and intensity), color (if any) and your name comes printed on each bottle—in case any of your family members planned on stealing. I was first introduced to Function of Beauty a few years back and have since said good riddance to generic hair care.
The trend continues with eSalon, who is making made-to-order boxed hair color that’s individually crafted by a colorist, and Prose, a personalized hair care brand who offers a questionnaire that takes into account things like air pollution, humidity, water quality, diet and styling habits. A digital stylist will then personally recommended products from their site.
Elsewhere, luxury makeup line Lancôme recently released Le Teint Particulier—a foundation made to perfectly match your skin tone. One of Lancôme’s experts will scan your face at the makeup counter in three different places—which calculates the right color for you based on pure red, black, yellow and white pigments. You will also choose your coverage and hydration levels and the foundation is then mixed and bottled on-site. This offering is available at select Nordstrom stores (the nearest to us being SAKS Fifth Ave in New York). You can also visit Bite Beauty’s “Lip Lab” in SoHo where one of their artists will slice, dice and melt pigments into a lipstick shade that suits you.
Bespoke beauty is more about making moves towards diversity, similar to what we’ve been seeing in the media and on the runways. The way companies are putting that into practice is by using technology to create real-world solutions to address unmet consumer needs. To put it simply, the product needs to be as unique as the person that’s using it.