(PRNewsfoto/LíOreal Professionnel)

L’Oréal Professionnel’s mobile app now gives salon clients a sneak preview of what they can expect from a coloring service.

Using the built-in camera, the “Style My Hair” app can cast a customer’s hair in hues of blonde, brunette, red and other colors. Based on technology originally revealed in September, the tech comes courtesy of ModiFace and it works in real-time, drilling down to the individual strands for a realistic rendering.

“Over the past 10 years, we have focused on creating the most realistic AR try-on capability for the beauty industry,” said Parham Aarabi, ModiFace’s chief executive officer. “The result is a revolutionary technology based on artificial intelligence that allows us to get a high level of sophistication.”

According to Aarabi, the virtual color mirrors real-life hair color treatments in accounting for variations from one head to the next. “We model the base color and texture, and render the color accordingly,” he explained. “For example, the same shade will render differently on a blonde versus a brunette, and the underlying textures of the hair would also be accounted for. To do this, we model the impact of actual hair colors on specific hair types, and use this information in the provision of our video simulation.”

Such realism is essential, given the app’s professional orientation. That makes the feature more like a business tool than a fun bit of entertainment. It allows salon colorists to provide more comprehensive client consultations, and may even help reduce incidences of customer regret, post-service.

Consumers of all stripes are becoming increasingly familiar with augmented reality, thanks to Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore software development tools ushering in a surge of new apps and features, including some of Snapchat’s AR filters and Android’s AR stickers.

Beauty consumers, in particular, have had an embarrassment of digital riches. The groundswell of beauty bloggers and vloggers on YouTube may have primed the pump, triggering a technology race of sorts among makeup brands and related companies. Today, apps can let users apply virtual lipstick, monitor skin condition and apply a rainbow of hair colors with faster results, more precision and more realism than earlier offerings, with advanced beauty tech coming from companies like Perfect Corp., Meitu and ModiFace.

The latter’s efforts have produced a spate of recent introductions. Apart from projects, like helping to develop the “Sephora Virtual Artist” mobile feature last year, ModiFace debuted an AR beauty mirror, a realistic 3-D brow reshaping tool with Benefit Cosmetics and AR video technology with MAC cosmetics. Its L’Oréal partnership now rounds out the line-up.

For brands like L’Oréal and Estée Lauder, the high-tech push on the consumer-level appears to be segueing into a play for businesses. Last month, Estée Lauder and Perfect Corp. unveiled a live AR beauty training program.

“Style My Hair 3-D is our first initiative to illustrate how L’Oréal is leading the way in the service-oriented beauty marketplace,” said Lubomira Rochet, L’Oréal’s chief digital officer. “These tech collaborations enable our dynamic professional brands to enhance the expertise quotient in their services, while also providing consumers with a personalized brand experience and richer engagement.”

“Style My Hair” is available for iOS devices, with an Android version launching soon in Google Play.

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