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Olivo Develops Technology for Under-Eye Bag Compression

Big beauty players are said to be interested in licensing the technology, which was developed by the same MIT scientist that worked on hair-care brand Living Proof.

Under-eye bags may be a thing of the past.

The team at Olivo Labs has crafted what Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist Bob Langer calls “liquid Spanx,” a skin-care formulation that uses compression technology to decrease puffiness in the under-eye area.

Users dab on layer one of the product, let it sit for a minute, and then add a second layer. The result is a skin-like film that decreases the appearance of under-eye bags in a matter of minutes by compressing them away. Powder makeup can be worn on top, and the product can be removed with oil-free makeup remover (it comes off as a sheet).

Dr. Bob Langer
Dr. Bob Langer Jason Alden

The second product layer “has a cross-linking agent in it, [which] hardens everything, and when it hardens, it forms this film,” Langer said. “That does several things, but one is depending how you create it, it can tighten the skin by almost having this adhesion effect.” The properties in the product can be adjusted for different uses, Langer noted, adding that it could be adjusted for medical purposes (like keeping burn ointment in place) as well as potentially for reducing the appearance of cellulite or skin whitening.

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The compression technology was first unveiled in 2016, and has since been honed specifically for the under-eye region. The team added blurring and mattifying effects so darkness appears less visible. The endeavor was possible because of something Langer termed combinatorial chemistry, which has allowed him and his team to make and test hundreds of polymers in a short period of time (in some cases it can take months to develop one polymer, he noted). “We used these approaches to find something with just the right properties,” Langer said.

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Olivo was once part of the same business as Living Proof (Langer is a cofounder), but is operating as a stand-alone company now that the hair-care brand was spun off to Unilever in January. Olivo was conceptualized when Langer, with dermatologists Rox Anderson, who developed the Fraxel laser, and Barbara Gilchrest (who also served as advisors for Living Proof), had a routine brainstorming session.

“We would meet from time to time and brainstorm and say, ‘how can we create the future,’” Langer said.

Now on its own, Olivo is in the midst of a big decision — what to do next.

Olivo Develops Technology for Under-Eye Bag
Amy Schulman, Olivo ceo

The technology is said to have garnered the attention of major beauty companies, and according to chief executive officer Amy Schulman, the company is in the middle of deciding if they will develop products or license out the technology.

“The big question for a company like ours is do we develop it on our own, or among the people that are potentially wooing us, do we find there’s one partner that we really think has the ability to develop this the way we want around the world,” Schulman said. Before Olivo, Schulman’s employment history counts time as head of Pfizer Inc.’s consumer healthcare business.

“We have the science and the intellectual property, the question is, are we better off marrying that with a larger company that has the global marketing reach and the packaging that can probably do more across [stockkeeping units] than we can, or do we spend the next three to five years building brand equity?” Schulman said. “It’s ready to go.”

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