We gave Opte’s latest 3D printing device a go

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You get up, have a cup of coffee, and then head to the toilet to prepare for the day. Prior to applying your makeup, you must finish your skincare regimen, which entails applying each layer of serum, moisturizer, and SPF with great care. You select a portable 3D printer instead of a bottle of foundation and a cosmetic sponge. Now, this may seem completely insane, but I’m telling you it’s real: It’s called Opte, and it is the most wondrous thing you’ve ever seen.

We gave Opte's latest 3D printing device a go
We gave Opte’s latest 3D printing device a go

The Opte Precision System, which was released late last year, is a real first-of-its-kind beauty invention. The “Skincare and Makeup Hybrid Device” is essentially a small inkjet printer that scans the skin to hide after inflammatory hyperpigmentation, age spots,and sunspots by depositing the right pigmented serum. Opte, a P&G Ventures product, was under development for 13 years and consumed half a million hours of research and development, during which time the project’s engineers supposedly conferred with the chief of camouflage for the Department of Defense. So, this is more than your typical beauty gadget. It’s rather costly, so it begs the question: is it really worth it?

To get a more detailed idea of the technology behind the gadget, we chatted with Opte’s co-creator and CEO Matt Petersen to find out more about how it works, who it’s for, and the many benefits it offers. For more proof, we performed the experiment on our own. The Opte Precision System review is here, with before and after photographs.

How is the Opte Device working?

If you have ever suffered discoloration or other hyperpigmentation problems, you know how challenging it can be to hide and fix them. Well, how is the Opte gadget able to accomplish this? “Opte is a portable inkjet serum printer that digitally scans the skin and analyzes complexions in order to fade sun spots and make complexions appear more uniform,” explains Petersen. Opte uses a blue LED light to detect areas darker than your natural skin tone to adjust the device’s settings. With a 200 fps digital camera that uses a proprietary algorithm to identify tonal defects imperceptible to the human eye, the camera records 200 frames per second and then analyzes each image.

The Opte, after scanning the skin for discoloration, utilizes input from the algorithm to produce the ideal match with its Spot Optimizing Serum. It does this by using a tiny droplet printing method to apply the product directly to the pigmented region. Opte is different from the foundation since it can only deposit pigment on the dark areas no larger than a dime, so it won’t blanket skin with any discoloration. This gadget, according to Petersen, can cover your face with 97% less product, leaving your skin appearing natural and beautiful. Applying your normal face serum is about equivalent to the time and effort required to go through the entire application process.

How good are the results you’ll see?

First of all, it’s important to understand that the Opte is not a product for everyone. Those who want a complete coverage foundation or are treating a wide range of hyperpigmentation issues won’t be satisfied with the rather bare covering of the device. Petersen asserts that if you have hyperpigmentation, Opte is a 100% answer for you. However, you may want to reconsider if you’re interested in the product because it may not be the ideal choice for dealing with issues like acne or redness caused by rosacea. The Opte website is aware of this issue, and that’s why we’ve established a dedicated page to assist you to decide if the device is right for you.

Makeup fans? Petersen adds, “If you want to use highlighters and contouring while you explore, then Opte definitely isn’t for you.” But if you have noticeable hyperpigmentation or sunspots that concern you, and you are seeking a remedy to minimize them while retaining a natural appearance, it’s here.

While all that may be true, if you like the look of a lightweight tinted moisturizer or even bare skin, you’ll be happy to know that there are options. Opte feels weightless and blends smoothly, making your skin seem brighter and more even while still appearing completely naked. It covers just the dark places you want to be covered while letting your natural radiance show through, making your skin seem more like your skin, but better. It’s like a little portable version of Photoshop, but easier to use.

Nor is it only perfect coverage for cosmetics that the machine can deliver. In the same way that a real serum rejuvenates your skin, the Opte Skin Optimizing Serum has a wide range of chemicals that make the skin seem better each time you use it so that over time, you will have fewer dark spots and sunspots. According to Petersen, “At its essence, Opte is more skincare than cosmetics.” Opte also has niacinamide, which works to minimize the appearance of hyperpigmentation and disguise the discoloration instantly. By focusing exclusively on the areas of the face that have hyperpigmentation, Opte uses precision skincare, making it an effective daily skincare treatment that helps eliminate sunspots.

Additionally, the colored serum has a pH balancer (sodium hydroxide) and humectant (propylene glycol) to balance skin hydration and moisture retention. The outcome is a softer, smoother, and more even complexion that radiates without any effort, and you’ve got to admit, it’s something everyone wants, right?

Is It Effective on Every Skin Tone?

And when it comes to who can utilize the Opte gadget, the answer is everyone. As Petersen points out, it’s not about matching your skin tone but addressing the discoloration that might occur with hyperpigmentation. The lighter of the two shades is practically white, while the darker one is similar to a light brown. Despite the fact that most of the treatment is applied to the dark area, the treatment device makes it look like the spot is a natural part of the skin with its special combination of visual balance.

As noted by Petersen, the tendency in foundations and concealers is to provide a wide variety of hues to be as inclusive as possible, but because Opte is attempting to disguise hyperpigmented areas instead of color-matching, the serum’s three colors work on 98% of all skin tones. Also, our faces each have hundreds of distinct pigment colors, yet we still apply a single foundation color to match all of them. Because Opte deposits serum solely on the places that are needed, the rest of your face may display its natural glow. Therefore, in the case of Opte, less truly is more.

This gadget may be used on any skin color, and it works on different body parts. Petersen explains that using Opte, you may cover up the neck and chest regions with freckles, dark spots, and melasma without worrying about makeup rubbing off on your clothes or other people because of its silicone-based formulation. The Opte eliminates the fear associated with injecting because the serum cannot be transferred, regardless of whether it is put on your chest or your face.

My views on the product

As a beauty journalist, I’ve tried several high-tech skincare gadgets over the years, and Opte is truly unlike anything I’ve used before. I saw myself stepping into a genuine scientific lab, the kind that I had only seen in movies—an equal measure of wonder and fear. (After all, I’m a beauty editor, not a scientist.) Petersen also took the time to demonstrate the operation of the gadget, and he had me plan a time to follow up with him for personal instruction.

He admits to me that the gadget has a steep learning curve because it is unlike anything else currently on the market. The overall trend with skincare products is to apply firm pressure, but Opte tricks people into thinking it’s ticklish. Also, like a paintbrush, the action should be straight, slow, soft, and smooth. You should also be sure to follow the four S’s—straight, slow, soft, and sweep. Additionally, it is occasionally advisable to choose a little sunspot on your hand and treat it before anything else. Next, go to the face. Once you learn how to use Opte, you may expect application times to be about five minutes.

After picking up the pieces of advice that I needed, I was ready to get my gadget up and running. Once I charged the Opte and put the vial of serum into it, I was ready to get started. The procedure sounds like an old IBM computer reading a floppy disk (am I becoming old?) Because I didn’t believe I had any significant sun damage or noticeable discoloration, I wasn’t certain if the Opte gadget would work on my skin at all. I was spared from wondering for long, thankfully. Every time the gadget traveled over a dark region, it clicked. It should be clear that the click is a gadget’s response to seeing discoloration in the skin, which is how you know the device is operating.

Despite my complexion never having been perfect or entirely blemish-free, I’ve never considered it to be particularly afflicted by hyperpigmentation or dark patches. While I had a few scattered dark spots on my face, the Opte immediately revealed that they were not my only sunspots. Despite being a bit unnerved, I was nevertheless rather impressed by the clicking sounds that came from each stroke of the gadget. I was surprised to find out that it could pick up on skin blemishes I didn’t even realize I had.

I’ll admit, the results are subtle at first. Other than the apparent black patches, which were lighter and almost nonexistent, my skin appeared almost the same. After moving over to my computer and seeing my image in the mirror above my desk, I saw that the Opte gadget had dramatically changed my face. In the dim glow of the room, I observed that my skin tone was even, maybe even a touch brighter. Though my usual dark circles and bumpy skin texture remained, I felt as though my complexion was better. I had a red stain on my cheek from a breakout I had suffered months before, and the obstinate spot had just vanished—a job that usually requires two applications of heavy-duty concealer.

The advantages improved further yet. Compared to my regular base, the skin optimizing serum didn’t dry out or cake up over the course of the day, and it didn’t pill or settle into the small wrinkles near my mouth, which is something I’ve found to be an issue with even the lightest of makeup products. The only thing I could feel was my skin, but I was pleased to discover that it appeared more uniform than normal.

Is It Worth the Cost?

In the end, what’s the verdict on the Opte device’s $600 price tag? It varies. Petersen warned against this gadget since it was definitely not for everyone. If you’re searching for a gadget that will deliver an extreme “a-ha” moment, you may not want to consider this. If you have acne scars, sun spots, or age spots and prefer not to apply loads of makeup or wear heavy foundation, the Opte is a wonderful option. The $129 refills of the Complexion Optimizing Serum may sound like a lot, but it’s nothing compared to the amount you spend on cosmetics and skincare already. Plus, you get to use the Opte, which also helps your skin. I can’t wait to master my technique with Opte and get rid of my foundation once and for all.