MATCHCo is bringing the concept of personalized makeup to the app world where women can find their perfect complexion match from a cell phone.
Through a series of steps using an iPhone to analyze the user’s skin tone (scanning cheeks, back and front of wrists and forehead), a customized foundation is created.
Called My Perfect Complexion Custom Tinted Hydrating Formula, each individually blended bottle of foundation is customized with the customer’s name engraved on it. It is available directly for purchase and priced at $49 for a one-ounce bottle, including shipping.
“We’ve never blended the same color twice, and since everyone is unique, so is each custom product,” said Andy Howell, founder and co-chief executive officer of MATCHCo. “You get a limited edition of one made just for you. The unique customer experience provides a new form of skin luxury for the individual. It’s a feel-good situation.”
Launched last November, MATCHCo already has more than than 50,000 installs. Howell pointed out that other beauty products marketed as personalized tend to base product matching on questionnaires and decision trees. “The user is responsible for doing the analysis and often doesn’t get the right products. When you follow the easy MATCHCo tutorial, our technology does the work of determining your precise color and deriving your unique formula, so you get an accurate solution without the guesswork,” he said. To prepare the device for scanning in normal indoor lighting, the app helps users perform an initial calibration to account for ambient light.
Although MATCHCo offers a 30-day “for any reason” return policy, Howell said returns are low because of the calibrated complexion matching. One of the biggest complaints in beauty is uncovering the perfect shade of foundation. “It can be time-consuming and hard to do in stores with varied and often unflattering lighting. Response has been great because women like to use this in the privacy of their homes,” he explained.
Howell and his cofounder Dave Gross have vast experience with personalization and technology brands such as Nike, Levi’s, Reebok and Zazzle, but not in the beauty industry. To that end, they sought out chemists and dermatologists to devise an original formula competitive with prestige competitors.
Ingredients include peptides to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, ceramides to prevent water loss and multiple antioxidants. There’s also a form of Vitamin E along with Bisabolol. The foundation is paraben-, sulfate-, phthalate- and cruelty-free. The formulas are noncomedogenic and include natural oxides for SPF 30 sun protection.
As a twist on automatic replenishment for the customized blend, MATCHCo encourages women to rescan upon a new order. “Skin tones change with seasons and other factors,” noted Howell.
Although Howell expected “tech-savvy” younger customers to embrace the app, he said there is a wide range of ages. “This challenge is pervasive across demographics, so we have 18-to-82-year-olds using the product,” he said.
Foundation is the starting point, but Howell and Gross see greater applications for their personalization technology across the beauty business.