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  • Writer's pictureHeather Petrone

How AR Is Making the Beauty Industry Stronger

I’m sure by now everyone knows how popular Snapchat is for its fun augmented reality features such as face swap. I couldn’t believe what my face looked like when swapped with my ex - it was absolutely horrifying. On the flip side, some filters allow you to look years younger with its skin smoothing features and even puts make up on you. Little did I know at the time what this would mean for the beauty industry. To have the ability to augment a consumer’s face is huge. More and more we’re seeing apps available for download that allow you to experience beauty through Augmented Reality. Consumers can pretty much “try on” their favorite lashes, make up, hair and nail color, and this gives them more certainty when they’re buying products online. L’oreal has an AI entity, Modiface, which allows you to test out a ton of beauty products before buying them. Modiface first partnered with Facebook and then later with Amazon to launch an application which allows you to upload a photo of yourself to try on products virtually. If a product is available with AR technology, you’ll see the words “try now” under the product photo on the Amazon site. The results have been fantastic according to L’oreal. Consumers who find this feature stay on the site much longer than those products without it. Although for now, lipsticks are the most popular item for try-on virtual technology, Modiface plans to roll out eyeshadows and eventually foundation which will be much harder apparently, but the company says, “they’re working on it.” I played with one application Modiface did for Redken and it worked well for the most part. I have dark hair, so lighter blonde colors did not augment well. If you want to give it a shot, click this link: I did find that I spent a lot of time on the site playing around and I even gave up a little of my personal info on the site, so that was a win for Redken.

AR technology isn’t just limited to helping brands win over customers online, however. You can even find AR technology at the store-level as well. In 2014, Sephora launched the first ever Modiface AR mirror in its Milan store. Through using the mirror, shoppers are able to try out different shades of products by tapping a palette on the screen and also view eye shadows from different angles as they move their heads from side to side. The Modiface AR software works with most popular smart mirrors, so brands can choose whatever hardware they want to accompany the Modiface software. Many brands are currently now phasing out shade chips. Will in-store AR mirrors possibly take their place? I’d think so. Shade charts will most likely still be available but to have a smart mirror accompany a beauty fixture is just brilliant. Consumers can conveniently and instantly see which lip shade works best for their skin tone, and Modiface has already partnered with Walmart to launch a Garnier hair-coloring personalization tools in their stores. It doesn’t stop at hair color either. Nail shade personalization tools are also on the scene to help buyers find the perfect color to match skin tone.

And for customers who maybe don’t have good judgement for skin tone or other beauty related topics, more help may be required. That’s why brands are now using sophisticated artificial intelligence chatbots that can make suggestions to customers looking for beauty advice and/or skin care routines. If you find yourself on an app or website, and not sure what color looks good with your skin tone, for instance, these chatbots will asks a number of questions and make suggestions based your answers.

All in all, it looks like AR won’t be going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s only going to evolve into stronger and better technology making the cosmetics industry that much stronger and better. Cosmetics is anticipated to be worth $806 billion by 2023, and it’s said this is driven in part by spending on AI at retail. We can’t wait to see AI like Modiface spread like wild fire online and in store.

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