Hi-tech tools have the beauty world buzzing, but are they worth the hype? MOJEH investigates…
Technology is changing the face of every major industry. Look around your house: advanced cooking appliances in your kitchen, when used correctly, can assist you in creating a Michelin-worthy meal. Don’t have time? Then there’s always a food-delivery app. Ready to work out? You don’t even need to leave your living room to have a celebrity trainer pop up on a screen, ready to whip you into shape. Now beauty is having its moment, with at-home beauty tools promising life-changing results.
Our reliance on technology was propelled even further with Covid-19 and lockdowns. At the forefront of this was a longing for tools to support our physical and mental health. The wellness industry was ready to answer. According to McKinsey & Company, a global management and consulting firm, the wellness market is currently valued at an estimated $1.5 trillion (Dhs5.5 trillion), with an annual growth of five to 10 per cent. When speaking to consumers across the globe, the firm categorised wellness into six categories: health, fitness, nutrition, sleep, mindfulness and appearance. At-home beauty tools are claiming to be the answer to a better appearance. A leading international intelligence company, Vynz Research, estimated the global-beauty devices market to be valued at $39.1 billion (Dhs143.6 billion) in 2018, which is predicted to grow to $107.2 billion (Dhs393.7 billion) by 2024. “Increased screen time and not being able to see a facialist regularly has resulted in a huge surge of at-home treatments,” begins Dr Maryam Zamani, an oculoplastic surgeon and founder of MZ Skin, based in London.
Tech tools arrive in all shapes, sizes and prices. One brand which has entered and dominated the mass market is Foreo. Launched in 2013, its devices start at around the $100 (Dhs360) mark, making them accessible to a wide audience of beauty lovers. However, other devices come at a much higher investment. Take Lyma’s Laser Starter Kit that retails for $2,325 (Dhs8,538). To secure a customer’s investment, a brand must first prove how effective the technology is, and secondly how it can offer significant savings in the long term. Some of the most popular items are cleansing devices, facial steamers, laser and microcurrent technology, contouring gadgets and LED lights, to just scratch the surface. Part of the MZ Skin portfolio is its Light Therapy Golden Facial Treatment Mask. “LED has always been a treatment I have loved as an adjunct to in-office procedures, including lasers, peels and surgery,” explains Dr Zamani. To be used for 20 minutes a few times a week, the different settings can improve acne, skin tone and boost collagen. As with any industry, marketing can be confusing to consumers. “I wasn’t always big on beauty tech, it used to be quite gimmicky, but I think it’s evolved so much that it now delivers actual results,” says Haneen Odeh, the owner of Snob Salon in Dubai. When investing in tech, it’s important you do your research. “I think beauty tech tools should be used to complement clinical treatments,” advises Odeh.
At-home beauty products will never be as effective as in-clinic treatments. An example is laser hair-removal devices. “These have been reported to be effective, but not on the same level as treatments with medical-grade machines in a clinic. They require users to be qualified in the use of lasers, and more specifically trained in the device itself,” explains Dr Marwa Ali, an aesthetic doctor at The Wellness Clinic at Harrods in the UK. This is partnered with the cost of the equipment, which can often be six figures, if not more. There are also the treatments that professionals should solely do. “I think at-home microneedling devices can often be used inappropriately, causing inflammation and microtears in the skin. That is something that is best left for office use,” says Dr Zamani. Dr Ali agrees, adding, “Microneedling in medical clinics is clinically safer, as the devices are sterile, with disposable one-use attachments. They are also faster and have settings to target specific depths in the skin, according to the area being treated.”
In beauty, to get results, often consistency is key. Therefore, tools like MZ Skin’s Light Therapy Golden Facial Treatment Mask are helpful, even if they aren’t as effective as in-clinic procedures. “Our at-home LED mask deliver s about 50 per cent of the power of the machines I use in my clinic, but with at-home convenience you can enjoy light therapy more frequently,” explains Dr Zamani.
Is skin tech necessary for healthy skin? Some disagree. “No, less is more,” says Dr Natalia Spierings, a consultant dermatologist at Kings College Hospital London in Dubai and London Medical in the UK. “Facial skin should be treated gently, and with minimal products and fuss. If you have a skin problem, see a decent dermatologist to get an appropriate diagnosis and a simple, targeted management plan to treat the disease. If you don’t have a skin problem, stick with sun protection and a basic moisturiser if you need it, as well as a basic cleanser. And that’s it. No fancy gadgets required.”
The future sees giant cosmetic companies like L’Oréal, Shiseido and Estée Lauder embracing beauty tech in new ways. Brands have already invested heavily in augmented reality, launching apps that allow wearers to try on make-up before they buy. Now, devices are at the forefront. Take L’Oréal’s Perso, which is set to launch later this year. A smart skincare device that can sit on your vanity, it works with artificial intelligence to formulate skincare, foundation and liquid lipstick, just for you. Alongside an app that leverages new L’Oréal’s ModiFace technology, it evaluates skin and environmental factors around you before dispensing the right product. The technology even gets smarter over time.
The Tools To Try
Women across the region share their top at-home beauty tools
“This isn’t necessarily tech, but I love my facial cupping tool. This is great for lymphatic drainage, as it instantly increases blood flow. It leaves your face looking so plump.” Amina Mohamed, Senior Head of Communications, PR & Events at Farfetch
“I’ve been using at-home LED light treatments for years. I originally started using it to help manage my rosacea, and now I use it to help boost collagen and elastin in my skin. It’s a no-fuss treatment that I use alongside guided meditation.” Anna Al Qasimi-Roberts, Founder of Achievher
“I really like the dermaplaning tools. They get rid of all the dead skin and the peach fuzz, and my skin looks smooth and glowy afterwards. My make-up also goes on so much better.” Haneen Odeh, Founder of Snob Salon
“I can’t live without my Foreo devices. I have two, the Luna 3 and the Luna Mini 3, which I use when I’m travelling. In the evenings, I love to double cleanse, and Foreo’s tools ensure all my make-up is removed. It also helps serums work better and sink into the skin.” Rosemin Manji, Founder of RR&Co Advisory
“The GHD Platinum+ hair straightener features technology that predicts the needs of your hair. The heat is monitored, meaning no damage to my locks. I use it to create curly and straight looks with minimal effort.” Samantha Francis Baker, Creative Director at Aces of Space Studios
- Words by Alexandra Venison