YSL’s lipstick pod gadget will create whatever shade you want

Andreas Milano

L’Oreal debuted a gadget at CES last year that promised to make lipstick shades in whatever color wearers wanted. This year, we’re learning what that device requires to work at home: lipstick pods.

The Yves Saint Laurent Beauté Rouge Sur Mesure Powered by Perso — yes, that really is the name — takes three different lipstick color pods and squirts their liquid out at the top of the device for wearers to mix. (The pods dispense the YSL Beauty Velvet Cream Matte Finish formula.) When combined, they create the desired shade. The top of the Bluetooth-enabled device doubles as a compact so people can take it on the go and touch up their color as needed.

The device costs $299 and is available for preorder today. Each preorder includes two sets of colors in either the red, nude, orange, or fuchsia family. Everything will ship in “early spring.” The device will then be more widely available in September. Custom skincare and foundation pods will also launch later this year. The device charges through USB-C and has a battery life of more than a week, according to L’Oreal, YSL’s parent company.

Image: L’Oreal

Wearers have three options to create a shade within the iOS or Android app. They can select from the “shade wheel,” which makes it easy to select a color from a wheel; the “shade match,” which creates a shade to complement an outfit or a favorite lipstick color through a photo; or “shade stylist,” which relies on a “smart algorithm” to choose between three shades that’ll best work with an outfit, again based on a photo. The app also includes a social component that showcases colors other users made and highlights “real-time trends” from “YSL experts” and other users.

The lipstick pod sets cost $100 on their own and cannot be swapped in for anything other than those pods. Each cartridge is verified through RFID, which allows the machine to detect the formula type inserted in each canal, track its consumption, and offer to automatically reorder the cartridge if needed. Although users can order individual cartridges, they cannot mix and match the pods from different sets. The machine won’t operate if they try.

Of course, relying on pods is often how hardware companies create recurring revenue. People buy the device once but then are required to keep buying more things to use it. In this case, it’s possible people might go through the cartridges faster than they would a typical lipstick, especially if they use it daily. I, for one, own lots of lipsticks that I rarely use. I get bored of one color and then look for a new one to start wearing — and not always from the same brand. YSL can bank on the fact that people will need to re-up these cartridges directly from its line, guaranteeing that customers stay loyal to its lipsticks and keep paying the company. Pods have finally found their place in makeup.

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