Beauty gadgets, tools and whatnots have been a part of our lives ever since the beginning of time. They always go hand-in-hand with the human's propensity for vanity and while some of them have gone obsolete, some are still being used and practised today. For the Egyptians, it was in the form of pot and sticks to apply their eyeliners, then fast-forward to the Elizabethan era where leeches (yes, the blood-sucking parasite) were used for facials — it's still being practised today — and there's also the variety of hair styling tools that emerged in the '40s to the '60s that are still being used today. But now, it's a different story.
A new day comes with a new beauty tech innovation. It seems like we can't go on a week without having something new in the makeup or skincare department that's being crossed over with an A.I. or our smartphones. This new gadget from L'Oréal gives us similar vibes. The brand, in partnership with Swiss industrial designer Yves Behar and tech giant Apple, introduces La Roche-Posay My Skin Track UV sensor clip, a minute accessory that supposedly aims to track your skin's health as affected by UVA and UVB rays. It helps in preventing damage that ranges from sunburn to something more serious like skin cancer. It also helps prompt about levels of pollen or pollution in a given area.
The size itself makes it handy for clipping onto your clothes or your bag and it takes in UVA for data analysis and uses the data to mix with an algorithm to compute for UVB. Running by means of something similar to a solar panel, the sensor uses LED to store energy from sunlight as its power source instead of relying on batteries or Bluetooth. When the sensor is brought close to your smartphone, it directs information to its corresponding app, prompting the user to do necessary measures such as taking shade, putting sunblock and other related activities. Just like the other beauty innovations such as digital wellness and bespoke makeup, this is claimed to be the industry's 'next big thing'.
So the question lies: is it really?
While the prospect of wearable skincare seems intriguing and the idea of it being more scientific than our personal discernment seems more reliable, we believe that skincare is actually intimate and personal; it's something that can be instinctive. Not everything must be app-driven. Unlike facial gadgets or beauty tools that are upfront in aiding our use of skincare products, a prompter like this clip-on sensor definitely invites scepticism especially from beauty enthusiasts who already religiously follow a skincare routine (and, thus, know the importance of sunblock). Plus, with the only feature of detecting UVA and UVB, why can't this be a feature incorporated in other wearables such as smartwatches or Fitbits instead?
So will it soar in popularity? Maybe. Is it practical? In our book, it's probably helpful but not adding anything new to the table. Truthfully, if it comes down to this and another beauty gadget, we'd say we prefer something that's not wearable but makes skincare much more enjoyable. We'll have that any day than something that tells you when you're taking in too much sunlight as if you can't already feel it.