Health and Beauty

Hair Care Wormwood Street

Incubators develop the future of beauty

Sephora is not the only company with Bay Area roots pushing the boundaries of how shoppers interact with beauty products. Volition Beauty is creating a fully crowdsourced beauty brand; Madison Reed is pushing hair color choices beyond salons and supermarkets into the palms of customers’ hands; Match Co and Melange are mining selfies to blend foundation shades corresponding to skin tones; and the L’Oreal Technology Incubator is making completely customized beauty items, working on 3-D printed skin and detecting sun exposure with wearable skin sensors.

The region has quickly become a hub of artificial intelligence, and not the kind involving robots. Its mix of technology firms, leading universities, moneyed investors and a handful of prominent established beauty businesses has provided the foundation for a fountain of beauty concepts springing forth with ideas that are transforming the beauty industry.

“Three years ago, when you thought of beauty, you thought of New York, L.A. and, overseas, Paris, but I feel like now that we are merging tech with beauty, it’s a wonderful place to be,” said Brandy Hoffman, co-founder of Volition Beauty. “We are building an online platform for co-creation, and it just makes sense that we are here. We are getting the best talent.”