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Sephora’s latest app update lets you try virtual makeup on at home with AR

Sephora’s latest app update lets you try virtual makeup on at home with AR

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Sephora is joining multiple other companies in recognizing the importance AR is going to play in future beauty product shopping.

The makeup retailer introduced a “Sephora Virtual Artist” this week in an update to its iOS app. The feature, which was developed in partnership with AR company ModiFace, scans your face, figures out where your lips and eyes are, and lets you try on different looks.

Right now, you can only play with lip colors, eyeshadows, and false lash styles. If you like the look, well, you can buy it. Convenient! The app also offers “virtual tutorials” that show you how to contour, apply highlighter, and create winged eyeliner. It overlays the tutorial on your face.

get sucked into the makeup void

I played around with the app and found that it worked fine, but it didn’t do a great job overlaying the looks. The lipstick swatches, which I’d be most interested in, went on lightly. I didn’t get a good sense of the color, so I probably wouldn’t buy straight from the app — I’d still prefer to try products on in-person.

The tutorials, however, are really cool. It’s infinitely preferable to see where to apply highlighter on your own face than to guess after watching a YouTube video. I might even use this at home when trying out a new look.

More generally, though, it’s obvious lots of companies see beauty as a lucrative area for tech developments. Physical devices, like the HiMirror Plus, scan users’ faces and recommend products and skin regimens. And other apps, like Meitu’s MakeupPlus, rely on a smartphone to overlay looks, getting at the same idea. It’s a smart move for Sephora to work on a proprietary product, although it’s late to the game and other apps are already doing a better job.