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Technologies capture skin tone and help consumers choose the right cosmetics

The beauty industry has now at least two valuable aids for matching products to consumers’ skin tones. Cube, by Australian startup Palette (former SwatchMate), and Color IQ, by French chain Sephora, have technologies capable of capturing colors and translating them into a digital library of shades.

Cube color capturing device by Palette

Cube color capturing device by Palette

As the name suggests, Cube is a portable cube created by a collective of designers and engineers that basically works as Photoshop’s eyedropper tool in real life by capturing the color of almost any surface, including the skin. Its raw values are then shown in a number of color systems, including Pantone, RGB and CMYK. Cube syncs with computers via Bluetooth and connects to Photoshop through a program called Cube Link.

The technology claims accurate color matching and uses a controlled light sequence through an aperture to identify and capture the desired color. The device also reports light intensity and ambient temperature readings.

Differently from Cube, Color IQ is a service exclusive to Sephora. It scans the surface of the skin and assigns it a unique number – the Color IQ –, which refers to one of the 110 skin tones in the Color IQ Library. Customers can get matched at one of Sephora’s stores and save the number to their online account to discover lip, foundation and concealer matches. Customers who don’t have a Color IQ number can also select the foundation they currently wear on Sephora’s website to find other product matches.

The Color IQ device is used to capture customers skin color

The Color IQ device is used to capture customers skin color

The cosmetics retail chain emphasizes that, unlike traditional cameras, which take pictures using ambient lighting, the Color IQ device captures an image of the skin in complete darkness, allowing the tool to focus on skin’s physiology and eliminate variables that can distort shade selection. The Color IQ technology is not yet available in Brazil.

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