PARIS — As the lines between wellness and beauty continue to blur, L’Oréal said Wednesday it has partnered with Clue, an app that tracks people’s menstrual cycles, in order to glean a better understanding of the link between skin health and hormonal changes.
In 2012, Danish and German entrepreneurs Ida Tin and Hans Raffauf cofounded Clue. Today, the app has more than 12 million users in 190 countries. It is billed as a leader in femtech and the digital health space.
“At L’Oréal, we have a strong belief that the innovation that we bring to enhance people’s beauty and well-being lies at the intersection of science and technology to meet consumers’ expectations and needs,” Barbara Lavernos, deputy chief executive officer in charge of research, innovation and technology, said in a statement. “Through this partnership, we want to pioneer scientific innovation. Our goal is to develop the best personalized skin care routines for consumers of all ages regarding skin health, beauty and wellness aspirations, taking into account their menstrual cycles from puberty to menopause.”
“Changes in skin is one of the most tracked categories within the Clue app, alongside the period and menstrual symptoms, so we know that it’s super important for many in our community,” said Clue co-CEO Audrey Tsang. “With L’Oréal’s vast scientific skin care knowledge, we will be able to provide new and helpful information to both our Clue community and all consumers on how the cycle can affect the skin. Our mission is to empower people with cycles with the science, data and technology needed to make informed choices about their bodies, with skin, our largest organ, included.”
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Guive Balooch, head of the L’Oréal technology incubator, told WWD that under Lavernos, the group is going to grow the intersection between beauty and tech, which can help people become educated about wellness and help solve some of the large challenges they face.
“One of the areas we’ve been very interested and keen on is this merge between wellness and beauty,” he said.
Hormone cycles cause various changes in people’s skin. Acne is one that’s discussed frequently. But others are less widely known, such as susceptibility to UV and allergies, skin dryness and trans-epidermal water loss, which evolve during a person’s cycle.
Over the past four or five years, period-tracking apps have built up sizable communities trying to better understand their menstrual cycles for health and wellness benefits.
“So we thought: ‘Why hasn’t anyone really given quality information about skin to these communities?’” Balooch said.
A long-term proponent of co-development with outside entities, Balooch and his team searched for a partner.
“We want to go to people who are [the] best in their field,” he said, adding Clue was a perfect match.
The new partnership exists on three levels. The first involves a voluntary survey in which people can answer questions about their skin and hormones, and tell Clue and L’Oréal what they’re interested in learning.
“This is going to be used to help us build the best service,” said Balooch, adding the data is anonymous. “We’re going to listen to them and see what they want to know.”
L’Oréal has information about people’s skin biology depending on where they are in their cycle. So the second level of the partnership involves the group embedding personalized skin-related recommendations in Clue’s app for those who want them.
“We’ll also, as a third piece, embed [content] in their encyclopedia, called Helloclue.com,” Balooch said.
He noted that on period-tracking apps, there’s not much information available today about skin.
“So it’s our responsibility, as an industry, to start giving people that information,” Balooch said. “Then, if in the future we see they want more, we will bring more.”
The collaboration involves numerous stakeholders, including L’Oréal’s Active Cosmetics Division, which will provide access to gynecologists, dermatologists and endocrinologists, and the company’s market insight teams, plus Clue’s teams.
“It’s a new way of working, which we’re really excited about,” Balooch said.
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