As the importance of virtual try-on continues to grow with the rise of e-commerce, nail brand Essie has partnered with ModiFace to create Essie on-hand, a virtual try-on salon that lets users test Essie nail polishes, the company announced on Friday.
Using camera technology, the web-based tool virtually applies polish on users' hands by tracking nail shape and movement of fingers through the back-facing camera. The tool's AR application and color depiction allow users to visualize how the Essie nail polish shade will appear on them, the company said.
Customers can try 75 gel couture shades with the tool. Once users find a shade they like, they can purchase the product from the website without downloading the app, per the press release.
Unlike most augmented reality try-on tools, Essie's does not require customers to download an app to use it. It took more than a year for Essie and ModiFace to develop the Essie on-hand tool, and it was the first time the L'Oréal Group had collaborated on an endeavor like this, according to the press release. Following its Friday launch, Essie plans to release more colors and features over the next several months, the company said.
The virtual try-on tool will be updated with hundreds of popular shades. The company also plans to introduce new Essie collections via the tool — in some cases releasing them for before they are available for purchase. The brand will include QR codes at select retailers for customers to try products before buying in-store, the company said.
"ModiFace has been the leader in beauty tech for over a decade, and thanks to a close partnership with the Essie team, we have again been able to push our artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies to new heights," Jeff Houghton, ModiFace's chief operating officer, said in a statement.
The collaboration comes after L'Oréal purchased ModiFace in 2018 and debuted its first beauty AR lenses for Snap's desktop app last April. Meanwhile, other companies like Benefit Cosmetics and Google have been experimenting with AR cosmetic testing tools, too. Given the cleanliness concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, beauty brands have relied increasingly on AR technology and shifted away from physical product testing.