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L’Oréal Unveils Makeup Genius

Available on iTunes in June, Makeup Genius turns the front-facing iPhone and iPad camera (the first phase is not Android friendly) into a makeup mirror.

L’Oréal officially unveiled its new makeup app called Makeup Genius Thursday night, confirming a report published in WWD on April 25.

Available on iTunes in June, Makeup Genius turns the front-facing iPhone and iPad camera (the first phase is not Android friendly) into a makeup mirror. Users can virtually try on more than 300 products in real time. The technology accommodates for 400 lighting situations, can tell the difference between the skin on eyes, lips and face and works for all ethnicities, according to Marc Speichert, chief marketing officer and leader of the L’Oréal Group.

L’Oréal isn’t the first to market with virtual makeovers, but what mass retailers said distinguishes Makeup Genius from others is the ability to see “live,” at the point of sale, how products look. Too often in self-service environments where testing is difficult, shoppers are dissatisfied with purchases when they get home, mass buyers say.

“With this, they can scan the shelf and see the products on them and even move around to see different angles,” said one major mass-market retailer. “It’s all about instant gratification and we provide that [versus online shopping].”

There will also be digital terminals installed in some stores, where shoppers can experiment or be shown the app by beauty consultants.

Virtual makeover vehicles have met with mixed reviews. Tools such as Duane Reade’s Find Your Look computer, which requires a still photo that is scanned and then shown with makeup, had some users on a recent visit. However, other times it goes unused, taking up valuable real estate. Some digital makeovers, such as Revlon’s Virtual Makeup Artist, are currently only on Web sites. The closest to Makeup Genius is Shiseido’s test in Japan of Mirai Mirror. It also uses moving images rather than still photography and depicts textures to offer a more realistic view of what a product will look like when applied. A beauty consultant uses a touch-screen pen or scans a product’s bar code to select the makeup for the customer to try.