Way before Tesla and Amazon—oh wait, scratch that—decided to accept Bitcoin, Lush Cosmetics was already raking in cryptocurrency as payment for their fizzy little bath bombs way back in 2017. According to Cosmetics Business, the vegan bath and body brand saw 28 transactions during the first three months of introducing the scheme, totalling £1.5k. And if you think about the world of NFTs, like the launch of wearable digital garments and collectible multimedia, beauty filtered selfies and virtual product try-ons have long paved the way for how we interact and integrate with the metaverse today. Will our virtual humans or gaming avatars be slicking on a Rouge Dior 999 lip, spritzing on Chanel No. 5 and sporting Dashing Diva talons? Perhaps, eventually—and we’re here to update you on the beauty tech world’s latest and greatest as it happens.
Benefit Cosmetics’ official Twitch channel
What do you get when you merge the world’s number one brow brand, Benefit Cosmetics with Twitch, the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers? An official Twitch channel that merges interactive make-up tutorials, cosplay and gaming tips and tricks that bring some of the most diverse characters together on interactive livestreams and forms. This global programme is an evolution from the brand’s pilot “Game Face” campaign that launched last year, and has since showcased unboxing, Get Ready With Me and in-depth conversation videos with the likes of leading cosplayer Sydney Parker, Gina Darling, Jayden Diaz and Valorant queen, Jodi Locke. Championing beauty-obsessed gamers from all walks of life, this has provided a platform of gamers who identify as women to speak up and share their experiences as in a male-dominated industry, from topics like harassment and bullying to underrepresentation. According to consumer insights data by Niko Partners, Google and Newzoo, around half of the world’s gamers are women, with 500 million from Asia alone as of 2019. The forecasted year-on-year growth for 2020 was 14.8 percent, with 2021 possibly seeing an even bigger jump amplified by lockdown.
MAC Cosmetics sees 200 percent jump in online engagement
Online shopping exploded during the pandemic and it was a digitisation race for brands to come up with the most engaging and efficient e-commerce platforms and offerings. MAC Cosmetics turned to Perfect Corp., industry leader in artificial intelligence, augmented reality and e-commerce, to create an omni-channel digital transformation that included accurate virtual try-on experiences and fuss-free Virtual Shade Finder functions. In the first month of implementation both online and in-stores, the brand saw a 200 percent increase in customer engagement, with “significantly higher rates of conversion”, according to Sonia Anand, executive director, global director retail innovation, MAC Cosmetics. The brand is is the first from the Estee Lauder Companies portfolio to debut a stoppable Snapchat AR try-on lens, which allows users to put on filters of different lip and eye products, browse product categories and purchase them all on Snapchat. Other ELC brands including Too Faced, Bobbi Brown and Smashbox are slated to follow suit. According to Deloitte’s Snap Consumer AR Global Report 2021, there are 100 million consumers shopping with AR online and in-stores, and 94 percent agree that they’ll use AR the same way or even more when shopping next year.
Cyber EDP, “the scent of the metaverse” by Look Labs
You and your avatar can now share a signature scent, thanks to Berlin-based Look Labs. In late 2020, Cyber EDP was unveiled as a physical, unisex fragrance that fused cutting-edge technology with centuries-old craftsmanship. perfume making traditions. How? Made in Grasse, France, this woody-aromatic elixir’s ingredients are reflective of French perfumery traditions, with head notes of juniper berry, lemon, bergamot and pepper; heart notes of incense, iris and pine needles; and base notes of sandalwood, cedarwood and amber. This is then housed in a sleek glass flacon that features a self-powered illuminated label and embedded printed electronics—of which the cap, outer packaging and label are fully sustainable. Yes, including the “organic and earth disposable” OLED lights.
Here’s where the Cyber EDP gets really, well, cyber. Look Labs recently minted the fragrance as an NFT, making it the “world’s first digital fragrance”. More than a digitised visual of the perfume, the way these 10 limited editions were conceptualised used near-infrared spectroscopy, which recorded the molecular wavelengths to create a digital reflection of the scent. This scientific data was then shared with Montreal-based digital artist Sean Caruso to create the final Cyber EDP NFT masterpiece. Represented through a colourful graph and coding, this AI algorithm could one day be decoded to reproduce the scent in the future, according to Look Labs founder, Jordan Katzarov. The NFT on Rarible was sold for 0.1wETH.
Lolli, the shopping platform that rewarding shoppers with Bitcoin
There’s an international waitlist to join Lolli, an online shopping platform that lets you earn free bitcoin rewards when you check out your carts from over 1000 of their partner merchants. According to founder Alex Adelman, 30 percent of Lolli’s users are female, and the platform’s Health and Beauty category boasts hundreds of well-loved brands, from Amorepacific, Fenty Beauty, EM Cosmetics, Glossier and Foreo, to retail giants Sephora and Ulta. It may, however, take some time before you can start shopping—remember, waitlist—and earning crypto, as the platform only releases the rewards after 30 to 90 days after your purchase, but that’s not stopping avid online shoppers, investors and influencers from around the world from jumping onto the Lolli bandwagon. The start-up has been backed by Reddit’s and Seven Seven Six’s Alexis Ohanian from the start, alongside Serena Williams venture capital fund, while social media moguls like Noah Beck, Logan Paul, Josh Richards and Chantel Jeffries have also taken a lick of Lolli’s tantalising success, having been part of the company’s recent Series A funding round that raised $10 million.
Jeffree Star x Marcelo Cantu NFT collection
One of the most infamous faces in the online beauty world, Jeffree Star has come a long way from MySpace fame, having topped YouTube rankings for years and founded a namesake cosmetics brand, constantly dominating our news feeds for a myriad of reasons. Most recently, the make-up maestro made headlines for going bald—well almost—a huge change from his usual pastel-hued shoulder-grazing tresses. Turns out the new hair do marked the debut of his NFT collection, created in collaboration with noted artist-photographer Marcelo Cantu. Launched on Rarible, the 13-piece line-up is made up of cyberpunk-meets-Barbie dreams, with Star immortalised as a plastic-fantastic cyborg with gleaming skin, exaggerated features and hot pink accents, from that neon buzzcut to massive platform heels.