I don’t usually consider carrying lipstick as a high-tech expertise. However whereas making use of a customized shade of vivid purple this morning, I spotted that’s precisely what I’d simply had. I’d taken an image of my outfit on my smartphone, and an app generated a couple of colours to go along with it. I then received to strive every of them on utilizing AR filters. As soon as I discovered the shade I preferred, I hit a button, and the $299 Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Sur Mesure printed a pea-sized quantity for me to put on.

At its core, the YSL Rouge Sur Mesure is a lipstick printer. It’s wild as a result of, as a model, Yves Saint Laurent conjures pictures of high fashion and purple carpet galas — not devices and combined actuality. Then once more, YSL didn’t really develop the tech behind this gadget. That’d be L’Oreal, which occurs to personal the Yves Saint Laurent Magnificence model.

L’Oreal is likely one of the largest cosmetics firms on the planet, however what chances are you’ll not know is it’s invested loads in growing the subsequent technology of magnificence tech. It’s created a wearable UV sensor, a sticker that may detect your pores and skin’s pH ranges, a water-saving salon hair care system, its personal “digital” make-up line, and at CES 2020, it demoed Perso — a customizable skincare printer. That gadget is the underlying tech powering the YSL Rouge Sur Mesure. The one distinction is that as a substitute of serums, this gadget prints lip coloration.

The Rouge Sur Mesure isn’t that completely different from the Perso demo I noticed greater than two years in the past. The best way it really works is you pair the gadget to your smartphone after which insert three lipstick cartridges into the bottom. Every cartridge set falls inside a coloration palette — purple, pink, orange, nude — and every tube has its personal NFC tag. That tag permits the gadget to acknowledge every particular person cartridge, its expiration date, and the way a lot is left. The primary time you load up the cartridges, you’ll be prompted to calibrate, and you then’re able to go. The entire course of takes about 5 minutes.

Every cartridge has an NFC tag that permits the gadget to establish which coloration it’s, and the way a lot is left.

Every coloration palette can generate as much as 1,000 shades, so should you purchase all 4, you would stand up to 4,000. You possibly can both go along with L’Oreal’s presets, or you may customise your personal throughout the companion app in a couple of methods.

First, you may choose a shade from a coloration wheel. Second, you may take an image of an object — say your pink Kirby plush — and attempt to recreate the shade. Lastly, you may snap a photograph of your outfit, and the app will generate colours that can both match or conflict with what you’re carrying. (The latter is for many who prefer to be a bit extra daring with their vogue.) Any shade you want could be saved so you may return to it later.

Perso and the Rouge Sur Mesure additionally share an analogous design DNA. The underside base swings out to disclose three cartridge slots. The disc up high is definitely a transportable compact that may be indifferent so you may take your lipstick to go. What’s new right here is the retractable lip brush that magnetically attaches to the again of the gadget. No matter what you concentrate on how the gadget appears to be like, you need to admit that it’s each intelligent and purposeful.

The highest detaches so you should utilize it as a transportable compact.

I used to be pleasantly shocked by the app, too. I’ve examined my fair proportion of magnificence and wellness tech. Oftentimes, a cool concept will get derailed by a bug-ridden app. It’s a flaw with many linked units — how are you alleged to get the {hardware} working if the app retains crashing on you? Whereas I sometimes misplaced Bluetooth connectivity, the app by no means crashed on me. There wasn’t a noticeable delay between me telling the app to create a coloration and the gadget dishing out the exact quantity of lipstick vital. The digital try-on function jogged my memory of Instagram and TikTok magnificence filters, albeit for lipstick solely.

Creating new shades is a lot of the enjoyable. The colour wheel was by far the simplest approach to create a shade. You simply faucet a degree on the wheel, and also you’re just about achieved. The Shade Match function is a greater possibility if precisely which coloration you need. Whether or not it really works is dependent upon how precise you need the shade to be. I attempted shade matching to a pic of Taylor Swift carrying purple lipstick however no cube. It received very shut, simply not that precise shade. I had higher luck with precise objects. I snapped images of two of my favourite lipsticks, Pat McGrath’s Obsession and Elson 2. I purchased each pre-pandemic, in order that they’re positively previous their estimated expiration date. Was it cool that I may dupe the colours with out really having to re-buy them? Sure, sure, it was.

Mixing the lipstick jogs my memory of blending paint. The floor can be straightforward to wipe clear.

However my favourite possibility was the Shade Stylist, which creates a collection of shades primarily based on what you’re carrying. I used to be skeptical when it advised a nude-ish pink to “conflict” with a inexperienced high and black pants, however I ended up liking it. I’ve by no means preferred nude shades earlier than, however this has me questioning if I simply didn’t know one of the simplest ways to put on them.

The Rouge Sur Mesure, at occasions, appears like a gimmick. It’s exhausting to not get that impression whenever you take a look at the value. That stated, make-up, usually, is usually costly. I’ve received at least 10 tubes of lipstick in my make-up drawer. A pair value me as little as $5, however most value between $20 and $38 as a result of I’m a sucker for Fenty and Pat McGrath. YSL’s much less techy lipstick additionally prices $35–$38 a tube. These aren’t even the most costly lipstick on the market. It’s debatable whether or not an costly lipstick is healthier — some individuals swear sure, whereas others say it’s advertising and marketing. This gadget dispenses YSL’s method, which is on the pricier finish however not as egregious as different luxurious manufacturers.

The retractable lip brush attaches magnetically to the again of the gadget.

All this to say, I’ve already spent $299 on lipstick previously few years, simply in smaller increments. (Seeing that written out will hang-out me for a very long time.) In the event you’re the kind of particular person that wishes a number of selection with out having to purchase a number of shades of lipstick to combine and match, the value is instantly much less ridiculous.

I used to be in a position to recreate certainly one of my expired lipsticks utilizing the Shade Match function.

I’ve additionally run out of room to retailer these tubes in an easy-to-find means. This gadget isn’t precisely small, however it may theoretically save me a number of house. Clearly, the extra lipstick you could have, the extra space it saves. The primary draw back is it solely is available in one texture — a velvet cream matte — and every cartridge set prices a further $89. In the event you wished all 4, you’d find yourself spending over $600.

I’m additionally hesitant about how the Rouge Sur Mesure depends on cartridges. On the one hand, I’ve gone ham experimenting with all types of shades, and all my cartridges nonetheless have over 97 % left in them. On the opposite, if this gadget will get discontinued, I’ve simply spent a small fortune on a tool that I can’t use as soon as my final cartridges run out. It’s not dissimilar to when a make-up line discontinues a coloration however at a a lot greater value.

I don’t anticipate the typical particular person to go for the Rouge Sur Mesure. However one factor that struck me whereas utilizing it was how low-tech this high-tech expertise felt. A futuristic lipstick printer it might be, however it slotted so simply into my every day routine. It didn’t take any actual tech savvy to make use of as a result of all of the disparate components got here collectively in an intuitive means. This may be a tool that’s for first adopters, however it’s additionally half of a bigger push within the magnificence business to make use of know-how as a type of personalization.

The Rouge Sur Mesure would look good on an arrogance

Throughout Instagram, you’ll discover advertisements for skincare and haircare startups that declare to make use of tech to create merchandise which are customized formulated for you. It’s a hell of a promise — particularly when you think about how a lot cash goes down the drain discovering merchandise that be just right for you. I’ve tried a number of myself, however primarily based on my experiences, it nonetheless appears like early days. The Rouge Sur Mesure, nevertheless, appears like essentially the most tangible manifestation of that imaginative and prescient proper now. It’s not excellent, however it’s straightforward to ascertain a future the place you shell out for a make-up or skincare printer that depends on refillable cartridges. In actual fact, it’s already occurring as manufacturers go for extra eco-friendly packaging. That is simply the subsequent step in that evolution.

Images by Victoria Track / The Verge