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Lululab, a Beauty AI Startup Driving Innovation

#Power of Businesses l 2020-05-25

Business Watch

ⓒ lululab Inc.

The company we’re going to introduce today is Lululab that drives innovation by incorporating artificial intelligence or AI into beauty treatment. Let’s hear from company CEO Choe Yong-joon (최용준).

Lululab is a spin-off company of Samsung Electronics’ startup incubator program known as C-Lab. The beauty tech startup started as an internal project at Samsung in January 2016 and spun off in May 2017.

The word “lulu” refers to someone or something that is remarkable or outstanding, and Lululab means a lab that creates something wonderful. In South Korea, people use this word when they are happy or excited. The company name contains our hope to develop useful products that help users take care of their skin properly and make them beautiful and happy.

Lululab’s founder Choe majored in bioengineering at Cornell University and researched on DNA genome sequencing at Harvard Medical Hospital.

As we know, one’s skin reflects his or her health conditions. Choe found that there were very few ways to predict facial skin problems or to accurately measure how serious the existing problems are. After he entered Samsung Electronics in 2014, he applied for the company’s in-house venture nurturing program, C-Lab. He had the idea of expanding business by collecting skin data with a portable skin measurement device. After 16 months of development, Choe set up Lululab as a spin-off of C-Lab in 2017. What he unveiled was LUMINI, the first AI-based skin analysis solution in the beauty industry.

LUMINI consists of a small device and AI software. A single click makes the device produce three lights to capture the image of the user’s face. It takes three seconds. The image is then transmitted to the cloud server for a skin analysis for ten seconds. After the analysis, it rates the skin of the entire facial area into seven different categories. Based on the results, ingredients of cosmetics products and weather changes, it recommends beauty products that would be suitable for the user’s skin conditions. This is LUMINI’s three-step AI skincare.

Previously, most devices designed to measure skin conditions make contact with the face to measure particular features such as oil and moisture levels. In contrast, Lululab’s LUMINI can scan and analyze the facial skin with a single click. The secret of this amazing solution is an image processing algorithm and AI.

In the first stage, LUMINI automatically recognizes the face of the user, even though its camera takes a photo about 20 centimeters away from the face. Then, it quickly scans the skin and calculates the data. In the second phase involving deep learning, it diagnoses seven dermal issues including wrinkles, pigmentation, pores, sebum and skin trouble. In the final stage, it analyzes the given data and environmental changes to recommend products that can best meet the user’s skincare needs.

It may look like a complicated procedure, but the entire process takes only ten seconds, without ever touching the skin. This incredible beauty solution has fascinated the global community.

ⓒ lululab Inc.

I think it is essential for beauty products to gain recognition in three sectors—beauty, of course, design and technology. In November 2018, LUMINI became the first IT product to receive the grand prize in the skincare category at Cosmoprof Asia. Cosmoprof is the world’s largest beauty fair. It also won the Red Dot and iF Design Awards in 2018. The two are among the world’s top three design awards. In addition, the company received the Innovation Award at CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics fair, with its B2B solution last year. And this year, its LUMINI Home also won the CES Innovation Award. So, the company has won the CES Innovation Award for two consecutive years.

LUMINI was officially released in the market last year. But even before its commercial launch, it was highly acclaimed at world-renowned events to garner recognition in beauty, design and technology. Based on the success, Lululab has launched its AI beauty store at Sharaf DG, the largest electronics retailer in the Middle East. The company plans to open some 100 stores in 20 countries this year. It will also release a device for home use, which will allow users to diagnose their skin conditions at home conveniently.

The home-care device market has been expanding for the last two to three years. Many people use LED facial masks and galvanic skin response devices. But the products are for all users across the globe, although 6 billion users have billions of different skin conditions.

On the other hand, our new product, LUMINI Home, has a new, powerful feature capable of making the devices already in use. It’s more suitable for the skin conditions of individual users, that is, for personalized skincare. An LED mask, for example, emits red or blue lights for ten minutes when the button is pushed. But for people with large pores or acne, LUMINI Home can automatically adjust the setting to produce a blue light for five minutes, a red light for two minutes and a purple light for three minutes.

Simply put, you will have a smart beauty tool in the form of a mirror at home. The mirror automatically changes the settings of your existing devices in a way to better suit your skin conditions and therefore helps you take care of your skin easily. It’s essentially your own smart beauty secretary.

Scheduled for market release in the second half of the year, LUMINI Home will enable people to use an AI-based professional skincare system at home.

Skin conditions examined by AI and analyzed by big data are used for beauty treatment, of course. But more importantly, they can also show the user’s health information.

Some people may only be interested in making their skin look good. But the skin has extensive health information. When there is something wrong with an internal organ, the skin may reveal it. We sincerely hope to improve the quality of people’s lives. Living a long life is important, of course, but it is equally important, perhaps more important to stay healthy. We’ll continue to accumulate skin data from around the world and develop a solution that predicts potential diseases. That’s our ultimate goal.

Lululab isn’t just a beauty company. It aims to predict internal diseases through skin conditions and play a part in improving human life. With this vision in mind, it is moving forward step by step. Based on its strong competitiveness built in the beauty industry, it will surely contribute to promoting the health and welfare of mankind.

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