In 2018, we’re no longer oblivious to the harmful but all-too-common ingredients being used in our beauty products. Not only do we want to know what’s going into our hair, skin, and makeup staples; we desire things that cater to our unique set of needs, too. And why shouldn’t we? Even though some experts love to file us under overused, nonspecific categories, we’re finally rejecting this idea that “one-size-fits-all” products exist. So it makes complete sense that customized brands are on the rise.
“Beauty and skin care are a very personal thing, and consumers are looking for products and experiences that are unique to them. With the internet and a wealth of beauty and skin-care products on the market, consumers are also getting savvier about what they purchase,” says David Lortscher, MD, of Curology. The upside of using customizable products is getting to avoid researching reviews, browsing in exasperation, and wasting money on products that may not work for you.
Artificial intelligence is also creating more access to customized brands. For instance, the personalization hair-care brand Prose uses A.I., along with the guidance of professional hairstylists, to develop customized shampoo, conditioner, and hair masks based on a multitude of factors including your scalp health and the pollution levels wherever you live.
“The algorithm that we’ve built evaluates 85 data points from a 25-question consultation with 50 billion possible combinations, and we’re constantly iterating based on consumer feedback,” says Arnaud Plas, cofounder and CEO of Prose. “This means that when someone gives feedback on their formula—both positive and negative—it goes back into the algorithm to help it learn, thus creating better and better formulas for all future consumers.”
The other benefit to personalization is that it eliminates the need to use preservatives and other potentially harmful ingredients since products are made to order and not sitting on a shelf for months on end.
“We develop each formulation without common harmful ingredients such as sulfates, parabens, phthalates, dyes, GMOs, and more. Prose products can also be made vegan, gluten-free, silicone-free, and fragrance-free,” adds Plas.
And contrary to popular belief, customization isn’t as expensive as it sounds. In fact, the prices typically beat those found at the hair salon, dermatologist office, or even your local Sephora. For instance, Dr. Lortscher’s Curology not only cuts out the guesswork; it’s also accessible and affordable for those who don’t have a dermatologist that they regularly visit.
“Before Curology, I was practicing as a dermatologist in the middle of New Mexico. A lot of my patients were driving over two hours to see me, only to find that their prescriptions cost upwards of $200, so they left their local pharmacy without them,” he says. “Curology offers access, affordability, and convenience by cutting out the need for health-care insurance, in-person dermatology visits, and pharmacy markups for prescription ingredients.”
So where’s the best place to start if you want to experience customization for yourself? Ahead are nine beauty-focused brands to get started with.