Opinion: How AR is shaping the future of beauty industry

Surajit Majhi

Graphixstory’s Surajit Majhi dissects the beauty industry ecosystem, highlighting how AR is helping create an experience economy.

While we have Music Giants like Selena Gomez launching their Beauty skincare line ‘Rare Beauty’, which was designed for making it inclusive for people with arthritis, making the packaging easier to open, it is in the little steps that count. A similar phenomenon is being seen in the Beauty industry in its entirety. Nowadays matching your foundation shade is easier than booking a matinee ticket. Scan your face on an app and your foundation match is ready. The path has even paved further for making organic, personalized makeup as well. The hand which made it all possible was extended via AR i.e., Augmented Reality.

Makeup Giant, MAC got into AR beautification by launching a collaboration with YOUCAM for garnering beauty sales. Even when Beauty Mogul Loreal announced that they not only wanted to be the top beauty line but the “No 1 tech beauty company”, we knew things have changed. It is more than brushes and articulation — it’s personalization, customization and technology.

With thousands of woman complaining about not finding the right shade of foundation, AR has now amplified into giving out full makeup looks. COVID-19 made it all-important to interact and reach the audiences. Hence, the profound creativity of showing people how they would like to look with a full-on “beat” face. Namrata Soni’s eyes on fleek filter on Instagram gave similar feels. People are on a craze to try on multiple eye looks and grabbing onto the firsthand opportunity from a celebrity Makeup artist herself, people jumped onto it. The Sunset look, the eye look inspired by Sonam Kapoor’s Oscar presentation and the ever classic Cats Eye were adored by people.

The personalization doesn’t just end there. Brands are coming up with try-on apps for customers to try on, while they are roaming across the section. Makeup kiosks at Sephora have started doing that for better customization of their products. Sephora’s Virtual Artist lets customers virtually try on thousands of shades of lipstick along with their eye shadows through smartphones or at kiosks in stores.

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The app works by measuring where your lips and eyes are in real-time, then tracking those facial feature points so it knows where to put the cosmetics. The app will also let people go through multiple tutorials which suit the entire purpose. All this brings beauty and AR a step closer towards each other.

Even when reviewers say that the apps do not make up to the actual practice of makeup, it was COVID-19 which made things look otherwise. When you are lacking any feel-good sense from within, these apps and filters gave people a moment of relief, or for the lack of a better word, confidence.

For the higher demand for e-Commerce after COVID-19, the string of all human interaction basically became virtual. It was almost surprising to see how much the world can reside on Virtuality and Zoom meetings. Hence, when confidence and emotions were up for grabs, AR gladly slid into the opportunities and helped customers a lot. Anyway, it all makes sense as people are used to Snapchat. But taking it all up a notch was necessary, thus, the creativity.

It is great to see how the beauty industry is changing throughout with the upcoming new wave of AR. With the advantages of Augmented reality, it is true that the scenario can be seen diluting even more in the coming future. Especially post-pandemic, where customers are used to it all and are very pleased by the functioning of it. We’re now becoming an ‘experience economy,’ where people spend less on actual things and invest more on what to do, gain experience, and the business model of goods and services with AR is gaining momentum.

This piece has been authored by Surajit Majhi, Founder & CEO, Graphixstory.

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