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Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, News, Technology

How L’Oreal Uses Machine Learning and Augmented Reality To Disrupt The Beauty Industry

Siim Pettai

Siim Pettai, Writer
@uxconnections

Anyone who has shopped for beauty products knows it’s not an easy task – the market consists of an unlimited amount of brands, all which promise great results.

Yet, with people having different skin tones and types, it can be difficult for consumers to find the right products for themselves. As a result, consumers are looking for ways to address their beauty concerns without wasting their time and money on poor products.

To find a solution to this, L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company, is investing in machine learning and augmented reality. Ever since 2012, the company runs its own incubator lab, which operates like a start-up and looks for ways to integrate technology to enhance the customer experience for beauty shoppers.

Furthermore, in 2018, L’Oreal announced the acquisition of ModiFace, an augmented reality company that offers shoppers the chance to virtually try on beauty products. The uniqueness of ModiFace lies in its immersive technology, which enriches the customer experience by allowing shoppers to visualise beauty products on themselves from the comfort of their smartphones. 

Before the acquisition, ModiFace had already been providing services for L’Oreal brands for more than four years. Commenting on the acquisition, Parham Aarabi, founder and CEO of ModiFace, said: “Augmented reality and artificial intelligence will unlock significant advantages for L’Oréal’s brands by amplifying digital sales channels, increasing personalisation and consumer engagement, as well as enabling a deeper understanding of consumers.”

AI-Powered Skin Diagnostic

© L’Oreal

A year ago, L’Oreal launched an artificial intelligence-powered skin diagnostic tool, which is designed to tackle the woes associated with aging skin. The tool uses a machine learning algorithm developed by ModiFace, along with L’Oreal’s photo database and skin aging expertise, to deliver a personalised experience for shoppers. The tool was tested on 4,500 smartphone selfies of women, and achieved a high level of skin assessment precision, according to L’Oreal.

The first application of the tool was introduced as Vichy SkinConsultAI, a service which recommends beauty shoppers a personalised product routine based on skin analysis. All customers have to do is upload a selfie to the company’s website. The technology then looks for potential skin aging signs, including under-eye wrinkles, lack of firmness, fine lines, lack of radiance, dark spots, deep wrinkles and pores. After the analysis, the service then comes up with a tailored product routine designed to meet the needs of the customer.

Virtual Hair Try-Ons

In 2018, L’Oreal and ModiFace launched an AI-powered mobile app called StyleMyHair, which allows consumers to digitally try on different haircuts, colours and styles. Using the app, consumers can get a 3D makeover, and try on different styles from the comfort of their smartphone. The app also leverages a geolocation system which can be used to find the nearest hair salon. The realistic hair simulations created by the app are designed to make stylists’ work easier. Whenever customers go to the stylist, they already have a picture of their desired look to show.

Furthermore, most recently, L’Oreal and ModiFace launched an augmented reality (AR) activation that lets users virtually try on hair coloring from its Garnier brand. To activate the AR feature, shoppers must first download the Google Lens image-recognition app. Then, to virtually try on hair color shades, users must point their smartphone camera at boxes of the Garnier Nutrisse and Garnier Olia products in stores. The application identifies the product and color and then activates the virtual try-on service using L’Oreal’s ModiFace platform.

Partnership with Amazon

© L’Oreal

To widen its reach, L’Oreal recently teamed up with Amazon to allow the online shopping platform’s customers to virtually try on different shades of lipstick using the ModiFace technology. The contract is limited to lipsticks for now, but it could expand to other beauty products in the future. 

Developing these kinds of apps and tools allows L’Oreal to better understand consumption data, and thus deliver a more tailored experience to shoppers. Personalisation is something that customers gravitate towards, especially in an industry where finding the right products can be a challenge. It’s expected that L’Oreal will continue to leverage new technologies to its competitive advantage and drive innovation in the competitive beauty industry.

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