How YSL Wants to Color Coordinate Your Lipstick 2021


Key Takeaways

YSL's Rouge Sur Mesure is currently only available to beta testers—for $299.Replaceable cartridges let you swap color groups.The Rouge Sur Mesure app will analyze your outfit to mix a matching color. Perso

This is the Yves Saint Laurent Beauté Rouge Sur Mesure Powered by Perso. What? It's a Bluetooth-enabled, app-powered lipstick that can mix any shade you'd like. Well, not any shade, but any red/brown/pinkish lipstick-type shade.

YSL's lipstick machine connects with an app, which lets you select a color. You can either dial it in using a color wheel, match a color from any photo, or add a selfie, in which case the app can analyze your outfit and pick a color to match. But who will use this?

"It's expensive for individuals, and professional makeup artists already mix their own colors by eye, from a palette," professional fashion stylist Nuria Gregori told Ach5 in an interview. "And the big companies already make a huge range of colors available."

Beta Tester

Well, if you do want to try the Rouge Sur Mesure, you'll need to sign up for the beta, and also pay $299. That seems like a pretty bad way to test things. On the other hand, it's more likely that this is just a way to grab some quick cash. Still, the blurb says that participants "will receive a gift of two free cartridge sets of their choice (value of $180 USD)," which at least gives us an idea of the cost of refills.

"Cosmetics companies don't just play with color. Now it's also about playing with texture."

Cost aside, mixing your own lipstick like this could be a good idea. It would certainly avoid the jumble of old lipsticks at the bottom of your bag, complete with colors that you love, but will never use again. Being able to dial up small doses of a color is not only less wasteful, but could end up cheaper in the end, if you really do have an expensive habit.

Managing YSL's Rouge Sur Mesure

The device is loaded with a three-color cartridge set. There are four such sets: reds, nudes, oranges, and pinks. If it ever goes beyond the weird beta phase and becomes a product, then perhaps you'll be able to buy expanded color ranges. The colors are dispensed into a small compact on top of the unit, to be mixed and applied with a brush. This compact detaches, so you can leave the machine, itself, at home.


One positive aspect is that the colors are all in their own individual cylinders, so, theoretically, they could be replaced separately, rather than replacing a whole set just because one color runs out. If we've learned anything from the printer industry, though, it's that this is an unlikely business model.

"Cosmetics companies don't just play with color. Now it's also about playing with texture. You might want something glossy, or totally matte, something you can wear at work all day, or that's very nourishing for the lips," says Gregori.

"It's expensive for individuals, and professional makeup artists already mix their own colors by eye, from a palette."

The Rouge Sur Mesure isn't the only beauty-related gadget at CES, but it might be the most interesting. The Lumini PM, for example, is a smart mirror that analyses your skin and suggests skincare products and cosmetics, which sounds like a marketer's dream. The Rouge Sur Mesure, on the other hand, could be a genuinely useful gadget, albeit an expensive one.

Thankfully, we've come a long way since the days when "gadgets for women" meant releasing a pink version of the worst product in the lineup. These days, much more consumer tech is neutral, designed to fit into a home rather than marketed at men or women by color. One note to gadget makers, though: you don't need to put blue LEDs into everything you make. Just saying.

Want more? See all our coverage of CES 2021 right here.