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L’Oréal to Offer AI-Powered Skin Diagnosis Using Selfies

The beauty giant will offer individual product suggestions to selfie-posting consumers thanks to an algorithm.

PARIS — The selfie is about to generate much more than likes. L’Oréal plans to use it to draw up product suggestions to consumers based on their skin types — determined through artificial intelligence-powered technology.

Offering the latest example of how artificial intelligence is creeping further into daily life, the move follows the beauty giant’s purchase of ModiFace last year, a Canadian technology firm that can simulate makeup on 3-D images of people’s faces.

“Our mission is beauty for all,” said Lubomira Rochet, chief digital officer at L’Oréal, speaking at a press conference here. Rochet added that she sees the system as promoting the “democratization” of skin diagnosis, since all a potential user needs is a smartphone for taking and uploading a selfie.

The company has matched ModiFace’s AI-powered algorithm with its skin-aging research that includes 6,000 clinical images for the new skin diagnosis program, which was launched through its Vichy label in Canada. Plans are to roll-out the so-called “SkinConsult” system worldwide, through Vichy web sites, following a similar system used by the L’Oréal Paris and Vichy brands on Tmall in China late last year.

Executives said the technology-driven analysis, conducted using a selfie uploaded to an Internet site, turned up the same skin diagnosis as an average of 12 dermatologists. They noted the emphasis remains solely on beauty, and that consumers will all see a standard message encouraging them to consult a dermatologist regularly.

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The technology focuses on signs of aging, such as wrinkles, dark spots and pores, offering areas that the consumer should act on, while also highlighting areas of strength.

To build the technology, L’Oréal has also drawn on its so-called “skin-aging atlases” which are catalogues of aging, built by analyzing 4,000 men and women between 20 and 80 in France, China, Japan, India and the U.S.