One year ago, ModiFace had 20 beauty brands using its technology. This month, that number will reach 60, said chief executive officer Parham Aarabi.

ModiFace uses augmented reality to let consumers virtually try on beauty products, whether in an app or in a store, such as in a “smart mirror.”

Consumers have also taken note — ModiFace research reveals that when brands integrate Modface into their offerings, time spent in an app increases by 117 percent, on average, and social sharing and engagement increase by as much as 247 percent. Brand awareness increases by 180 percent.

Although the technology has been around for some time, Aarabi said, the dramatic increase is thanks to improvements that make the results more realistic and easy to use. “When you see your reflection,” Aarabi said, “most people take a second look because it’s so believable. Those two factors have made it explode.”

The tech was originally developed as a result of a lip reading and tracking project in the defense industry, but in the past nine years, it has been developed to let customers see live images of themselves trying on multiple products. ModiFace is now being utilized for beauty brands like Sephora, L’Oreal and Jane Iredale.

Sephora, Aarabi said, has added a capability in its iPhone app that lets users try every single lipstick shade available in Sephora, and use filters to find and compare products at the same time. In addition, it lets friends of the app users preview them as well. The ability to experiment and try on and layer multiple products before buying them “focuses on a very important problem. The data show that this [technology] actually does impact sales,” Aarabi said, and more sales means more brands jumping on board.

Going forward, he predicts that brands will implement live tutorials to “complete the loop.” In other words, although now the tech shows what users would look like with a certain look, augmented reality will allow for live tutorials that show step-by-step, with guidelines, the way to apply various products.

“We are seeing an unprecedented level of interest from beauty brands in using augmented reality within their own applications, Web sites and stores,” Aarabi said. “Our technology is now at a point that the 3-D live simulation looks realistic and believable, resulting in significant uplift in sales, time spent and consumer engagement. When you consider the return on investment, it becomes clear why almost every beauty brand is aggressively moving forward with bringing augmented reality to their customers.”

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