Through The Looking Glass

Augmented reality improves beauty retail and products

Augmented reality technology is changing the way Millennials shop for clothing, cars, furniture, and even tattoos by allowing consumers to test items virtually before committing to purchase. The beauty industry is likewise latching onto the technology, introducing increasingly services and apps that make it easier to try on products (no mess or harsh skin effects) and get creative with cosmetics

82514-1Sephora’s Augmented Reality Mirror: Sephora is known widely for its generous product sampling, a perk that recently received a digital facelift with an in-store option to try on makeup virtually. ModiFace-powered mirrors use facial detection technology to simulate how products will look on a customer’s face from multiple perspectives. Shoppers use a touchscreen display to choose from a broad range of colors and textures, which can be easily altered with just a tap. For now the mirrors are only available at the Milan flagship, but women can test out the technology with the ModiFace app’s virtual makeovers, complete with color cosmetics and celeb-inspired hairstyles.

82514-2L’Oréal Makeup Genius App: Drugstore cosmetics brands have long been at a disadvantage compared to their department store counterparts, since shoppers are rarely able to test their products. L’Oréal’s Makeup Genius app removes this barrier to purchase by turning shoppers’ smartphones and tablets into virtual makeup mirrors. Users can either browse for cosmetics or scan items in-store, and then try them out digitally with a facial recognition-enabled live mirror camera. Once satisfied with their new look, shoppers can both buy the items directly via the app’s built-in shopping cart and snap selfies to reference when applying the products in real life.

82514-3Metaverse Nails: In the case of nail art brand Metaverse Nails, the digital component of the product is more gleaming than the polish. Launched in China in 2012 and expanding globally this summer, the company creates nail decals, a now common manicure solution, but with an added twist. When viewed through the brand’s augmented reality app, the decals sprout 3D holographic jewels, sparkles, flowers, and creatures that ‘appcessorize’ the look. The company has created some unique limited edition digital designs, making them collector’s items and status symbols among faithful fans, much like rare items in the world of virtual gaming.