The beauty business is turning to augmented reality

Beauty brands are hiring — or buying — tech companies that allow customers to virtually try on makeup, hair, and skincare products.

Why is this important: With COVID driving people away from cosmetic counters, the latest in “beauty tech” is the VTO – or virtual try-on. Customers enjoy playing with these apps so much that companies see their revenue increase after introducing them.

Driving the news: Hair, skin, and makeup companies used to focus on acquiring smaller cult brands, but now they’re also looking to AI and AR companies that can help them develop personalized customer experiences.

  • L’Oréal led the charge, buying AR specialist ModiFace in 2018 and using its patents “to create a number of virtual try-on tools that consumers can experience with several of their brands,” reports Vogue Business.
  • L’Oréal has its own technology incubator with a team of more than 30 physicists, engineers, UX specialists, hardware designers and data scientists.
  • The beauty conglomerate is using AI to let people create custom lip colors, chat with a professional colorist via live video before buying at-home hair dye, and try on makeup shades in one app virtual mirror called Makeup Genius.

What they say : “People don’t necessarily want to go to a store to try stuff on before they buy it,” David Ripert, CEO of Poplar Studio, told, a digital magazine.

  • Her company created an AR campaign for a Maybelline lip gloss and one for NYX Professional Makeup that used an AR face filter to let people try on Halloween looks on Instagram and Snapchat.

Between the lines: With VTO, beauty companies are able to transform the retail experience into a form of entertainment, which increases sales.

  • Yesterday’s high-pressure sales pitch at a department store counter has turned into a digital home game where shoppers can feel like they’re at a sleepover trying different things” look”.
  • “We’re seeing at least 38% of those who take our color quiz, then explore our hair colors using our virtual AR try-on tool, convert to purchase,” said Tyler Wozny, senior vice president of hair color company Madison Reed. .
  • Perfect Corp., the AI ​​and AR provider that built Madison Reed’s VTO platform, came to the big tech show CES last week in Las Vegas to show how brands could use its technology in the metaverse.

The bottom line: With virtual try-on technology quickly becoming table stakes for beauty brands, there’s no substitute for sampling a product in the flesh, where it can look very different on your non-virtual skin.

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