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Here's What Happens Inside Sephora's Super-Secret, Mission Bay Lab

The beauty brand is the latest to open a tech-centered office in SF

Sephora Innovation Lab
Sephora Innovation Lab

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There's another innovation lab on the scene, and this one is focused on retail tech tactics for beauty giant Sephora. Recently opened in Mission Bay, it's more in the style of Levi's than Target's or Walmart's, although all appear to some way link the online shopping experience with the offline. Bridget Dolan, the new VP of Sephora's Innovation Lab, tells Fast Company that her team will work to "envision the future of retail for Sephora."

Bridget also reveals the four digital programs underway (or soon to be) at the lab. The first is the Pocket Contour product for teaching customers how to add shape and angles to the face using make up. An app will allow for the tutorial to appear on the user's own uploaded selfie. The second is a smart display that showcases beauty brand founders, their founder stories, and their makeup tutorials.

The third is a Sephora to Go mobile app that links to Beacons in stores. This will provide users with special promotions once they step inside, along with personal shopping information like current Beauty Insider point status. And the fourth is Flash, an online buying program with Amazon Prime-esque shipping options for an annual $10 fee (but free for the VIB Rogue members who spend $1,000 or more per year at Sephora). The former two are the current priorities, Bridget explains, while the latter two are long term projects.

It's an exciting move for the beauty brand that rocketed to success with its initial innovation of the cosmetics industry in the late '90s. So look for the fruits of the Innovation Lab's labors in a Sephora store near you. There's no launch date set, but we'd be surprised to not see at least the Pocket Contour by the year's end (and while the makeup trend stays hot).