Seven augmented reality apps changing the beauty category
Augmented reality (AR) is no longer just a wonder of the gaming world. The beauty world has rapidly adopted digital technology to offering consumers a new way to experiment and express their style.
The pairing of AR and beauty brands is optimal as beauty is already so intertwined with digital media. Hashtags like #makeup have over 102 million impressions on Instagram, and there are over 6 million makeup tutorial videos on YouTube. Many of us are seen by more people online than offline, and how we’re perceived there may even be more important to us – and consequential for our careers and relationships – than how we’re seen in real life.
One example of this fusion between beauty and augmented reality is London based nail salon WAH NAILS. Created by Sharmadean Reid Kim Boutin, WAH NAILS uses a Samsung Gear headset with Leap Motion technology to track hands and mimic the user’s movement.
The technology allows customers to design and try on nail colors, patterns, shapes, sizes and designs before committing to them. The design possibilities are infinite as the user is given complete creative liberty. Think of it as a Snapchat filter for your nails.
Similarly, Sally Hansen’s Mini Match app gives customers the chance to test out up to 300 shades of the brand's nail polish.
Big name brands are embracing the trend too. L’Oreal teamed up with Image Metrics to develop an AR app called Makeup Genius. Makeup Genius allows users to apply makeup virtually before committing to a product, essentially acting as a mirror.
L’Oreal goes a step further by allowing users to post their results on social media. L’Oreal’s Global President Cyril Chapuy says the app “will allow us to explore new possibilities and connect more than ever with consumers and offer them an easy, personalized and truly useful beauty e-routine.”
Several other beauty brands have experimented with AR worldwide. Like Makeup Genius, Korean brand Laneige’s Beauty Mirror is a makeup simulator that enables people to test their products online using the smartphone screen in real-time, as if looking into a mirror. Sephora developed a Virtual Artist feature that allows users to test lip products and make purchases directly through the app. And Covergirl’s Beauty U similarly allows you to try makeup on virtually, but also scans your face for its shape, features and skin tone and makes recommendations unique to you.
Designed to support women working remotely, Shiseido’s TeleBeauty automatically calibrates skin tone and applies digital makeup during video-conferencing. This technology has been developed based on insights that showed women are often annoyed about having to apply makeup when working from home.
Mobile users are becoming more and more comfortable with facial recognition features thanks to the popular Snapchat filters, and this has influenced augmented reality’s growing role in beauty.
Personalization is very important to millennials who grew up at a time when diversity and difference have been embraced more than ever before. In an era when self-expression is key, these technologies give people the ability to develop their own style and share it with others.
- Article by Orlaith McGuinness