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How OPULUS Beauty Labs Won the Coveted Time Best Invention of the Year

The team at OPULUS Beauty Labs has done something few have achieved in the beauty industry. Twice. They’ve created an entirely new category. Founded by Dr. Robb Akridge, co-inventor of the game-changing Clarisonic, OPULUS Beauty Labs invented and manufactures the OPULUS Activator and Opoule Treatment system. This duo is a novel appliance and formulation that acts like a mini at-home lab for high-potency fresh-made formulas. TIME Magazine named its Retinol+ Starter System a Best Invention of 2021.

The passionate power team behind this innovation has 100+ collective years of experience, marrying the freedom and imagination of a tech start-up with the wisdom and credibility of the world’s most successful beauty brands. Greg Peterson, PhD, Chief Formulation Officer, Michelle Balmer, Chief Brand Officer, and Bill Bryant Chief Operating Officer, led by Dr. Robb, have fine tuned every step of creation, with several patents pending. From breakthrough industrial design to in-house production in Washington State, it all happens under one roof. 
“We realized a new, precise form factor that can help solve the ingredient stability challenges of conventional skin care,” says Dr. Robb. “We’ve rethought everything from packaging with minimal plastics to heighted customer experience to the concept of a forever fresh bottle. Now, we have an incredible opportunity to license or collaborate with other brands and extend our presence within at-home personal care technology, which is one of the fastest growing categories in beauty and self-care.”

“Our creative process always begins with What if?,” says Balmer. “What if we weren’t constrained, what if we looked outside the industry? We learn a lot through consumer research, but we also realize we’ve invented something that nobody has seen before.”

Among possible new product concepts are hair care, fragrance, and makeup, as well as clinical dermatology where the warmed, on-demand formulas can solve barriers to treatment such as compliance, precision dosing, ingredient freshness, and absorption. “OPULUS puts precise customization, high-potency formulas, and a world of different textures in the consumer’s hands,” says Peterson, who developed the Opoule Treatment technology. “The possibilities for future applications across the beauty industry and beyond can radically change how we think of formulating in the future.”

Central to the company's beliefs is out-of-the-bottle thinking, which is best represented in OPULUS Beauty Labs’ star innovation: the Opoule Treatment itself. This unique format, inspired by culinary science, houses an inner Core of active ingredients inside a protective outer Coat of absorption-enhancing fatty acids. Blended in the OPULUS Activator, an Opoule Treatment can become an infinite number of formulas that require little to no water and no added preservatives. 
The challenges of creating a never-before seen appliance also required Bryant’s precise expertise to tackle problems that had never been solved before. “Creating the Activator and Opoule Treatments concurrently has been an amazing process because of the precision needed to make the formulation and Activator work together,” says Bryant. “Each Activator is carefully calibrated to create the right temperatures at the right time, and the Opoule Treatments have to have the perfect ratio of filling to shell materials. It took several statistical analyses to figure out how to make it work with the shell variation. Without the magic of math, we could not have solved this challenge.”
With the OPULUS Activator appliance as a “forever bottle,” the consumer only needs steady replenishment of individual Opoule Treatment doses, all of which arrive in elegant recyclable paper packaging—no plastic. This mold-breaking subscription model delivers powerful results through only absolutely essential components that are delivered fresh. The possibilities are truly endless.

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