What innovation could you see improving cosmetics in the near future?

I think more and more brands will utilize agility in the creation and launch of products–faster turnarounds and less planning with an emphasis on listening to and trying to get products out that customers want.

— Christine


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Nancy T Avatar

Thank you for using my question, Christine! Your answer is a thousand times more intelligent than mine, it’s deep! (and yeah, I would love to see brands do what you said!)

What I would LOVE to see would be a synchronized foundation code that span ALL brands, connecting them by a corresponding number code, so that, say you find a match in MAC, but there is another brand whose formula you love, you would be able to get a match in that brand, that formula! This of course would require brands have a larger expansion of shades. But hey, why not? Yes, I have foundation issues! We’re sloooowly getting there, but the crazy results I received at Sephora the other night had me smh. What was showing as “matches” didn’t even seem to match eachother!

Last innovation I waited and waited decades for seems to have arrived: those Colourpop satin liquid lipsticks!

Nicole Avatar

That’s SUCH an incredible idea! Oh my gosh, being able to look up foundation in that way would make me so happy.

I’m sorry you had such a bad time being matched in Sephora! That’s what makes me nervous about going into a store and asking to be matched. I’ve heard more “they always get my undertone wrong/why did they match me to an orange foundation” stories than good ones.

Susan Dowman Nevling Avatar

I agree with color matching across all brands. I was matched at Sephora but most ppl refer to MAC skin tones. I’ve never been in a MAC store and have no clue as to the meaning of codes.
Would love to have a universal reference.

Lizzie Avatar

Hi Nancy, there is something out on the market right now that does color match. Granted it’s limited. If you have a Sephora near you get yourself color matched. They give you a code and email to you all the brands that are compatible with your skin color. I love it. It’s been accurate every single time. The only drawback is that Sephora doesn’t have over the counter brands or certain prestige lines like MAC so there is still a guessing game in that department.
Last year they started doing it for lipsticks as well. I was able to pick four solid colors for winter and five for summer (I went at different times of the year) they matched my skin complexion perfectly. Also, if you use their app, they have a live try on lipstick feature (with use of your camera) with tons of different colors, cools and warms and if you like the brand, you can just pop it in your bag to buy. Very convenient and very cool. Check it out when you can. 🙂

Fran Avatar

The Sephora matching system doesn’t work well for everyone. I guess a foundation that actually matches your skin tone has to actually exist in order for it to come up with one, but I’ve never been entirely happy with the matches it gives me. Occasionally it will come up with one that I find at least somewhat acceptable. It doesn’t seem to pick up cooler undertones in light complexions once you’ve got some sun-exposure yellower pigmentation on top of the cool undertone, for one thing.

Rachel R. Avatar

I was colormatched at Sephora a coupled years ago. The took reading from at least six different spots, including my neck and chest, and the results were still way off. They had me in a foundation that was 4 shades too dark and way too warm. (Even though they said I had neutral undertones!) I told them it wouldn’t work, and I was told that I was not as light as I thought I was. :/ My husband even noticed how bad it looked.

A universal shade/undertone reference system would be a godsend.

Nancy T Avatar

Last week, that Sephora system “matched” me to caramel/tan shades??? I may not be light or fair, but no, I’m not “caramel” either! I tried to tell the SA that where she had placed the sensor was over my contour powder on my cheeks, and that my forehead had powder over my foundation, she claimed that it could tell and take that into account. So I mentioned my MAC foundation shade, she says we can match me using that, she then sees medium sand, medium honey, etc.! I know what “caramel” looks like, my grandbabies and my father really ARE caramel lt. brown shades!

Ashleigh Avatar

Well Lancome is coming out with a super spiffy foundation-matching machine that formulates your foundation for you, out of pigments, instead of matching you to an already formulated foundation. Sounds like there is only a handful of these machines now, and they’re still testing before they launch it. It comes in matte and dewy finishes as well. I can see that catching on in the future if it’s successful, with every Sephora carrying a foundation genie that formulates a foundation on the spot precisely to your skin tone and skin type (not just the shade-matcher they have now).

Kylie5 Avatar

Wow that would be sooooo great. I had a foundation that was perfect but they do not produce it anymore. Now I am still looking for a new one which is perfect for me. Hope the tests are sucessful and we get this machine.

Stephanie Avatar

Great idea! And why did it take so long. There have been machines to custom match paint colours for decades. Of course, people won’t need to spend so much on misses but it will cut down on returns, on the other hand.

Fran Avatar

I think this is a totally cool idea, but I’m wondering how much a machine can really do. There are so many different colors on a human face that matching is a bit of an art. The Sephora scanner doesn’t match me properly. I have the kind of coloring that most people think ‘warm’ when they first look at me (brown hair and eyes, I lived outdoors when I was a kid and built up a lot of melanin in my skin), but my undertones are actually very, very cool. A machine will have to be quite sophisticated to sort out this sort of situation, I think.

Erin Avatar

I like the idea of applying lean/agile thinking to the creative process but it’s difficult. It’s easier to apply to the manufacturing and research aspects of a large cosmetics house. I’m familiar with all this kinda stuff from working at Apple and Nike for so many years.

Anne Avatar

Yes and yes! I feel like some product expiration dates are waaay to early so they can get people to buy more product. Made on dates would make more sense as then it’s more up to the buyer. Though I’m guessing it’s like food expiration dates and doesn’t really carry weight, except to prevent lawsuits.

M Bradberry Avatar

I think regular lip tubes, as well as liquids should be downsized. We all know that we own SO many different brands and colors that we never use them all frequently. Plus, they have to be replaced after a certain time because of bacteria and staleness. I accordance with the smaller sizes they can be less expensive and this will be great for the consumer and manufacturer.

Genevieve Avatar

I think R & D is going to continue with skincare – particularly with those who have troublesome complexions due to acne and ageing complexions.
Foundation matching machines will be quite useful for many as current foundations don’t often quite match the skin tone.

CeeBee Avatar

Facial mapping with custom pigment and coverage options. Imagine a scan of your face being taken and then a foundation of the exact shade with the right undertones and coverage level being produced on the spot for you. Plus, how cool would it be to have different makeup looks applied to a 3D scan of your own face and then have a computer match up the closest approximations of products you already own or produce a list of options for you…

Vanessa Avatar

It would be very cool if there was a way to completely customize foundations from scratch; from what shade to undertone, coverage, and finish. Other benefits like spf or anti-aging could be added as well.

Lee K. Avatar

Try the website “findation.com”. Enter 3 or 4 foundations and the colors you like in them, and then you will get matches for other brands in nearly the exact colors. The more foundations and their colors you provide, the better the matches are.

Fran Avatar

I like everyone’s answers. I hope that the industry does go more toward matching consumers’/individuals’ needs. and come up with ways to help you figure out which product is going to work for you. That would be wonderful!

Fran Avatar

The other thing I’m really hoping for is for brands to think of people with sensitive skin when formulating all their products. It really would be to their advantage, with something like 40% of Americans saying they have sensitive skin. Just removing fragrance from products that are applied to the skin would be a giant step forward.

Julie F Avatar

Always offering mascara in sample/mini option. Charge more per pruduct unit if you must, but do it. Most mascara seems to dry out or get clumpy before the product is gone. I would be more willing to buy smaller mascaras more frequently, if the mascara lives up to its claims!

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