Genetic code


Science and beauty are intrinsically linked, with the latter comprising an industry which employs hundreds of thousands of scientists globally.

The fact that it can take more than 5 years and a team of over 10 senior scientists to create a sunscreen with a new "active" ingredient exemplifies the research and work required. 

As brands develop more innovative and complex products, the science behind them becomes even more so, and consequently we have begun to see the growth of beauty products and treatments that focus on an individual's genetics. Whilst relatively new, these products aim to provide the best and most suitable products for a customer considering their genetic profile.

We look to understand what brands are doing; why we are seeing this growth and what the future potentially holds.

These products aim to provide the most suitable treatment for an individual given their genetic makeup. The growing trend is to specifically conduct analysis of an individual's DNA profile through an at-home or in-person test.

Examples of the at-home version include Allel and Orig3n, with the former conceptualised specifically around genetic based beauty and wellbeing. Allel, a Swiss skincare brand, allows customers to purchase DNA testing kits and send across DNA samples to labs to be tested. Once Allel receive the analysis, a set of their proprietary products are recommended based on the genetic traits and markets of the individual, which are then available for purchase. Orig3n (seen above) provides a similar test, however the broader traits of an individual are described and product types recommended as opposed to a specific set of products.

The in-person market is generally more luxurious with brands such as Marie Reynolds and Harrods entering the fray. Marie Reynolds introduced the Dermal Resonance system, which tests your DNA and personal frequency to create a unique product programmed for your skin's needs. Whilst Harrod's Wellness Clinic offers Gen Identity, a skincare regime based on DNA. Neither are cheap, their existence and the introduction of the services, however, are indicative of the demand for them.

The first and potentially most important reason is the advancement of technology. Whilst DNA analysis was available before - generally through specialist clinics and labs - it has now become more mainstream and accessible through home DNA kits, such as 23andMe or AncestryDNA. Whilst these primarily look at ancestry or health and wellbeing characteristics, brands and companies have seen the opportunity to utilise these learnings and/or techniques to provide personalised treatments for individuals.

The hyper-personalised offer of these treatments has meant that the increased supply has been met with growing demand. Personalisation is a growing trend across multiple consumer markets, with the ability to provide individual specific treatment programmes or even products being a major draw for consumers. As the technology improves further, the ability to provide more bespoke products will create even greater demand.

Bespoke beauty and skincare is a growing demand, however bespoke genetic-based skincare has a long way to go. The science still needs proving, with the efficacy of topical genetic based products still under question. However, as the costs of the treatments fall and the science becomes more widely understood and researched, these products have the potential to change the landscape and turn the heads of the biggest brands in beauty.

Tej Panchal