The future of beauty is inclusive: L’Oreal unveils make-up tech for people with limited mobility

Will tech change beauty for the better? We get Kidz Board Chair Penelope Harrison’s take on the cosmetic industry’s latest moves

Beauty giant L’Oréal won an innovation award at tech expo CES 2023 with a new smart make-up applicator that allows people with limited hand and arm mobility to apply make-up precisely.

HAPTA is a sleek handheld device that uses real-time sensors and smart motion controls to keep the lipstick upright at whatever angle it is held. Swivelling through 360 degrees, magnetic attachments give an improved range of motion and tackle the problem of difficult-to-open packaging, enabling users to put lipstick on steadily at home.

L’Oréal says the new device is aimed at the estimated 50 million people globally with limited fine motor skills, including those with cerebral palsy. This can make applying makeup challenging.

“For L’Oréal, the future of beauty is inclusive. And this future will be made more accessible by technology,” said Nicolas Hieronimus, CEO of the L’Oréal Groupe.

HAPTA incorporates technology created by Google sister company Verily for Liftware, a range of robotic spoons and forks that help people with limited mobility eat. It will debut this year with a L’Oréal brand Lancôme lipstick applicator, followed by additional makeup applications in the future, including mascara and foundation.

“Inclusivity is at the heart of our innovation and beauty tech strategy,” said Barbara Lavernos, Deputy CEO in charge of Research, Innovation and Technology at L’Oréal. “We are dedicated and passionate to bring new technologies powering beauty services that augment and reach every individual’s ultimate desires, expectations, and unmet needs.”

L’Oréal also introduced Brow Magic, an assistive smart eyebrow makeup applicator that applies precise brow shapes at home in seconds based on face scans from an accompanying app.

Is beauty’s future an accessible one?

The move is part of the cosmetic industry’s efforts to develop products for people with disabilities. With one billion people experiencing some form of disability, this largely untapped market is thought to be worth £990 billion. So far, the focus has been on creating ergonomic products, like make-up brushes that are easy to hold and cosmetics that are easier to open. L’Oreal’s new beauty tech could revolutionise the sector.

Feeling at home in one’s skin is paramount when the society you live in interprets you being beautiful as absurd. 


We wanted to get a young wheelchair user’s perspective on new technology's potential to make beauty products more accessible. Kidz Board Chair and beauty fan Penelope Harrison (above) welcomed the news but had some reservations.

“Seeing the announcements on Instagram, two lines of thought began to take shape,” she said. “The first was a wave of joyful giddiness; I was gleeful that companies have finally begun to take note that inclusivity and tokenism are two different things. Inclusivity is equity - and the campaign’s focus highlighted that. 

“Underneath this lay a steady undercurrent of trepidation because, where the intersection of beauty and disability is concerned, any progress made stagnates soon after,” she added. 

Feeling at home in one’s skin is paramount when the society you live in interprets you being beautiful as absurd. 

 “Though poorly designed packaging and cluttered storefronts remain, these innovations lay solid foundations. Those with power are finally inviting us to share in its use, to create our own power in exploring facets typically blocked from us.

"Beauty is moving closer to truly being in the eyes of its beholder.”

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