Apps that let you digitally try on makeup aren’t anything new, but L’Oréal hopes to bring them to a wider audience by integrating ModiFace, its AI-powered augmented reality (AR) platform, with Amazon’s ever-growing product catalog. Starting this week, Amazon shoppers on mobile will be able to test out different shades of lipstick on live pics and videos of themselves.
The rollout comes a year after L’Oréal teamed up with Facebook to let the social network’s users try on virtual makeup samples through the Facebook app.
“We are excited to team up with ModiFace to make shopping for cosmetics online even easier by offering customers the ability to virtually try-on before they buy. With this new AI-powered virtual experience, Amazon customers can now … purchase with greater confidence — wherever they are, whenever they want, with products delivered right to their doorstep,” said head of Amazon Beauty Nicolas Le Bourgeois. “This launch is another important milestone in our vision to be the best possible place for customers to discover and buy beauty products online.”
In select beauty listings, shoppers will soon be able to virtually try out products courtesy their phone’s front-facing camera, or preview those items on model photos. It’s all powered by ModiFace’s AR simulation, which leverages analyses of data provided by makeup brands along with product images and descriptions from social media.
For Amazon, it’s yet another step toward an AR-powered fashion future. Two years ago, the retailer debuted the Echo Look, a connected camera that combines human and machine intelligence to recommend styles, color-filter clothes, compare two outfits, and keep track of what’s in personal wardrobes. The Echo Look ties into Prime Wardrobe, a program akin to those offered by Stitch Fix and Trunk Club that lets users try on clothes and send back what they don’t want to buy.
In a development that’s undoubtedly related, Amazon recently unveiled a collection of makeup products under its in-house apparel label. A 2016 survey published by A.T. Kearny found that 69% of American women who shop online for beauty products start their searches at Amazon, and a report from Edge by Ascential showed that sales of health and personal care items on the platform totaled $1.9 billion in the second quarter of 2018, while sales for beauty products were up 26% at $950 million.
“We are delighted to team up with Amazon to provide its customers an AR makeup try-on that offers highly realistic results and makes online shopping even more comfortable,” said ModiFace CEO Parham Aarabi. “Thanks to a precise color rendering, enabled by our unique AI-powered technology, shoppers can easily try on thousands of lipsticks available on Amazon and purchase the shades that fit them best.”
In 2018 L’Oréal acquired Toronto-based ModiFace, which had a hand in creating custom AR beauty apps from Sephora, Estée Lauder, and well over 80 others. Prior to the purchase, ModiFace collaborated with L’Oréal on the launch of its Style My Hair mobile app, which lets users preview different hairstyles; with retail cosmetics chain Mac on in-store electronic makeup mirrors; and with Benefit Cosmetics on an eyebrow try-on tool. ModiFace employs roughly 70 engineers, researchers, and scientists currently who have collectively submitted more than 200 scientific publications and registered over 30 patents.
ModiFace competes with Perfect’s YouCam, which leverages 3D face scanning to enable virtual makeovers of lips, eyes, eyebrows, hairstyles, and cheeks. There’s also ManiMatch, which virtually overlays nail products atop fingernails, and Meitu’s MakeupPlus, in addition to Samsung’s Bixby Vision, which taps ModiFace’s platform to let users try on makeup from Sephora, CoverGirl, and Laneige.