Meditation #1: Electronic skincare routine


alt text I worked with Lin Zhang on this project. Our concept started with thinking about skincare as a ritual.


Strident skincare practicers spend a lot of time researching new products, a lot of money purchasing these products (most of which are expensive to luxury priced), and then large sections of time everyday using the products itself. With the popularization of the Korean 10 step skincare routine, people may spend over an hour every morning and every night treating their skin. My friend spends at least 2 hours getting ready for her day and ending her day with a multiple step skincare routine and never skips a day. We found this important as users chose to start their day and end their day with this routine. It’s also important that there are multiple steps; the order in which the products are used matters.

However, what makes skincare a ritual is the self care and emotional aspect. Products are advertised loaded with buzzwords such as “hydrating treatment made with pure honey for a unique texture that instantly melts into the skin, delivering 6 hours of supreme nourishment while improving elasticity” for a face mask. But who knows if those advertised effects are actually happening to that degree after use? From personal experience, I may notice slight differences after using a product (my face is more moisturized after using a sheet mask) but the specific advertised effects for that mask were not realized (pore cleaning and shrinking). But I still continue to use facemasks since I enjoy the 40 minutes I spend decompressing with it on. I feel like I’m taking care of myself by doing this and I know the difference after I have, even if others don’t.

We were also inspired by Glossier and this article about the brand in reallifemag. This article states that Glossier is a brand that exists in images. When you use the product, you recall all the instagram posts of naturally beautiful girls and aesthetic product shots you have seen. There is also an online sharing and community aspect to skincare; though largely coopted by advertising, users share with other users new products and routines to try. Throughout the internet, you often see “drop your skincare routine!!”. Skincare is a ritual because the steps and components are largely the same throughout all its users.

“The feature is not the product itself, which promises not to do too much, but the experience of interacting with makeup: the process of its application, the feeling of having applied it, the understanding of the difference between before and after”

If the product is the experience of interacting with the product and not the skincare itself, why not create a completely ‘digital’ skincare brand? So, our concept for an electronic ritual is an electronic skincare routine. We created a product that is not actually skincare but follows the basic tenents of skincare as a ritual: starting and ending day, steps matter, emotional aspect, community.

We created 3 objects and a website to explain this electronic ritual.

Shinier website

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Project Documentation

The product is based on lighttherapy skincare products such as this Neutrogena light therapy mask. We programed ATtiny85s to create a pulsing led and connected a switch.

Breadboarding alt text

Soldered on perf board alt text

The enclosure is a glass jar that was spray painted frosted and a lid that was spray painted white. alt text alt text alt text

Video showing light pulsing

Written on February 8, 2018