- ModiFace, the augmented reality (AR) technology company that L'Oréal bought this year, released an app this week that lets smartphone users virtually try on nail polish, Glossy reported.
- Virtual Nail Salon doesn't yet portray the specific colors of particular brands and is mostly being offered as a test. ModiFace originally developed the AR technology to let beauty consumers test out makeup and hair color with digital imagery overlaid on live selfies. Now, people can use that same technology to explore their next nail shade through a mobile device in real time.
- Parham Aarabi, founder and CEO of ModiFace, said the company analyzed 10,000 images of hands to recognize different motions and positions and build its nail-tracking technology developed using Apple's Core ML, BetaKit reported. Before being acquired by L'Oréal in March, ModiFace's virtual beauty apps were downloaded 150 million times, according to the company.
ModiFace's Virtual Nail Salon marks a significant step in the evolution of AR technology for the beauty industry. Computer vision for smartphone apps is growing increasingly more sophisticated in identifying the positions of separate fingernails instead of an individual person's face. The pilot program likely will lead to more refinements before parent company L'Oréal deploys the technology to market its own brands of nail polish. L'Oréal's acquisition this year signaled that the global beauty marketer would gain a leg up against competitors through ModiFace's technology infusion. Now, L'Oréal is proving this to be true by extending use cases for mobile AR features in the beauty space.
L'Oréal has made mobile tech a key part of its marketing this year. In addition to the acquisition, the beauty giant this month started selling a button-sized sensor at the Apple Store to help people track their exposure to skin-damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The My Skin Track UV sensor, offered by L'Oréal's skincare brand La Roche-Posay, doesn't require batteries and has a companion app that gives iPhone users personalized tips on keeping UV exposure at a healthy level.
AR-based virtual try-on apps have ballooned in popularity throughout the beauty category in the past two years, from Sephora's Virtual Artist app to ModiFace's eye-tracking technology, previously used by the Smashbox Cosmetics Makeup iOS app. ModiFace also began offering Live Makeup Consultation, where a beauty adviser could use AR to place recommended products on a shopper's face. Estée Lauder also partnered with Perfect Corp. to create an AR mobile training program for beauty advisers last December, pointing to how the beauty space is growing increasingly tech-powered as consumers become more comfortable shopping on mobile devices and exploring the capabilities of immersive technology.