Saturday - Sep 23, 2017

L’Oréal’s new app to take the Cosmetics Counter digital

L’Oréal's new app to take the Cosmetics Counter digital

L’Oréal the French beauty giant, for innovative thinking that goes back by more than a century, once again, have set the standards for the cosmetics industry, at least in terms of marketing, with the release of Makeup Genius, an app that allows potential customers to catch a view of their own face, wearing cosmetic products in virtual format. And that doesn’t mean a quick dab at a cosmetics counter, but the ability for anyone on the lookout for cosmetics, to actually see them on their your face, and all of the facial contortions possible. And you need to be nowhere near the cosmetics counter at the time, all you need is a smartphone with L’Oréal’s Makeup Genius app installed.

Behind this initiative is Guive Balooch, global director of the company’s Connected Beauty Incubator who heads a team of 15 engineers and scientists based in New Jersey, who were almost fully engaged in developing the product, which got underway just 18 months ago.

Before the launch of their Makeup Genius app, L’Oréal, along with a number of their rivals in the fast moving and competitive world of cosmetics had already made some advances in opening virtual makeup counters, initially on their websites as well as at leading cosmetic counters throughout the world. However, this method had more than its share of limitations, requiring users to upload a picture of themselves and virtually apply their choice of lipstick and eye shadow onto what was a static image, making for both a time-consuming and frustrating process for the cosmetics buyer.

Thanks to the perseverance of the team who put Makeup Genius together, with countless hours being spent testing eye, lip, and cheek products on hundreds of models with an endless variety of complexions, and then capturing how each shade and texture would be liable to be affected by lighting conditions.

Working hand in hand with L’Oréal during the development of Makeup Genius where Image Metrics, well known as a creator of facial recognition software for video games and movies, with one of their best known masterpieces being involved in the 2008 cult movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, in which Brad Pitt stars in a leading role as a character who ages in reverse.

While L’Oréal are keeping their cards very close to the chest on the cost of developing the Makeup Genius app, the company will renowned for their desire and ability to invest in research and development, with an annual budget of more than $1 billion, 3.7 percent of the company’s revenue, and around double of what the nearest rivals are estimated to invest. Such a massive R&d budget is enough to pay the salary and expenses of more than 4,000 development scientists spread across 50 countries, all of them now not only looking for the next big thing in beauty, but also how to present their latest products in a digital format.

According to Ms. Balooch, the development of Makeup Genius was largely driven by the ever dramatic interaction that members of the public throughout the world are having with their Smartphones, adding entirely new dimensions to the “Selfie” revolution.

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