Last year AR App Pokemon Go set the world into an gaming frenzy– but, what are the other applications for AR, and how has it become a buzzword in the beauty world? Tech corporations and beauty brands alike have realised that AR can add a more interactive element to the beauty buying and browsing experience, both at home and in-store, and have responded with successful apps that replicate the look of a fully ‘made-up’ face and smart mirrors that can help to improve our beauty routines. So, what are today’s biggest AR trends in the world of beauty tech, and what can we expect to see more of in the future?
Augmented Reality: Today’s Beauty Trends
The company at the forefront of the beauty industry’s AR movement is Modiface, whose technology is the basis of over 150 apps – many under the Modiface name, and others created for over 70 global brands, such as Vichy, Marie Claire and CoverGirl. It specialises in allowing users to virtually, and realistically, try out different brands and shades of cosmetics without putting the real thing anywhere near their faces – perfect, for a market where mobile shopping makes up for over 50% of online sales.
Modiface has arguably gained much popularity due to its ongoing partnership with US beauty retail giant Sephora, whose implementation of Modiface technology – both through its apps and in-store ‘magic’ mirrors – has captivated consumers, taking the beauty buying experience to a new level. Furthermore, Modiface has even branched out to blend the worlds of AR and AI (artificial intelligence); last summer, it launched a Modiface bot for Facebook Messenger, allowing users to ‘try on’ products in-app, by taking AR-enhanced pictures, and chat to an AI beauty advisor with “expert knowledge of over 5000 beauty products.”
L’Oreal has seen success with its Make-Up Genius app, which uses facial mapping algorithms to scan your face and, like Modiface’s offerings, works in real time rather than simply projecting ‘make-up’ onto a user’s selfie. The smart tech behind Make-Up Genius is provided by Image Metrics. There’s also Map My Beauty, which dubs itself ‘the world’s first selfie-powered beauty coach’, asking users to snap a selfie to offer personalised make-up tutorials based upon one’s facial shape and features, as well as make colour-matched product recommendations. Map My Beauty collaborated with Sephora in 2015 to launch the app Pocket Contour, which showed users how to contour based upon their face shape.
Looking to the Future of Beauty Tech
Where will AR technology take the business of beauty next? Firstly, there’s the potential for augmented reality to scratch below the surface – as in, helping us to make more informed choices about how we look after our skin. In mid-2016, Modiface launched Skin AI, which stimulates skin transformations in a live video, showing users how a certain skincare products could transform their skins. The software package can also offer invaluable insight into skin health. Unlike lipstick, skincare’s effects can’t be seen immediately, so Skin AI is surely an interesting prospect for brands looking to further empower their sales associates on the shop floor, by giving them an extra tool to demonstrate product efficacy to potential buyers.
At CES 2017, Modiface also announced the launch of its new universal software platform, which would give both beauty retailers and at-home users easy access to Modiface’s market-leading technology. The software, according to the company, is compatible with “most” smart mirror manufacturers, including Memoni, Nikon and Panasonic, and popular operating systems like iOS, Android, Linux and Windows.
This isn’t the only example of smart mirror manufacturers hoping to make their way beyond shop floor and into our bathrooms at home. The humidity-resistant HiMirror, which was awarded honoree status at this year’s CES Innovation Awards, can be affixed to walls, wardrobes and even larger bathroom mirrors, and uses a high-resolution camera to photograph, and then analyse, a user’s skin. The mirror is able to produce a ‘Skin Index Synthesis’ report, detailing skin firmness, brightness, and clarity, as well as detecting dark spots, wrinkles, enlarged pores and fine lines. At $259, it’s unlikely the HiMirror will be an overnight success but, along with companies like Modiface, it’s arguably paving the way for the future of at-home beautification.
To learn more about where the future of AR usage within the beauty industry is heading, join us at our London Beauty Summit, where we’ll be joined by Parham Aarabi, CEO & Founder of Modiface. Further info here.
Image Source: ModiFace HD Mirror