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26 July 2017Last updated
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Beauty | Grooming

Beauty gets hi-tech

Your smartphone can order your lunch and book a flight. But is your skincare keeping up? Anita Quade explores the world of beauty technology

Anita Quade
10 Mar 2017 | 12:00 am
  • Source:iStock

Gone are the days of basic DIY beauty – when an at-home makeover meant heating up supermarket-bought wax strips in the microwave for hair-free skin, beauty masks were made with the contents of your fridge and teeth whitening came on a strip. It was basic beauty maintenance, but if you wanted salon-worthy results, then your only option was to invest in a trip to the beautician.

That’s changing: Today, at home-beauty tech promises the results of a salon service in the privacy of your home with little fuss and – best of all – purse-friendly solutions.

The place to start when it comes to getting a luminous glow is not with make-up tricks, but the condition of your skin. The texture and tone changes daily thanks to a barrage of environmental factors, air conditioning and, especially here in the Middle East, the sun’s rays. Skin also changes constantly, thanks to a mixture of diet and lifestyle, so you need to keep an eye on its condition and adapt your beauty game to suit.

In the past, a trip to the dermatologist under the gaze of bright lights and a magnifying device would get you the answers on how best to take care of your skin, along with a prescription of products required. But what if you could have your own 24/7 personal skin consultant on hand? You can: There’s a smart device that makes judging your skin’s condition as simple as looking in a mirror.

The HiMirror can tell you everything from the time of day to the texture of your skin and whether your beauty arsenal is working. The mirror, which took three years of research to develop, was created by Simon Shen, who says he designed it to revolutionise women’s beauty routines using the world’s first smart gadget beauty product. It was named a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Smart Home product category.

‘When people ask where HiMirror came from, I usually say I came up with it because my wife, Amanda, is a Virgo, a sign known for constantly striving for perfection,’ he says.

‘I watched Amanda as she went about her skincare routine. It occurred to me that she usually spends around 10 minutes in front of the mirror, choosing from myriad expensive skincare and cosmetic products; many of them appear rarely used.

‘What you see today is the result – the first mirror in the world that helps you analyse your skin and track your skincare products and their effectiveness through a handy report.’

The touch-free design is a humidity-resistant tablet with an HD camera that runs on Android, can be installed in your bathroom and offers an analysis of your skin by simply taking a make-up free picture (you can interact using voice commands). It will give you a report to evaluate firmness, brightness and health and track skin flaws such as sun damage, enlarged pores and dehydration.

The image is analysed and feedback is given via an app on how to best use your current skincare products, along with helpful tutorials and tips from dermatologists. It also stores pictures so you can easily track your skin’s progress.

There is also the HiMirror Plus version that offers more photograph storage space and up to five different light settings, from a brightly lit office to sunset, so you can be sure your make-up looks great in all lighting. This WiFi-connected device can also display the local weather and even play Spotify.

Once you know your skin’s condition, it’s time to start boosting your routine. Achieving flawless skin starts with a great canvas. It doesn’t matter if you have all the latest serums and moisturisers – without a great base, the products won’t be effective. This is where Clarisonic has become a leader in the market since it launched in 2004. The hand-held device promises to change your cleansing routine in the swirl of a brush. The range has a brush head to suit every skin type, even the most sensitive, and uses a sonic frequency of over 300 rotations per second to clean skin, remove make-up, excess oil and reduce pore size. Best of all, it requires only 60 seconds of your time to get fast results that will leave you with a smoother, clearer complexion.

Research shows that it leaves skin six times cleaner than skin washed with hands, so you are guaranteed squeaky clean skin. The rechargeable design has become a must-have for celebrities, including Hollywood golden girl Naomi Watts, who admits she uses it once a week to get flawless skin, and singer Fergie who loves the ‘clean and smooth finish’ it offers when she uses it daily. Given that it is waterproof, this device is perfect for use under the shower – simply add your cleanser and get to work. A gentle wash of the brush head should see it last for up to three months before a replacement is required. While this device wins plenty of rave reviews, some users have reported that it can irritate skin, so it’s best to start off with a once-a-week treatment and build up depending on your skin’s sensitivity and whether you suffer from any conditions such as acne.

Another cleansing winner on the market, while small size, delivers big on innovation. The Luna 2 is a compact cleansing device that utilises 8,000 pulsations per minute, which are channelled through silicon touch points with a tapping-like movement, to avoid pulling the skin. Swedish company Foreo launched it in 2013 and claims that the silicon technology means it is up to 35 times more hygienic than nylon-bristled alternatives.

The two-minute daily routine exfoliates dead skin cells and promises to remove up to 99.5 per cent of dirt and oil to help with the absorption of your favourite skincare products. On the reverse, it also has an anti-ageing side that offers reduced frequency to gently banish fine lines and reveal radiant skin.

Boosting the skin’s radiance with beams of light used to be restricted to salon visits, but innovations such as the Tria Age-Defying Laser are making professional skincare technology available without stepping foot outside the home.

This hand-held device aims to kick-start collagen production and plump up skin with just 12 weeks of use. The fractional, non-ablative laser uses targeted beams of light to work below the skin’s surface to accelerate collagen and elastin production. The laser has adjustable settings for those with sensitive skin and is simple and quick to use. The device is placed on clean skin and glided over the target area, including cheeks, chin and forehead and will beep when the treatment for the area is complete. It can take up to eight weeks to see results and feels like a warm pin-prick on the skin. It’s best to try
this in the evening as skin may be slightly red (and to diminish the chance of sun exposure after treatment).

Tria’s innovative devices also extend to laser hair removal with the Tria Precision. This gadget means an end to waxing and monthly visits to the salon – offering a cost-effective solution to unwanted hair. It’s suitable for face, underarms and bikini line, and uses diode lasers to send light beam impulses directly through the skin to disable hair follicles and permanently reduce hair growth. Treatments need to be done every two weeks, for three months, to see results.

A secret of youthful looks is pearly white teeth – but in-house whitening dental treatments can cost upwards of Dh2,000 
per visit. Celebrity dentist Dr Apa, who has private practices in New York and Dubai 
and who counts among his clients Vera Wang and Lea Michele, recently launched what is referred to as ‘the Ferrari of toothbrushes’. While some studies have suggested electric toothbrushes can be harsh on enamel, Dr Apa’s innovation offers adjustable vibration modes to prevent enamel abrasion, but still offers a complete clean thanks to its 40,000 vibrations per minute and three unique clean modes.

‘I designed the Apa toothbrush to be both simple and effective, yet aesthetically appealing. The bristles are firm and gentle, administering enough power to clean, whiten and massage teeth and gums all in one,’ he says. It can be used with the Apa White Duo, Tooth Gloss and Blue Lip Shine products.

SEE THE LIGHT: AT-HOME SKIN TECH

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HiMirror Dh700, amazon.com

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Clarisonic Dh795, Sephora

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Luna 2 Dh950, Harvey Nichols Dubai

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Tria Age-Defying Laser Dh2,950, Bloomingdale’s Dubai

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Apa beauty toothbrush Dh1,100 Harvey Nichols Dubai

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Tria Precision hair-removal laser Dh1,457 Harvey Nichols Dubai

Anita Quade

Anita Quade