Trend Digest: Virtual Beauty Try-Ons

CATEGORY / Beauty & Wellness TAGS / beauty, makeup, trend alert Fractals LAB / Jolie DATE / July 3, 2020


AR solutions that let people virtually test makeup products before purchasing them. 


Brands in the beauty industry have been working with virtual try-ons for years, but the coronavirus pandemic strongly accelerated the adoption of augmented reality technology in this sector. Although brick-and-mortar stores are reopening in different parts of the world, free beauty samples are avoided, as they are considered anti-hygienic and not safe. Even in this scenario, being able to test a product before purchasing it continue to be extremely important for beauty consumers, who will make their final purchasing decision based on how it looks on their skin. This is why companies and platforms are now massively embracing tech-savvy solutions that let consumers virtually “try on” a wide range of makeup products, such as eye shadow, lipstick and blush.

Beyond COVID-19, there are many reasons to believe that AR technology will have a huge impact in the future of the beauty industry. Reports say there is a 11 higher likelihood for customers to buy a product when a virtual try-on is available, and 75% of people already expect retailers to offer an AR experience.


As a consequence of the coronavirus crisis, Chinese beauty suppliers have almost completely replaced the in-store human interaction with online exchanges that take place on digital platforms, where consumers can test products and have their real-time questions answered by brand ambassadors, all while staying safe at home.

Some beauty retailers, like Sephora and Ulta, have already embraced AR technology even before the coronavirus outbreak. Sephora, for example, launched in-store 3D augmented reality mirrors by ModiFace, while an innovative Virtual Artist app allows users to virtually try on unique make-up products. Recently, Ulta Beauty announced the launch of a new GlamLab virtual try-on feature as an alternative to product testing in-store, even as the chain reopened 180 of its stores after the coronavirus lockdown.

Dior has also inaugurated its own 3Dior Makeup Experience, and Maybelline offers virtual makeovers on its website. Brands like YSL Beauty and Pixi Beauty offer virtual try-ons through the YouCam app.

Last summer, Youtube debuted an AR feature that let users try on makeup while watching beauty videos (the first brand to use it in an official campaign was Mac Cosmetics).  Following its steps, Pinterest has now released a similar tool that allow users to virtually try on beauty products, starting with lipsticks, before they shop from retailers like Estée Lauder, Sephora, bareMinerals, Neutrogena, NYX Professional Makeup, YSL Beauté, Lancôme and Urban Decay from L’Oréal.

Pinners can use the feature through Pinterest’s smart camera, “Lens.” While in Search, they just have to click “Try it” to explore the different lipstick shades available, and swipe up to buy them.

But this technology is not just for make-up: Perfect Corp. & Benefit Cosmetics, for example, introduced a new real-time Brow Try-On program powered by augmented reality. By scanning a QR code with WeChat, consumers can virtually try on different eyebrow styles to see the ones that suit them best. Shoppers can then book an appointment via WeChat at a Benefit BrowBar, and have the look recreated in person. 

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