What are the positive effects of technology on beauty?

По | 14.06.2023

Credit: Thred
Contrary to popular belief, social media has the potential to transform our attitudes towards body image, industry sustainability, and representation for the better.

If I were to ask for your opinion about the integration of beauty and technology, your response would most likely be negative.

For starters, having witnessed the damaging impacts of social media on our self-esteem, it’s become increasingly difficult not to associate platforms like Instagram with the filters, photoshopping, and polished faces that repeatedly make us question whether or not we look good.

Then, of course, is the issue of our ongoing climate crisis, which is being exacerbated by our collective affinity for buying into brands’ relentless marketing tactics that push onto us cosmetics and skincare products encased in packaging we know is made from environmentally toxic materials and will generate a lot of waste.

But what if I told you it isn’t all bad and that while there is growing unease about the effects of technology on beauty, some believe it has the potential to transform our relationship with the industry for the better?

To begin with, body positivity movements have never had so much traction, particularly the ones encouraging users to embrace the skin they’re in.


‘Gen Z has played a major role in destigmatizing these beauty narratives as they confidently say no to ‘normal’ and challenge topics previously deemed as taboo,’ says Hannah Mauser, analyst at consumer trend forecasting company WGSN.

‘Thanks to social media we’ve been able to access a multi-diverse pool of representation of what beauty looks like.’

And in terms of AR, which many argue is only perpetuating harmful ideals, Mauser presents another side of the coin.

‘Filters can help us play with different appearances,’ she continues.

‘This doesn’t necessarily mean low confidence but can be an opportunity for individuals to try on new personas or experiment with gender expression, makeup, and hair colour.’

This kind of innovation, she says, can be hugely beneficial for those with disabilities, for whom technology such as voice-enabled makeup assistants (designed for people with visual impairments) and L’Oréal’s handheld makeup applicator (designed for people with limited mobility) has proved invaluable.

‘These technologies are about empowering people to have the beauty that they want to have,’ says Mauser. ‘It’s really about beauty for every person.’

With this in mind, technology is also bolstering beauty inclusivity, not only for people with disabilities, but for consumers from underrepresented demographics.

‘From mismatched shades to a lack of product availability, underrepresented beauty consumers face difficulty with searching for compatible products,’ says Simi Lindgren, the founder and CEO of Yuty.

‘Hyper-personalisation, enabled by AI, can restore social equity for the beauty industry.’

What about the planet, however? Well, according to Unilever’s latest research into how social media is helping make the switch to sustainability, online content now ranks as one of the most influential sources for information on behavioural changes that could save the Earth.

As it revealed, 75 per cent of participants in the study said they would stop purchasing single-use cosmetics and skincare products in favour of refillable ones and 77 per cent support creators urging their audience to behave in an environmentally friendly way.

‘People are finding it hard to make sustainable choices due to a lack of simple, immediate and trustworthy information,’ explains Conny Braams, Unilever’s Chief Digital & Commercial Officer.

‘Our ambition is to continue to collaborate with our partners to improve the sustainability content produced by our brands and support the creators we work with.’

‘Together, we are learning what is all likes and no action versus content that makes sustainable choices simple and preferred.’

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