Sometimes called Beauty Toys, beauty devices have been around for a while now. In the late 19th century, a few cartoonists already offered their own forward-looking interpretations. And there are other old traces of them in the 1922 beauty care device catalogue of the Laveur & Niédrée company available at BIU Santé, a university scientific library in Paris.
Long considered a gimmick or trivial idea, instrumental beauty is actually regularly gaining ground. Every year, the Las Vegas Consumer Electronic Show, known as CES, puts forward advances in the field of beauty, although health-wise, COVID has been monopolizing attention. Here is an overview of this year’s offering.
It has been a while since La Cosmétothèque started following these developments. Several creations have been highlighted over the past few years, so we thought we would remind you of them, in case you would like to reread about them. Most are still relevant.
- Mechanics to help the skin
- Futuristic cosmetics
- Electronic MakeUp
- Cold and its use in beauty
- Ingredients and light
- Modern use of light in beauty
- Electricity at the service of beauty
- Mechanics to the rescue of beauty
- Instrumental beauty 2 – Mechanical stress
- Beauty toys or beauty objects – Introduction
The beauty objects known today were actually developed in the 1990s, more precisely in the early 2000s. Many technologies can be used to make these devices, but they can be classified into a few technological effects:
- Mechanic: we now talk about “mechanobiology”
- Cold or hot temperatures
- Electric and magnetic fields
- Connected objects
Most of the countless devices on the market feature these techniques, when they do not combine them. Many are combined with smartphones to offer data recording, an interpretation depending on various parameters, like environmental parameters, the UV level, pollution, etc., and of course, prescriptions. They are becoming real beauty coaches.
To learn more, we recommend reading the chapter entitled “Instrumental cosmetics” in the remarkable book coordinated by Vincent Faivre, “Conception des produits cosmétiques : les formes innovantes” (Cosmetic Valley collection).
Cosmetics basic principle long remained “primum non nocere”, which consisted in not “rushing” the skin. Now, many of these techniques actually involve getting it stressed, moderately, of course, but enough to provoke a response leading to enhanced skin condition. Stress is generated in different ways, but it should not be invasive: the skin remains intact, i.e. its integrity is preserved.
From a technical and scientific standpoint, some of these techniques were subject to studies to be validated, like the one called “Endermologie®”. But, generally speaking, the studies were conducted by the companies that developed the techniques, so the validity of the results can be questioned. You might say, the same goes for the actives regularly developed. Independent publications are rare.
On the other hand, since these techniques are based on the application of “energy” on the skin to produce a reaction, energy level monitoring is an issue. Indeed, if it is conceivable to appropriately monitor procedures as part of a supervised practice in a professional environment, it can be tricky for a device intended for the general public: energy levels are usually lower, which minimizes the effects. That being said, some of these techniques do offer interesting results which compete with standard cosmetic products, or provide even better outcomes.
The regulatory issue is another aspect to focus on. There have been many discussions to determine whether these devices fell under the scope of cosmetics regulations. There are several points of view. First, it should be taken into account that these devices should ensure general safety, so they should comply with the provisions enforced. Then, claims should also be considered. Some experts think that if these devices are applied on the skin to modify its appearance, they do correspond to the definition of a cosmetic product. But the indication “substance or mixture” in this definition leads others to turn to other regulatory provisions, in particular those that describe medical devices. This issue remains unsolved and should be validated on a case-by-case basis. Will a specific mention need to be added to regulations to take into account the specificity of these devices?
We suggest a recent update by CosmeticOBS, which provides the latest advances in this field.
All this is about a particular aspect of cosmetics which regularly raises the question whether tomorrow’s beauty’s blockbuster will be a cream jar!
If you have the answer, all the better. I don’t, but I do recommend everyone to keep an eye on these developments: beyond ingenuity and creativity, they represent one of the real innovations of the past twenty years.
Jean Claude LE JOLIFF