After learning about the premise for challenge 4, our group was immediately struck by the beauty industry and the changing standard for beauty while in self-isolation due to COVID-19. We reached out to Rad, an engineer who designs personal and protective equipment for healthcare workers (she’s extremely busy at the moment!) while working as a cosmetologist on the side. We asked a lot of questions about her work as a cosmetologist and what inspired her to start performing beauty services as well as why she continues. Our interview was very insightful, and by the end we had three main takeaways that we were interested in focusing our design around; 1. That a lot of people are not wearing makeup or keeping up with beauty regimens that they would be normally, providing a unique opportunity for people to focus more on skincare; 2. That working as a cosmetologist provides Rad with a unique opportunity to share her knowledge with others and teach when possible, which is part of what makes her work so rewarding, and 3. There is a big cultural component of learning and sharing beauty. We thus tried to incorporate all of these main takeaways into our initial designs. 

We then presented our four favorite ideas to Rad in a follow-up interview. The first design was an app for uploading a picture of your own face and then experimenting with various beauty procedures, with the possibility to follow tutorials uploaded by professional cosmetologists. The second design was an app intended to connect people with cosmetologists (virtual appointments, basically) in order to get help with beauty procedures. The third design was a sharing and collaborative space for cosmetologists to post inspiration and develop trends in order to hit the ground running after quarantine was over. The fourth design was a skincare app in which users could specify which ingredients they had on hand, and they would then be provided with short, TikTok style tutorial videos for DIY skincare recipes. When we presented these ideas back to Rad, she was particularly excited about a few features. She really liked the idea of people being able to connect with cosmetologists, as this is a way for people to not only receive help, but also to keep beauty professionals at least partially in business. She was also a big fan of the skincare app and the TikTok style short tutorials. Thus, we decided to incorporate both of these ideas into one skincare app: Skin Share. 

In order to develop Skin Share, we first dedicated a significant portion of research on identifying precedents. We were particularly inspired by Sephora’s skin scanner and also their skincare questionnaires, as they are both thorough and revolutionize the way that people are able to find skincare products. However, these services are mainly used for identifying beauty products for people to purchase and not for DIY skincare. We were interested in incorporating a similar skincare survey in our app, however, for curating the DIY content that the user experiences. We also looked for apps that already existed for DIY at-home skincare and found that the best one is BeautyCraft, which has not only an outdated and unappealing interface, but also posts lengthy and hard-to-follow tutorials that are completely written out, with no visual aids. We then moved into traditional research, in which we identified what kinds of DIY methods and ingredients are popular for at-home skincare, finding several articles that provide common recipes and ingredients. Again, though, these articles involve reading long descriptions, checking to see if you have the ingredients listed, and then following written directions. We then conducted some benchmark research, wondering how we could fill in the gaps from already existing DIY skincare services. We noted that popular tutorial platforms are often video based, including IGTV and YouTube. However, one app that has become recently popular is TIkTok, partly due to the short video content available (the maximum video length is 1 minute) and the continuous stream of content. We established that by combining some of the best features and recipes from pre-existing skincare services and DIY platforms, such as Sephora and BeautyCraft with the engaging content style of TikTok, we could create a unique at-home skincare app that would not only be easy to actually use for making skincare products, but would also be inherently fun to engage in. 

Tik tok style tutorial video:

The concept of Skin Share is simple: every user of the app can contribute their own DIY recipes, and you can either view content that is curated specifically for you based on your skin type, goals, and ingredients on hand, or you can view general content from either everyone or from professional cosmetologists. You can also pay to connect with cosmetologists for individual or group consultations and more in-depth tutorials. Upon entering the app for the first time, it prompts the user to fill out a skin care questionnaire, which then provides curated content for the user on the “for you” page. Including this survey was particularly important, as many people have limited ingredients in their homes due to shortages from COVID-19. The user may also choose to “browse,” which includes content from all user of the app, or “trending,” which includes popular content from verified cosmetologists and professionals. Additionally, the user can add their own content, search for content, or connect with a professional for an individual consultation. The goal of Skin Share is to provide a fun and easy-to-use platform for DIY skincare recipes while also connecting professional cosmetologists to normal people looking to improve their skincare routine while in self-isolation. 

Skin Share prototype:

Skin Share draws on principles from all three of out previous challenges. In terms of attention, there is particular emphasis on sociopleasure, due to the sharing and teaching nature of the app, as well as physiopleasure, because the app focuses mainly on self care and taking care of your skin physically. Sociopleasure relates especially to Rad’s comments about the joys of being able to teach and share as a cosmetologist, as well as the cultural aspect of beauty and being able to share specific cultural processes and recipes. In terms of behavior, Skin Share draws on Cialdini’s principles of scarcity, as many people are experiencing shortages in money, time, and resources more generally, as well as authority, as both professionals and other people with successful recipes are allowed to share their content with others. It draws on Fogg’s principles as well, with increased motivation due to people being at home in self-isolation with no makeup or beauty regimen to keep up, as well as increased ability because the process for finding and conducting tutorials is as simple and enjoyable as possible. Lastly, Skin Share inspires others through admiration/skill, as they are able to see the beauty and ease of other people’s skin routines and recipes and copy these for themselves.   

Link to our presentation: