makeup color matching in development

Statistically speaking, finding the right shade of makeup can be tough, no mater what your age. The data experts at Sephora, one of the world’s largest cosmetic companies, indicates that the average woman tries seven times before she finds the ideal foundation. (I wonder if we could create a computer algorithm to speed that up?) That can be an expensive proposition because of the price of quality makeup.

All hope is not lost, however, as Sephora is attempting to make the process easier by teaming up with Pantene, the company renowned as an authority on color and color systems, to help women, and maybe even some adventurous men, to find the correct shade of makeup on the first try.

The new foundation is called ColorIQ. The name is quite fitting, as the amount of research, development and data they had to process to develop this foundation is staggering. It features digital imaging technology that records 27 separate color-corrected images in under two seconds while using eight visible light and one ultraviolet light settings to recommend the ideal foundation color.

Sephora’s makeup experts indicate that skin tone is dictated by ethnicity, melanin levels, skin conditions, hemoglobin, sun exposure and freckles. Julie Bornstein, Sephora senior vice president, said that Sephora, which has spent decades working on the science behind color, has in conjunction with Pantone mapped 110 skin tone shades in the United States.

After Color IQ measures your signature skin tone, it takes the digital images of your face and breaks them into 100-pixel blocks. Sephora then creates a color composite along with a Pantone Skin Tone number for you.

Sephora has tested skin from women all over the world, producing 1,000 different skin combinations. That data will determine which foundation will work best for you, according to Bornstein. Once you get your Skin Tone number, a Sephora representative will enter it into the company’s iPad app for individualized suggestions.

Sephora’s New York and San Francisco stores will make this process available to women in those cities within the next few weeks. Roll-out of the skin scans to the company’s 300-plus stores in the United States will happen at a later date.

Bornstein noted that the concept of virtually trying on clothing and makeup is growing in both industries. What sets apart Sephora’s process is it has a certain purity that will make it effective.

Many will consider these customized fashion and makeup trends that help women find their best beauty solutions to be the next must-haves, but others will pass based on what may appear to be artificiality.

As Bornstein stated, however, this process give the industry the ability to truly recommend a product based on an individual’s skin.