The ‘Mind-linked bathbot’ – initially unveiled at CES 2022 and recipient of the tradeshow’s Honoree Innovation Award under the health and wellness category – used a wireless headset to identify the emotional state of a user when exposed to certain fragrances and colours by tracking brain waves in real-time. An algorithm then identified the current emotion of that user and recommended a fragrance blend and colours to create a personalised bath bomb suited to individual needs. Amorepacific said the bath bombs were made “using your own mind data” and could be blended within one minute per user.
Whilst the tech remained a concept for the time being, Gusang Kwon, researcher at Amorepacific’s Research and Innovation Centre, said the idea and research behind it indicated the level of potential for the future of customised beauty.
Neuroscience tools to unlock consumer preferences
Addressing attendees at last month’s IFSCC Congress 2022 in London, UK, Kwon said the project was especially relevant in a post-pandemic world.
“We have witnessed lots of changes in our life after the COVID-19 pandemic. Most people started progressively focusing on their inner-feelings and wellbeing; many customers were seeking fragranced products, including perfumes,” Kwon told attendees.
However, it remained tough to truly understand the emotions consumers were experiencing, he said, largely because they themselves didn’t always know, and also because emotions did not have one “universal fingerprint” in the human population.
“…The reason why neuroscience is so valuable is because people cannot articulate their preferences and choices rationally. We don’t remember how we felt when we smelt a fragrance yesterday,” he said.
Neuroscience tools that measured brain activity, therefore, were key in identifying emotional states and responses that the consumer perhaps wasn’t even aware of, he said, overcoming some of the “greatest shortcomings of traditional methods like surveys and interviews”.
“…Neuroscience tools can help understand the consumer behaviour in a novel way, thereby contributing to and providing multiple implications to the cosmetics industry,” Kwon said.
Analysing emotions and experiences
Highly advanced analytical methods were then required to interpret this data, he said, and ultimately act on it, as demonstrated with Amorepacific’s ‘bathbot’ that used algorithms to translate this data into coloured, fragranced bath bombs according to emotional states.
Kwon said whilst the project only marked the start of what was truly possible in the realms of customised beauty for real-time emotions, it remained a key piece of research that could play an “important role” in how the wider beauty industry advanced its offerings in this space.
A keynote from Professor Charles Spence, head of Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research lab at the department of Experimental Psychology in the UK, echoed this thinking. Spence told IFSCC attendees in a separate session: “I think there’s a lot of psychology and neuroscience in building people’s expectations and experiences of cosmetics, as well as trying to understand quite why or how it might be that adding a certain fragrance to a product has an impact on attractiveness, softness or wellbeing, among other things.”
Customised beauty innovation
Amorepacific had long been invested in customised beauty innovations, unveiling a slew of bespoke beauty initiatives back in May 2021, including a tailored 3D mask and serum online service with virtual one-on-one consultations and a personalised health supplement service My Vital Beautie.
Earlier this year, the beauty major also launched a personalised sensitive skin care brand Custom.Me that was blended according to an AI skin analysis following a questionnaire and selfie taken by the consumer. Amorepacific said the technology used employed “high-quality clinical data evaluated by skin research experts” to produce “precise and professional analytical results”.