L'Oreal bets on augmented reality with hairstyle app

L'Oreal has launched an augmented reality (AR) mobile application, which allows customers to virtually try hairstyles and hair colours before they visit a salon.

Working with ModiFace, Rimmel has produced an app so customers can use their mobile to try on a variety of haircuts, hairstyles, professional hair colours and effects, before saving the look and sharing on social media.

Using AR and facial recognition technology, the app offers professional expertise to recommend haircuts based on a user’s face shape and features, while also sharing daily hair inspirations and latest trends. In the weeks since launch, the Style My Hair app, currently available in the US, has been downloaded nearly 500,000 times.

Dr. Parham Aarabi, founder and CEO of ModiFace, said: "Since our founding, we’ve been looking for a forward thinking beauty industry innovator such as L’Oreal to partner with. Our partnership with L’Oreal marries the best of technology and beauty products, providing consumers with access to try-on technology never before available.”

ModiFace has also worked on an augmented reality app with another L'Oreal brand, Urban Decay. The Vice Lipstick app allows users to try on more than a hundred lipstick shades, using ModiFace’s facial simulation technology. Potential customers can then swipe left or right to choose different shades to try on. Users can also create a scrap book of various lipstick looks to share on social media.

Urban Decay's assistant vice president of digital, John Perasco, spoke to Essential Retail last year, when it launched its online content hub, where customers can interact with the brand through blogs, video tutorials and social media. He said it is important to give customers an immersive experience, rather than simply pushing sales.

Perasco said Urban Decay's digital team already engages heavily on social media channels – including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat – as well as using a lot of visual media to capture the imagination of their sweet spot customer who is between 18-24 years old.

Meanwhile, UK makeup brand, Rimmel, unveiled a similar AR app two weeks ago. The 3D augmented reality mobile app allows consumers "steal the look" from friends and magazines.

Using patent-pending technology created by Holition, the 3D augmented reality app identifies makeup on people and images, allowing customers to match with Rimmel products they can buy online or in store. Customers who wish to steal "the London look" can also virtually try on the Rimmel makeup using the mirror technology within the mobile app, before purchasing the products via Google Shopping.


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The Style My Hair app can be downloaded on Android and iOS globally, while the Vice Lipstick App is available in the US on iOS. 

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