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Fairest of Them All: Meitu and Alibaba Drop Competing Skincare AI

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Both Meitu (美图) — the app that made millions of human faces poreless, pale and impossibly perfect — and e-commerce platform Alibaba have now dipped a toe into “beauty 2.0.”

The former just launched the MeituKey Skin Analyzer, an AI-powered device that evaluates users’ skin, gives them personalized skincare recommendations, and — despite appearances — seemingly has nothing to do with making contact with alien life forms.

The MeituKey Skin Analyzer

Also not included: mind control, mind reading, powering the jump to hyperspace, or opening the pod bay doors. The 998 RMB, egg-shaped device is (sadly) only capable of detecting skin-related problems and making personalized recommendations, at least according to Meitu.

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Meanwhile, Alibaba has teamed up with L’Oréal for a similar app that utilizes AI to give personalized treatments for acne. (The app’s name, “Effaclar Spotscan,” is at least deserving of an expensive film franchise.) A spokesperson from L’Oréal is quoted as saying the brand used over 6,000 customer photos to train the technology, which analyzes “selfies” to determine acne types. The app will be launched on Alibaba-owned e-commerce platforms Tmall and Taobao in China next month before being rolled out globally.

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Both companies claim that the opportunity to use AI in skincare arises from a question of access. Effective skincare depends largely on personalized recommendations — which would normally come from a dermatologist or a high-end makeup counter — and China has a shortage of these services for its sizeable population.

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All images: Meitu

Mayura Jain
    Mayura Jain is a Shanghai-based writer, editor, illustrator and designer originally from Los Angeles. Before joining RADII as Life Editor, she worked for City Weekend Shanghai and Sixth Tone as both an editor and graphic designer. In her spare time she frequents art exhibitions, fosters cats, and chows on unhealthy vegetarian food.

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