I absolutely love what the beauty industry is doing with augmented reality (AR)–they’re creating these virtual try-on experiences that allow you to test out makeup, hair colors, and more before you buy. For those of us who have ever shopped for makeup before, we know this is totally practical. How often do we buy a new makeup product, only to find out that we don’t love the way it looks when we get home? And with women spending an average of $3,700 per year (yes, per year) on beauty, we want to make sure we’re getting our money’s worth. Here are some of our favorite beauty brands using AR to enhance that pre-purchase experience.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who buys a nail polish color in a pinch only to find out it’s not at all what I wanted. The nail guru Sally Hansen is using AR to help! The ManiMatch app allows you to try nail colors on in real time, even adding a little shimmer and shine to the polish when you rotate your hand! An added bonus? It recommends colors based on your skin tone, and allows you to buy the color you’re trying on right in the app.
This is by far the most robust AR try-on we found. Not only were the options endless (literally…they had over 2,000 shades of eyeshadow alone that you could virtually try on!), but the actual functionality of this experience is second-to-none. As you try on endless combinations of blushes, eyeliners, mascaras, and more, the product you most recently “applied” pops up in the top bar of your screen, allowing you to add it to your cart without ever leaving the virtual try-on room. And if you’re worried about how colors will look against your skin tone, they even have a virtual “swatch” option that allows you to put multiple shades of a product on your hand at the same time for side-by-side comparison!
Created in partnership with L’Oreal, the virtual makeup counter in the YouCam Makeup app is just the beginning! Not only can you try on different pre-created makeup looks and individual products, but you can also have your skin analyzed for imperfections like spots, wrinkles, and texture, and the app will recommend products to help with those pesky trouble areas. L’Oreal also uses the app as a place to promote their influencer content with an Instagram-like feed where users can like and comment on pictures–a great idea to keep the reach of that influencer content as broad as possible!
Benefit Brow Try-On
Benefit Cosmetics used AR technology to create their Benefit Brow Try-On…and it doesn’t even require an app download! You can simply go to their website’s virtual try-on experience, allow access to the camera, and try on over a dozen brow shapes, colors, and sizes. And, when you find one that you like best, Benefit will give you instructions on how to replicate it using their products. It’s a really impressive mobile web experience, and not having that download makes it all the sweeter.
It’s great to see an entire industry latching onto emerging tech like this, and even more exciting to see brands like Benefit working this new tech into their mobile web experience!