Makeup Genius: How L’Oréal is transforming and taking over the cosmetic industry.

Along with tackling the premise of information asymmetry in its online web shop, L’Oréal has acted upon a very strategic and innovative way of testing make up with the use of an app that integrates augmented reality within its system. Instead of going to crowded drugstores, being frustrated by the fact that trial makeup is not the most hygienic way of testing the product on your face, and the disability to test products within a short timeframe, this application enables you to test a large variety of L’Oréal’s products anytime and everywhere. In order to establish Makeup Genius L’Oréal cooperated with Image Metrics, a company that creates facial recognition software for video games and movies. This technology enables you to use the front-facing camera as a virtual mirror.

Makeup Genius enables you to have a drastic way of trying on make up with using nothing but your phone. Makeup Genius scans your face and allows you to select from a large range of L’Oréal’s products. The results are extremely realistic, which makes it seem as if you’re actually wearing the products. In order to make this Augmented Reality application, L’Oréal invested 18 months to develop, test, and enhance the application. While developing, the multinational incorporated thousands of products and over one hundred unique facial expressions. You can try out just eyeliner or create complete looks. Once you like what you see, you can save your look and share it with friends, as well as purchase the products online.

Furthermore, another way Makeup Genius removes the hassle of the in-store experience is by allowing you to scan the products and try them on virtually. Since the launch of Makeup Genius, many magazines have appraised the application. Fast Company even perceived L’Oreal to be one of the most innovative companies of 2015 (Mala, 2015). Additionally, more than 10 million people have downloaded the application and have tried on more than 25 million looks altogether, while using more than 65 million products (which is thus 65 million more makeup trials of L’Oreal’s products) (Makeup Genius, 2015).
This implementation of AR reduces information asymmetry in a very significant way, allowing customers to witness the traits of the products in a real life manner, whereby certain ambiguities about the product performance are slightly diminished. However, the product does not allow a customer to witness whether the product quality and user-friendliness is compatible with their expectations.

Will you be the new Makeup Genius user? Would you download the app and use AR to buy cosmetics of L’Oréal?

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3 responses to “Makeup Genius: How L’Oréal is transforming and taking over the cosmetic industry.”

  1. 374956vc says :

    Very interesting article! Never heard of it before, but I think this is definitely the future for make-up brands. I’m even thinking that this kind of programs or application may partly replace make-up artists. Since the internet can be used to find exactly how to apply any kind of make-up, the only reason that I would visit a (expensive) make-up artist is to make sure that I do not completely mess up my face by combining the wrong colours for example. Furthermore, I think that the use of applications like Makeup Genius can even be more profitable for make-up brands if they place the application to the traditional stores. This will give you the possibility to check out a new look and immediately buy the required make-up!

  2. says :

    I think this is a very interesting article as well and it’s a very clever product. However, the technology itself is not new because it is very comparable to a virtual dressing room. This technology had already emerged in 2005 and is found on basically the same idea of having the ease of virtually trying something on and not having to physically wear it in order to see how something looks or fits. However, the big difference between the two is that L’oreal its Makeup Genius lends itself way better for public use in comparison to a virtual dressing room. Makeup Genius can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet and easily fits your face into the screen while simultaneously trying on the different products. This makes it very user friendly. A virtual dressing room however cannot obtain the same result. It will need a human sized digital screen to fit in your whole body and simultaneously let you operate it. So this means that you will have to go to a store that has one in order to use it, because for now it seems very unlikely that people will buy one for at home. This means that the user cannot enjoy the benefits of portability that the L’oreal Makeup Genius does offer. In my opinion this makes it a very clever product. And i agree with 374956vc that this will probably be the future for make-up brands. Seeing the fact that a well performing application (10.000.000 downloads) can be developed in a short period of 18 months makes it very likely that competitiors will soon imitate this technology.

  3. VH says :

    I have to admit that I did not believe that is really works so well. So i tried it and I have to say I am really impressed. It is a real revolution in the make-up industry and not the only bold move made by L’Oréal. In 2014, YSL beaute (one of L’Oréal brands) entered into partnership with Google Glass to allow make-up artists to film the whole make-up session and send the video to the customer ( . In this way, their clients will be able to learn how to apply professional techniques to create their make-up look at home, whenever they want to. Thus, I believe L’Oréal has taken the right path transforming its business model and relying on new innovative technologies and other brands should follow its example.

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