Makeup Genius

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Tech and the perfect Pout
Image source:szifon.com

As the fashion industry grows increasingly smitten with wearable technology, a previously overlooked aspect to the commercial potential of these technologies is gaining traction. The cosmetics industry – including those beauty arms of global fashion brands that are now as vital to revenue as handbags and shoes – has started to embrace new technologies in a bid to harness customer loyalty and boost business. From Google Glass as make up tutorials to facial mapping beauty apps, the new beauty brand initiatives all share a common objective: to attract a digitally savvy customer, who wants her online/offline shopping experience to be as seamless as her go-to red lipstick.

One such cosmetics brand that is keeping ahead of the pack this season is YSL Beauté, the L’Oréal-owned subset of the fashion powerhouse. Launched in London’s Selfridges last week, the brand are hoping to transform party season beauty routines with their Google Glass collaboration – which will give Glass to YSL make-up artists in order to capture the make-up application through the eyes of a professional. Does it work? Take it from one who has tried it – and who doesn’t know the first thing about a five-step smokey eye – this is an equal parts fun and useful service. Once the application process is fully recorded, you get a personalised email package once you get home: including ‘Before’ and ‘After’ pictures, the personalised Glass-recorded tutorial in full and, of course, a customised list of products to purchase.

Other whisperings of tech in the beauty industry have come direct from L’Oréal, Makeup Genius is the brand’s beauty app for iPhones and iPads (Decoded Fashion reported). Using a facial mapping technology, the app is a virtual make-up tester that allows you to layer beauty looks onto your face using your device’s front facing camera. These looks might be your own creations or curated by make-up artists, but they all use purchasable L’Oréal Paris products as standard. Thanks to the app’s sophisticated algorithm that is able to spot up to 64 data points on your face, the app moves with you as you turn your head or change your expression.

From multi-national corporations to a less established name on the scene, MiniLuxe is a chain of beauty salons that is set to disrupt the big players of the industry. The high tech company, which aims to do for beauty what Starbucks did for the coffee world, is increasing its physical locations throughout the US as well as employing high tech point-of-sale systems. MiniLuxe’s large data mining and collection system can respond to changes in the environment that might lead to higher or lower bookings of manicures and pedicures – for example, better weather will lead to more bookings, and that will require more staff in store. This responsive approach extends to the customer experience, with the company recently announcing a new booking app for customer’s smartphones (and a $23 million round of investment).

The key reason why these three different business models of the beauty world are going about implementing tech in the right way? Rather than trying to directly recreate the invaluable in-store experience of trying on make-up, they’re adding dimensions to the process of purchasing make-up at every possible point of contact. When it comes to attracting make-up lovers, it’s this combination of online and offline integration that makes for the real lesson in beauty.

Reported by Claire Healy

Decoded Fashion - News - Sephora Augmented Reality 3D Mirror

Augmented reality has many applications in the fashion industry, predominantly it has been used to create interactive shop windows or responsive mirrors in-store. Uniqlo, for instance, implemented their so-called ‘magic mirror’ in some stores to help customers choose the ideal colour for their garment. In luxury fashion, Hugo Boss created an augmented reality game for their shop window in London. The jewellery industry has also found practical uses for augmented reality. Boucheron, for instance, created MyBoucheron, which allows customers to preview what a piece of jewellery could look like on them using their webcam at home.

It’s no surprise that the beauty industry is now turning a hand to AR. Last year, Bobbi Brown launched a print-to-mobile campaign using an app named Blippar that allowed customers to rate and purchase products on the brand’s mobile site when they scanned a campaign image that appeared in print (more about that here). The year before, Maybelline launched a campaign which enabled customers to try on different shades of nail polish virtually using the Blippar app and a photo taken of their hand.

This year, we have seen a lot more innovation within the industry. In collaboration with ModiFace, Sephora have introduced 3D augmented reality mirrors which show customers what different types of makeup will look like on them. ModiFace have also developed an anti-aging augmented reality mirror whose purpose is to show the effect of anti-aging and general skin care creams (more about this here). They also recently launched an app named Beautiful Me, which detects its users’ skin tone and eye colour and recommends products suitable to these (an article about this can be found here). Meanwhile, L’Oréal have also created an augmented reality mirror, but one that can be used anywhere, using just a smartphone – the Makeup Genius app. It also lets customers try out different shades of product.

The entertainment factor in augmented reality is significant, especially in the beauty industry, it allows users to play the “make-over” game without the hassle of smudges. Brands using augmented reality can be confident that it will create considerable press buzz, but whether these measures drive conversions can be questionable. Customers may enjoy using augmented reality, but it remains to be seen whether many of them will buy makeup based purely on a virtual preview.

Reported by Anna Abrell