There is no question that technology continuously changes the way we do things. I can stock my wardrobe with a few clicks of a mouse, deposit a check by simply taking a photo or two, and read entire textbooks without actually turning a page. This June, L’Oréal Paris has introduced yet another game changer in the digital world: They have developed a free app for iOS called Makeup Genius that allows users to see what they will look like with certain cosmetics applied before going out and purchasing them.
Anyone who has experienced drugstore makeup shopping has faced the inevitable frustration of picking up a new foundation or lipstick, taking it home, and realizing it is the completely wrong shade for you. Unlike in higher-end cosmetics shops where testers are almost always provided, buying drugstore makeup is somewhat of a gamble. This is why an app like L’Oréal’s is potentially quite useful to the consumer. Instead of going through the hassle of purchasing, testing and returning, the makeup being considered can be “tried on” virtually. But how does it actually work, and how well?
I skeptically downloaded the app on my phone, thinking that it was all probably just a big marketing gimmick, and that there was no way it could accurately depict what a product would look like on me. When I opened the app, it automatically scanned my face and then brought me to a new screen where I could select various L’Oréal products to apply. I first decided to check out the eyeliner options. To my surprise, there were quite a few liners, all in multiple shades. Once I made my selection, a cat-eye liner look was magically drawn onto my lids. Cool, right?
I went through and tried out the rest of the product options. Although some looked completely ridiculous on me, I will admit that the applied makeup looked scarily realistic. The app uses your front-facing camera, moving the makeup around as you move in front of your phone. Not only is the placement super accurate, but the makeup shades even change with lighting alterations to give you the closest bet possible.
What’s my verdict? Well, obviously no app will give you 100% accurate results that applying real makeup on your face would, but it’s a close runner up. There are definitely a few flaws, like some slightly too-bold colors, dodgy placement with certain facial positions, and the inevitable fact that most people don’t exactly find the front-facing camera to be the most flattering (I sure don’t, at least). However, if you’re just trying to figure out which colors are the most flattering on you, the app can definitely come in handy. I’ll be curious to see if more cosmetic brands come out with similar tools to allow customers to virtually test their products. Not only are they a great way to increase sales, but they also are useful and fun for the customer to play around with. Genius, if you ask me!