The Interview: How Renude is simplifying skincare with the help of AI
Renude is a science-backed skincare service that offers consumers advice through artificial intelligence and a team of aestheticians to create personalised skincare routines proven to achieve results.
The business was founded by cosmetic scientist and former Beauty Pie product development manager Pippa Harman, and data scientist Catherine Nisson.
In this interview with TheIndustry.beauty, Harman and Nisson speak about the artificial intelligence behind the service, the importance of personalised skincare advice, and why all brands are vetted by experts before joining Renude.
Having worked in the skincare industry for around 10 years before starting Renude, Harman found that friends and family would often ask her for advice on what they should use. She began making personalised skincare routines and soon found she couldn’t keep up with the demand. With this in mind, Harman began to research how technology could scale this type of personalised service when she met Nission at an event, who was also working on a similar proposition using her data background.
Offering their own unique strengths – Harman's knowledge of the skincare industry and Nisson's expertise in data and artificial intelligence - the duo teamed up to create a personalised skincare platform to help consumers better understand what products are suitable for their skin.
In a recent study, Renude found that on average individuals spend nine working days per year researching skincare before making their purchases, but 62% of the products bought are not even suitable for their skin.
The same average person is also spending on average £617 annually on products that often don’t get finished or leave them with skin worse off than before - with still no better understanding of what they should have used or how to soothe their reaction.
"The ultimate result of the trial and error cycle that consumers often experience is not only wasted time and money, but also exacerbating the problems they might be having with their skin. So, we are really trying to simplify skincare for people - providing the right results without any of the stress, time or money wasted," explains Harman.
To achieve this, Renude uses artificial intelligence to create a personalised skincare experience to help consumers identify what products they should be using.
Renude’s award-winning AI technology is the work of Nisson, whose background in data science has allowed for a new piece of technology for expert-led skincare.
Nisson and her team have built the AI from over two million data points, helping to simplify shopping for skincare by building personalised routines for customers based on a visual assessment of their skin, that also evolves with skin as it changes.
As part of this, each customer will answer a questionnaire and upload three photographs of their face to build a skin profile. Working across 21 different skin concerns, the technology will then evaluate the severity of an issue and identify any key concerns to generate a step-by-step plan from the data provided.
The data informs the brand's machine learning recommendations, which is also trained by Renude's experts who receive "first drafts" from the AI to revise if needed. "By using the recommendations collected and informed criteria from our team of experts, that's how we've built our AI," shares Nisson.
"We also have lots of data around ingredients. We've designed our AI recommendation system to work based on this and through an understanding of how a formulation can meet a specific person's needs. It is also designed to create routines on a full step-by-step level, with products or ingredients chosen based on how they work together."
In addition to Renude's AI-driven recommendations, the business also offers video consultations with its team of experts. "We mostly recommend this for people who have are working on a very specific goal - someone who might have a lot of questions or is seeking particular advice," adds Nisson.
To strengthen the efficacy of the platform, every product Renude recommends is expert vetted based on high-performing ingredients and clinical data. It only recommends products that are industry leaders for their proven formulations and stellar reviews.
The brand currently offers 28 skincare brands for all budgets and skin types, including Avene, CeraVe, Medik8, Paula's Choice, The Inkey List and The Ordinary, among others.
"We want to ensure our customers are getting the best results. To do this, we first assess at a brand level. We might look at brands using market leading technologies, those that have won some awards, or are doing something at a price point that's typically not been done before. For example, some of the more affordable brands are providing technologies that have been previously limited to higher-end brands," explains Harman.
"We then select individual products from a brand. Generally, brands aren't usually amazing at everything. So, we look at their specialisms and assess the products to see if they're proven, have great reviews and could benefit our customers."
Following this, the skincare is then tested and won't be brought onto the platform unless it has received three approvals from Renude's team of experts. "This whole process allows us to feel confident that the skincare will work for our customers - offering them the best products from the best brands," says Harman.
With Renude on a mission to simplify skincare for consumers, Nisson eagerly highlights the positive feedback they have received since starting the business.
"We're proud that 94% of our customers have reported an improvement in one or more of their skin goals after 12 weeks. So, we're very happy that we've proven our method can achieve results. Our customers also enjoy the simplicity of the process. It makes buying skincare so much easier, especially for mums, busy professionals or people that just don't have time to constantly research products," highlights Nisson.
"The affordability of our service is also attractive to consumers. We're allowing people that typically can't go to a clinic or speak to an aesthetician access to that experience and level of knowledge," adds Harman.
Looking ahead, having only launched in 2020, Nisson and Harman are enthusiastic about the future of Renude. "We want to change the way people shop for skincare, empowering consumers to make smarter purchasing decisions whilst making sure this expert advice is accessible to all," emphasises Harman.
"It's also such an interesting time for AI right now. There's are some activations that have happened, but I often think these can be a bit gimmicky or not useful. I'd really like to see that change and would like us to lead this in the skincare space. For us, it's all about making the experience for customers better and brining trust back to the beauty industry with the help of AI," finishes Nisson.