Walgreens SkinID 

Walgreens is launching an online diagnostic tool, called SkinID Advisor, to help shoppers personalize their skin-care regimens, especially products to address acne.  Co-created by Walgreens and Johnson & Johnson, SkinID leverages the beauty brand’s skin-care expertise to assess skin conditions based on users’ answers to a series of questions. The queries center on breakouts, dry skin and skin texture, which are among the most common skin issues.

Users receive an individualized, three-step daily routine. A top pick is recommended for cleansing, treating and moisturizing, along with other suggestions with varying price points. The products include both J&J and competitive brands.

“Skin care should be the foundation of any healthy beauty regimen,” said Lauren Brindley, group vice president and general merchandise manager of Walgreens. She added it was the retailer’s latest beauty innovation, dovetailing with efforts to elevate the store experience with testers, trained beauty consultants and new brands. “SkinID helps users better understand their overall skin health and manage skin conditions over time in order to make more educated beauty purchases.”

With acne being experienced by all ages, SkinID, by design zeroes in on that issue. The questions, in fact, were determined to cut through the confusion on breakouts. “Acne is a multifactorial disease – when determining what regimen is appropriate for an individual it’s important to understand the kind of lesions [blackheads/whiteheads/comedonal/papules/pustules], how much of each kind of lesion, and the frequency of them. These inputs allow the algorithm to identify the ingredients and products that should work best to help clear up skin based on an individual’s own skin needs,” said Jessica Snell, manager, beauty R&D at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.  She noted SkinID doesn’t ask for age because “acne does not discriminate.”

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The skin-care category is emerging as a major growth area for drugstores. According to Nielsen data, skin-care sales rose 5 percent in the 52 weeks ended March 24, at a time when mass makeup and nail were flat. The category can be confusing at the point of sale and that’s one area where SkinID can help, experts said.

Participating in the SkinID tool assessment accessed at walgreens.com/skinid offers the opportunity, at no cost, to be a Walgreens Beauty Enthusiast, the chain’s beauty club within its Balance Rewards Loyalty program. In addition to receiving 5,000 rewards for every $50 spent, Beauty Enthusiasts receive coupons and special offers. SkinID also keeps an inventory of the recommended skin care products and the ability to take the test again based on skin changes.

Road testing SkinID, a 60-year-old woman and a 24-year-old received markedly different recommendations for cleansing that reflected their skin issues. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash was advised for the younger user; Biore Deep Pore Charcoal for the mature customer. A more intensive moisturizer was the prescription for the older user. Snell explained the methodology used. “It was a collaborative process to identify which ingredients and products the tool would recommend.  The J&J R&D team created the different acne scenarios based on the possible answers from shoppers and then worked to map each of the scenarios back to the form, ingredient, claims and clinicals which are the basis for the product selection. The collaborative team then worked to identify the products available at Walgreens that were a match.”

Walgreens has a comprehensive campaign to promote the tool, including signage in skin-care aisles, advertisements in coupon books, dedicated e-mails, digital and mobile banners. And beauty consultants will be able to demonstrate SkinID in store on tablets.

Personalization is a buzzy concept in mass market beauty, especially as chains seek an edge against competitors with premium options. A DNA-based personalized skin-care plan called HomeDNA Skin Care is sold in select CVS doors, which requires being sent out to receive a protocol. And augmented reality providers ModiFace and YouCam Makeup now have virtual skin-care analysis capabilities.

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