Maybe You’re Born With It, Or Maybe it’s Maybel….Mechanical Engineering
If you are someone who believes that the makeup industry has reached its innovative peak, then you are in for a real surprise. Makeup has a deep, rich history that dates back as far as Ancient Egypt, and it continues to evolve to this very day. New formulas, applicators, and applications have been leveraging technology in order to benefit consumers in the cosmetic industry. One may wonder how engineering fits into the grand scheme of the beauty industry. Well if you were to go to any of nation’s top cosmetic companies, they would be able to list thousands of ways in which chemical, mechanical, industrial, and electrical engineers have improved the beauty industry over the years. Organizations such as L’Oréal pride themselves on the number of women in Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering (STEM) that they have employed. However, contrary to popular belief, this field is not limited to women. In an article/interview with The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Rob Peterson, Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, states that his favorite product he’s worked on is a cosmetic applicator for foundation.
In this “Atoms to Bits” era, it is important for companies to embrace mobility technology, and the cosmetic industry is on it. Two L’Oréal brands have launched partnerships with technology companies, such as Google, in an effort to provide “real life” in-store experiences to its customers in the digital world. For example, L'Oréal Paris has launched a 'Make-up Genius' mobile app on IOS in the US and Canada that will allow customers to visualize how make-up will look on their face before buying it. This cosmetic app utilizes face-mapping technology that had only been used previously in Hollywood or in the gaming industry. Speaking of mobility, those in the makeup industry are also focusing on improving the functionality of cosmetics by making more “on-the-go” product packaging. Overall, the makeup industry is focused on personalizing the consumer experience, whether in-store, online or even at home in their own mirror. Panasonic’s Magic Mirror is an actual mirror for your home that analyzes your skin and gives you beauty and skin tips. As an engineer in the Society, how can cosmetic technology work to your advantage?
Leveraging technology in the cosmetic industry:
- Think about the consumer! What could help the customer choose the right products for their skin? What if a customer wants to make a huge change? Is this applicator user-friendly? “We can certainly see [a time] when women will just be able to go up to a device, get their photo taken, and that device matches them to the product they should use” (Russo).
- Mobility - How can one access this data or this product on their mobile devices? What would make the consumer want to use this application? Is it user-friendly and easy to navigate
- Personalization - The future of the beauty industry is making makeup more personalized in order for the customer to feel as though this product was made for them. What are some current technologies, such as cameras, voice records, touch screens, etc., that could be used to improve makeup technology for digital consumers?
- Designing better systems- Systems are used to create products in the cosmetic industry. New and improved design can make safer and more efficient production of products. These innovative systems could provide better formulas and packages for these new formulas.
- Solution to an existing problem - As engineers, we use our skills and abilities to solve problems whether they are everyday dilemmas or long term obstacles.
Curtis, Sophie. “How technology is transforming the cosmetics industry”. The Telegraph, 07 Oct. 2015,
“From Makeup to Gum: A Mechnical Engineering Career in Consumer Products”. ASME,
m-a-mechanical-engineering. Accessed 7 February, 2017.
Gould, Wendy Rose. “Behold: Beauty Tech Will Change How You Do Makeup”. InStyle, 28 April. 2016,
Russo, Maria Del. “This Is What Makeup Will Look Like In The Future”. Refinery29, 15 Dec. 2014,