Decoding DNA Kits

Here’s what you need to know about DNA kits–and how they can help you recommend the right products for your clients’ needs.

It's official; DNA kits have infiltrated the beauty industry. And while it may sound sci-fi, DNA testing is actually very simple and practical. As with ancestry tests, the user collects a sample of saliva or hair and mails it to a lab. The testing company analyzes the sample with an algorithm that searches for specific traits and generates information about the user’s skin, hair and nutrition. The user then can log in to see test results and show those results to staff at a beauty store to receive recommendations. These kits generally cost less than $200, and consumers typically purchase them directly online rather than from brick-and-mortar beauty stores.

Beauty DNA kit brands such as Orig3n and Nutrafol provide consumers with intel on how their skin and hair will react to various conditions and stressors, including information about hair graying and exposure to UVA/UVB rays. Some of these brands also have extensive databases because they've partnered with companies like 23andMe and Ancestry, so that users subscribed to those services do not need to resubmit an addition DNA sample.

Kate Blanchard, COO at Orig3n, says, “Test results tell someone if their skin is oily or dry, if someone is more likely to wrinkle or if someone will experience hair loss or go gray early. This information will help users determine the best approach to their beauty regimes and guide them in taking preventative steps, if necessary.”

Again, this is accomplished through an algorithm that turns raw genomic data into legible information based on distinctive characteristics in the user’s DNA. The DNA kit works by screening for multiple genes in order to provide users with the most specific information possible about their features.

“DNA test results can help beauty store owners personalize a beauty routine for their customers based on the test results, if their customers are willing to share.”

–Kate Blanchard, COO, Orig3n

There are practical applications for DNA kits in the beauty industry, especially as a means to connect consumers with the products that best fit their individual needs. Beauty store owners looking to enter the DNA market should think of beauty DNA kits as guideposts for consumers. The kits arm clients with knowledge of their genetic traits and an idea of what their regimen might lack. But it’s up to you as an expert voice to ground this information in reality and help them do something with it. This is your opportunity to make customized product recommendations, translating genetic beauty data into the right in-store purchase.

Orig3n DNA test

“DNA test results can help beauty store owners personalize a beauty routine for their customers based on the test results, if their customers are willing to share,” Blanchard notes. “This helps their clients choose products that will work for them and reduces costly trial and error when looking for products.”

If you are looking to carry beauty DNA kits in your store, research what kind of kit to buy–what does the service screen for and how does it do this? Some kits achieve higher levels of specificity than others because they utilize more robust databases or more specialized algorithms. Also consider which kit best aligns with the products you carry, or if one kit better matches client concerns–graying versus dry skin, for instance.

Ultimately, whether you carry a beauty kit or just help customers decipher them, you’re preparing yourself for beauty into 2020 because artificial intelligence and DNA-based personalization are on the rise. DNA kits complete a holistic picture of personalized beauty, as genes are the building blocks of our individuality. “The future of DNA testing is very bright,” Blanchard says. “It helps people discover things they never knew about themselves, confirm things they’ve always suspected and better understand the links between their genes and how their bodies work.”

[Photo by monsitj/gettyimages.com]