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ModiFace Launches Live Scan to Enable Instant Makeup Swaps

By the end of the year, five brands are expected to adopt the technology that allows users to virtually try on makeup they see in photos and videos.

Ever wondered if Olivia Pope’s makeup is right for you?

A new technology from ModiFace called Live Scan allows users to scan videos or photos featuring faces of models, actresses (yes, even Kerry Washington) and more to virtually test out their beauty looks on themselves. Available for download at, a brand is scheduled to integrate the technology into its app starting next month, with five brands expected to adopt Live Scan by the end of the year.

“There have been technologies before where you can scan a photo, and it might tell you what shades are worn in the photo. Our technology is the first time ever that, if you see a very intricate eye shadow style with six shades, you can scan that and try it on. It’s really the exact style placed on you,” said Parham Aarabi, founder and chief executive officer of augmented reality specialist ModiFace. “What we are hoping with the launch is that people will use it for makeup style discovery.”

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In development for nearly a decade, Live Scan works by taking three-dimensional scans of faces in photos and videos, and by separating the makeup on the scanned faces from the skin beneath it. The scanned makeup then can be applied to the mugs of Live Scan users in live videos. ModiFace trialed the technology on roughly 100,000 photos to refine makeup style and color recognition.

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Generating precise makeup placement on the faces of Live Scan users was essential to perfecting the technology. “You make a slight mistake in the placement, and the makeup looks quite horrible,” noted Aarabi. “We have spent quite a bit of time making sure that the way it is placed on one person to the next looks very realistic. There is a lot of backend that makes the magic happen.”

ModiFace is bullish on Live Scan’s potential for beauty brands. “It is almost like a visual search engine for makeup,” said Aarabi. “Let’s say there was a Smashbox ad, you could use this technology to scan the photo in the ad, and it would be a nice way to tell you [the customer], here’s the look you could get and here are our products that would give you that look.”

Beauty brands may also benefit from Live Scan encouraging customers to embrace riskier shades. “In real life, people won’t draw 10 shadows on their face, but, if they can scan a photo and try it on in seconds, it lends itself to experimentation,” said Aarabi. “Scanning complex looks very quickly is extremely fun. I’m very hopeful that the numbers of people using it will be quite high. Once they try a look, there’s nothing stopping them from going on the Internet, looking up other exotic makeup styles and trying 10 to 15. People become hooked.”