The future of lipstickWritten by Mike Webster 19 October 2020
Ever longed for lipstick that would change or enhance your look as instantly as an Instagram filter?
Ever wished that finding a lipgloss to suit your skin tone or outfit wasn’t so hard?
Ever wondered how much time you spend in front of the mirror trying to perfect that chic barely-there lip look?
Lipstick has been used as a powerful tool of expression for thousands of years. And while we’ve come a long way since we stained our lips with berries and clay rust in Ancient Egypt, the functionality, design and manufacture of this product has remained largely the same for many years.
At 1HQ, we predict that all this is about to change. Thanks to the exponential rise in technology, we believe that lipstick has great untapped developmental potential as packaging becomes a smarter enabler of meaningful experiences.
Read on to find out how we think this makeup bag staple could make the switch from analogue to digital.
Sustainability: the digital tip of the iceberg
Say goodbye to lipsticks that break or dry out. We envision a lipstick applicator that utilises inkjet printing technology so that every application is as good as the first.
It no longer makes sense to produce packaging that is discarded after a single use, so the applicator will be reused, leading to reduced waste and revolutionising the eco-credentials of this currently single-use product. Autonomous filling stations will be located in stores and busy locations.
Thanks to inkjet technology, there is real potential to create a colour-changing lipstick. Using piezoelectric ‘Drop on Demand’ (DOD) technology, we envision a lipstick applicator that will release its formulation through tiny nozzles and proximity sensors to print a bespoke range of colours that complement your skin tone or shades that are perfect colour matches of your favourite outfits.
Using built-in software, the wearer could save their selections and even create unique colour fades, patterns and gradients with little effort. They would also be able to download colours and effects they like from influencers.
Customised scents and tastes
It’s thought that 3D olfactory printers could be used to create new scent molecules one day. This could enable the engineering of 3D printed scents and tastes for lipstick, which would allow for further personalisation options.
No touch-ups required
The development of self-regenerating materials is currently underway. We believe that, in future, this technology could be applied to makeup. So, you might find that in the future your lip gloss will remain perfectly in place all day and the lipstick applicator will be able to repair itself when damaged.
If you’ve ever struggled to recreate the looks you’ve seen on beauty tutorials, you’ll be glad to know that foolproof lipstick is around the corner. In future, achieving the look you want will require far less time and effort as built-in software will know every contour of your face and the exact shades of your complexion, thanks to digital scanning technology, as well as DNA and biometric data.
Once your face has been scanned in-store using augmented reality equipment or at home using smart mirrors, all you’ll have to do is glide the applicator over your lips to achieve a fuller or more puckered shape, for example.
All-in-one lip care
The lipstick of the future won’t just give you flawless colour, it will also offer a number of preparatory benefits. Before applying makeup, you’ll be able to exfoliate your lips with an enzymatic gel scrub feature and to prevent ‘feathering’ or you could switch to primer to fill in natural skin crevasses. You will be able to choose from satin, matte or gloss finishes using just one applicator too.
The shape and ergonomics of the product are unlikely to change as consumers want products that recreate what has become a ritualised experience. However, the lipstick of tomorrow will allow you to interact with it in a more sophisticated way.
Take off the cap and your lipstick will switch on, put it back on and it will turn off. Like many other smart devices, it will likely be controlled through a mixture of haptic and voice input. So, whether you’re after a striking matte red or a subtle nude, you’ll be able to select the right option by simply applying pressure or speaking.
Mass production has served us well for decades but its inflexibility to adapt quickly to the changing needs of markets and consumers means it is no longer fit for purpose. Instead, we will see the transition from specialisation (making the same thing over and over) to mass customisation through flexible manufacturing.
Enabled by banks of connected 3D printers controlled by AI, blockchain and autonomous robots, the lipstick pack of the future will be customisable on the production line to allow consumers to choose from applicator materials such as metals, ceramics and recyclable resins.
The age of smart beauty is coming. Share your thoughts or predictions using the hashtag #productpredictions.