Online Exclusives

There’s an App for That!

By Nancy Jeffries, Online Editor | May 27, 2014

L’Oréal’s Makeup Genius brings beauty into the Digital Age.

The digital revolution in beauty is alive and well and consumers are in for some fun (and functionality). A new makeup simulator app from L’Oréal, called Makeup Genius, is adding an innovative aspect to the consumer’s experience of makeup options. The app is a kind of makeup mirror, accessed via one’s iPhone or iPad, which allows individuals to play with different cosmetic looks in real time.
“Makeup Genius is a game-changing digital experience that utilizes advanced algorithms, with a front-facing camera, to enable the user to see virtual makeup that moves with you as you change the angle of your face,” explained Marc Speichert, CMO leader, L’Oréal Group. “By incorporating 64 data points on your face, and up to 100 expressions, the app, which utilizes RT Track 64 technology, allows your phone to become your mirror, and the user to become the makeup designer.”
At a May 15th launch at The Glass Houses in New York City, Speichert said that the technology behind Makeup Genius has been used in AAA title games, films and videos, and was a contributing factor in the visual effects featured in the film, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
Prior to the use of this technology, beauty apps on the market could render colors onto a pre-uploaded static image. The Makeup Genius innovation utilizes advanced facial mapping technology that detects and reproduces facial expressions, allowing for a result that looks like you actually applied makeup; and users can try L’Oréal Paris products and makeup looks curated by a team of makeup designers. One can go Hollywood, with dramatic eyeliner and vibrant shadows, or opt for subtle, natural, or sun-kissed looks. The corresponding products are then available for consumers to purchase.
“With this app, women don’t need a professional makeup artist. They can become their own makeup designer,” explained Makeup Artist Billy B.
 He encouraged everyone at the launch to play with the technology. As a L’Oréal Paris Consulting Celebrity Makeup Artist, Billy B. spent months checking colors, shapes and textures, noting that the app allows consumers to try on different colors and intensities. After testing thousands of products to ensure that they were faithfully reproduced in color, shine, material and light effects, for each texture, product, and makeup type, he enthusiastically concluded that it was all done, “Because you’re worth it.”
The Science Behind the App
According to Guive Balooch, global director of the Connected Beauty Incubator at L’Oréal Research and Innovation, the app may indeed be the beginning of a new augmented reality era in beauty.
“A true revolution comes with the bridge between accurate cutting edge science which enables better product performance and ultimately changes the behavior of our consumers and enhances their lives,” explained Balooch, whose passion is said to lie in the link between bringing new and exciting scientific technology to empower beauty consumers and improve their routines and behaviors.
“The virtual reality experience will be a new and powerful way to enable consumers to try on products, achieve personalization, and ultimately empower consumers around the world, with science, to try on any L’Oréal product with just a click of a button and their smart phone,” she added.
Whether at home or at a store counter, products can be tested and purchased directly from an individual’s smart phone. The three-step system consists of first scanning your face, then scanning the product or products offered in the catalogue, and ultimately wearing the selected makeup look in augmented reality. More than 10 years of research support the creation of the Makeup Genius, which in addition to offering such capabilities as the digitizing of 64 facial points, also captured 400 lighting conditions, multi-ethnic facial recognition and tracking, and has captured 150,000 images. iPhone and iPad versions will be available at the App store in mid-June 2014; with the Android version slated for availability at the end of 2014.

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