The handheld makeup printer that puts on your foundation 2019-01-28T15:39:53+00:00

Taking back the years

research development technology

A bit of concealer and a slick of foundation is a go-to for many women across the world, giving them a confidence boost and making them feel presentable. Now, toiletries manufacturer Procter and Gamble has developed a handheld device that will print your makeup onto your face – dubbed “photoshopping in real life”.

Opté works by scanning the skin of the hands or face, using a camera to detect age spots and blemishes and sending that information to a microprocessor, which analyses it using 70,000 lines of code, comparing the colour of the mark to the skin around it.Inkjet printers then apply a tiny amount of makeup – a billionth of a litre – onto your skin wherever a mark is detected.

The company exhibited the device at the Consumer Electronics Show trade exhibition in Las Vegas earlier this month. In a feature on the BBC website, communications associate director Lauren Thaman demonstrated it on technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones.

Cellan-Jones, 61, said it had made his hand look “amazingly better”, and a difference was noticeable in the before and after photos he shared of his face and hands.

A product for all skin types

Three different cartridges – light, medium and dark – have been developed to enable the product to cover every skin tone. Designed to be popped on top of your daily moisturiser and UV protection, it offers longer-lasting coverage since most of your skin is left untouched. And with anti-ageing ingredients in the mix, Tharman claims age spots should begin to fade with usage. The company hopes to put the device on sale within a year.

The idea of printing onto your face might sound odd at first, but really it’s just an electronic way of applying foundation, and doing so very precisely. And Cellan-Jones isn’t the only journalist to have reported that Opté does work.

Some of the language used to report on Opté, however, does raise the question of whether we are becoming obsessed not so much with enhancing our appearance, as makeup is intended to do, but ironing out perceived flaws to an ever-unhealthier degree. Hence phrases such as “restoring some of the natural-looking beauty of your skin” (is our skin not fine as it is?), references to imperfections, and comparisons with photographic filters – as if these are indisputably something positive.

One article even began by telling its readers they would never be models. It’s concerning that the quest to look nice, which should be something that boosts our confidence, seems to engender efforts to undermine it instead.

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