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July 10,2020

by Laura Pitcher

How VR and AR Could Shape the Future of the Beauty Industry

As in-person retail takes a hit some experts say it won’t fully recover from, the beauty industry takes further steps towards a future where shopping for makeup is largely done online. Assisting with this step is the opportunity that virtual reality and augmented reality can bring to the online shopping experience. AR most commonly uses a smartphone camera to overlay digital content into the physical world, while VR is a simulated experience. 

While AR and VR technology isn’t new, often associated with the gaming world, makeup-inspired Instagram filters have normalized their use in an industry usually relying on the idea of “trying before you buy”. Virtual consultations already exist, 3D virtual imaging is being used to imagine plastic surgery, and platforms like YouTube launched an “AR Beauty Try-On” last year. But the pandemic could soon accelerate the use of AR. This year, L'Oréal launched their “Perso” personalized beauty device, after previously sponsoring a lens on Snapchat to promote their Silkissime Eyeliner, and cosmetics giant MAC just launched a Virtual Try-On feature in partnership with YouCam. 

blake-wisz-Xn5FbEM9564-unsplash

In an interview with LiveMint, L’Oreal India managing director, Amit Jain, said that as a result of the pandemic, the firm’s CEO had set a global mission for the brand to “evolve from a beauty to a beauty technology company.” “We are working with platforms to get consumers to interact with our brands in what’s going to be a low-touch economy. You make sure that they get a similar experience of virtual trials. The low-touch part of it is going to be about VR and AR experiences for consumers that will pick up,” he said. 

Then there are apps like Sephora’s app, Revieve’s beauty advisor, and makeup apps like Perfect365, which uses face detection and AR to superimpose makeup on the face. The “skin analysis tools” being created by companies like Ministry XR and Malaysian skincare brand Nutox, who recently teamed up, use deep learning and computer vision to give customers a personalized experience fit for skincare products that have been traditionally hard to buy online. While VR experiences are being used by brands such as WAH Nails, who launched a flagship store in 2018 with a Virtual Reality Nail Designer, in partnership with creative studio DVTK. 

joanna-kosinska-mVdzV HTyH4-unsplash

There’s no surprise there’s a demand for a heightened experience when shopping online for beauty products, with demand for AR and virtual reality engineers increased 1,400 per cent in 2019. Millennials and Gen-Z constitute the majority of the target audience in the industry and studies suggest 65% of millennials would rather listen to their favorite YouTuber than an in-store beauty advisor. 

While it’s clear AR and VR is here to stay in the beauty market and will be expanding rapidly, the key to the success of the ventures will be their ability to be inclusive. In an industry that’s still failing customers with Black skin, new technology will only provide a better customer experience if the algorithms do a better job at recognizing Black people than facial recognition services have proved thus far. As the market grows and more brands venture into the virtual world, it’s a strong possibility that it might not be long until programs like Ulta Beauty’s virtual try-on program called GlamLab (proposed as an alternative to testers) and products like skin-analyzing mirror HiMirror are the standard for skincare. 

July 10,2020

by Laura Pitcher

How VR and AR Could Shape the Future of the Beauty Industry

As in-person retail takes a hit some experts say it won’t fully recover from, the beauty industry takes further steps towards a future where shopping for makeup is largely done online. Assisting with this step is the opportunity that virtual reality and augmented reality can bring to the online shopping experience. AR most commonly uses a smartphone camera to overlay digital content into the physical world, while VR is a simulated experience. 

While AR and VR technology isn’t new, often associated with the gaming world, makeup-inspired Instagram filters have normalized their use in an industry usually relying on the idea of “trying before you buy”. Virtual consultations already exist, 3D virtual imaging is being used to imagine plastic surgery, and platforms like YouTube launched an “AR Beauty Try-On” last year. But the pandemic could soon accelerate the use of AR. This year, L'Oréal launched their “Perso” personalized beauty device, after previously sponsoring a lens on Snapchat to promote their Silkissime Eyeliner, and cosmetics giant MAC just launched a Virtual Try-On feature in partnership with YouCam. 

blake-wisz-Xn5FbEM9564-unsplash

In an interview with LiveMint, L’Oreal India managing director, Amit Jain, said that as a result of the pandemic, the firm’s CEO had set a global mission for the brand to “evolve from a beauty to a beauty technology company.” “We are working with platforms to get consumers to interact with our brands in what’s going to be a low-touch economy. You make sure that they get a similar experience of virtual trials. The low-touch part of it is going to be about VR and AR experiences for consumers that will pick up,” he said. 

Then there are apps like Sephora’s app, Revieve’s beauty advisor, and makeup apps like Perfect365, which uses face detection and AR to superimpose makeup on the face. The “skin analysis tools” being created by companies like Ministry XR and Malaysian skincare brand Nutox, who recently teamed up, use deep learning and computer vision to give customers a personalized experience fit for skincare products that have been traditionally hard to buy online. While VR experiences are being used by brands such as WAH Nails, who launched a flagship store in 2018 with a Virtual Reality Nail Designer, in partnership with creative studio DVTK. 

joanna-kosinska-mVdzV HTyH4-unsplash

There’s no surprise there’s a demand for a heightened experience when shopping online for beauty products, with demand for AR and virtual reality engineers increased 1,400 per cent in 2019. Millennials and Gen-Z constitute the majority of the target audience in the industry and studies suggest 65% of millennials would rather listen to their favorite YouTuber than an in-store beauty advisor. 

While it’s clear AR and VR is here to stay in the beauty market and will be expanding rapidly, the key to the success of the ventures will be their ability to be inclusive. In an industry that’s still failing customers with Black skin, new technology will only provide a better customer experience if the algorithms do a better job at recognizing Black people than facial recognition services have proved thus far. As the market grows and more brands venture into the virtual world, it’s a strong possibility that it might not be long until programs like Ulta Beauty’s virtual try-on program called GlamLab (proposed as an alternative to testers) and products like skin-analyzing mirror HiMirror are the standard for skincare.