L'Oréal wins two awards for inclusive beauty tech at CES 2023

At CES, L'Oreal unveiled two prototypes that place accessibility at the forefront of beauty technology.
Written by Christina Darby, Associate Editor
Reviewed by Emery Wright
Young woman of color in a wheel chair with Cerebral Palsy uses the HAPTA lipstick applicator tool
L'Oréal Groupe/ Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

Every year, companies take the CES stage to debut innovations for a better future. And while we've seen our fair share of flashy gimmicks, there's also a refreshing focus on improving consumers' daily lives with enhanced safety features in smart-car systems, practical home-tech integration, and even inclusivity within beauty technology. 

On the second day of CES, the L'Oréal Groupe unveiled two new beauty technology prototypes that are designed to expand access to self-expression through beauty. 

Also: CES 2023 tech you can actually buy now

The first prototype, HAPTA, is an ultra-precise computerized lipstick applicator designed for people with limited mobility. The second device, L'Oréal Brow Magic, is an electronic eyebrow makeup applicator intended to help users quickly and accurately achieve their ideal brow look at home. 

According to L'Oreal, the HAPTA tool -- apparently based on the handheld tech buzz word "haptic" -- was developed to assist the 50 million people worldwide who have limited fine motor skills. Designed by scientists and engineers, HAPTA will incorporate stabilization technology originally created by life science research company Verily into makeup application.

Also: ZDNET's guide to CES: What is it, when is it, and who can attend?

Along with the stabilization feature, HAPTA includes a combination of built-in smart motion controls and customizable attachments to give the user improved range of motion, greater ease with stubborn product packaging, and of course, precision application. 

Futuristic image of a red lipstick being held by the HAPTA tool with the words HAPTA sprawled across the front in white, big letters.

L'Oréal's HAPTA employs stabilizing tech so users with limited mobility can use the tiny robotic arm to apply lipstick with precision and ease.

L'Oréal Groupe / Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

The tool aims to make people feel independent and empowered to express themselves through beauty, according to L'Oréal. For example, the tool could help someone living with cerebral palsy have more control over their lipstick application. And while there are other beauty-tech products out there aimed to promote accessibility, L'Oreal's dedication to precision with the HAPTA tool and overall inclusive mission is both cutting-edge and inspiring. 

"Inclusivity is at the heart of our innovation and beauty tech strategy," said Barbara Lavernos, deputy CEO of research, innovation and technology at L'Oréal. "We are dedicated and passionate to bring new technologies powering beauty services that augment and reach every individual's ultimate desires, expectations, and unmet needs."

Also: I went hands-on with Motorola's ThinkPhone and it's surprisingly good

HAPTA also includes a magnetic attachment that contributes to ergonomic use, 360-degree motion, and 180-degrees of flexion. L'Oreal says HAPTA's built-in "clicking" feature creates an intuitive, customizable, and precise user experience, allowing users to "set" custom presets for an easier use. The tool includes a built-in battery that L'Oreal says takes three hours to reach full charge. 

L'Oréal's HAPTA applicator is set to become available in the US sometime this year with a price tag in the $149-$199 range. 

L'Oréal's second CES award-winner, the Brow Magic tool, also focuses on aesthetic efficiency. As someone with thick, stubborn brows, I can vouch for L'Oreal's claim that achieving a tamed eyebrow look can often require professional services. The company plans to replace that narrative with its Brow Magic tool, a handheld electronic device that supposedly gives you that micro-bladed, feathered look in seconds. 

L'Oréal's Brow Magic sitting on a makeup counter while a young girl uses her smart phone to use the AR brow tool on the associated app.

The first step in using L'Oréal's Brow Magic tool is to scan your face with an associate app. The built-in AR will give you suggestions and let you customize your brow look before you commit to any ink. 

L'Oréal Groupe/ Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

Developed in partnership with temporary tattoo tech company Prinker, Brow Magic aims to give users a professional-like, microbladed brow look at home. According to L'Oréal, the Brow Magic tool uses 2,4000 micro-nozzles combined with printing technology that has a printing resolution of up to 1,200 drops per inch (dpi). 

The device connects to a smartphone app that uses L'Oréal's Modiface AR technology to scan the user's face and make brow suggestions, according to L'Oreal. Users can select their desired shape, thickness, and overall brow effect via the app before sweeping the Brow Magic across the brow. 

Young woman using the Brow Magic tool on her eye.

Once users have selected their preferences, the device is supposed easily to glide across the face for quickly filling in eyebrows. 

L'Oréal Groupe/ Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

L'Oréal also says that since the ink is only semi-permanent, the Brow Magic look can be removed with a standard makeup wipe or remover. 

Set to launch at some point in 2023, my unruly eyebrows and I are highly anticipating giving this tool a try to see if it replaces my 1,000 brow tools. 

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