Cosmetics giant has acquired the agumented reality beauty app Modiface that allows users to see how they look with different hairstyles, makeup etc.
L’Oreal announced today that it has acquired Modiface, a company that’s had a hand in the creation of many custom augmented reality beauty apps, including those from Sephora and Estée Lauder. L’Oreal didn’t disclose the amount spent, but it did tell Reuters that it now owns Modiface’s numerous patents that help users visualize makeup and hairstyles on themselves. The partnership makes sense in that Modiface has already worked with L’Oreal multiple times, including on the launch of its Style My Hair mobile app, which lets users try on different hairstyles. For that app, Modiface manually annotated 22,000 facial images to create the experience.
AR has become an important part of the beauty industry. Meitu, a China-based company with an AR makeup app, is worth billions of dollars. Multiple brands have launched AR tools, and it’s easy to imagine the apps coming in handy when smart mirrors eventually become a thing. L’Oreal has launched multiple gadgets, too, like a UV nail sensor at CES this year. Given that many of these makeup companies have relied on Modiface to launch their AR apps, the acquisition gives L’Oreal a major leg up on its competitors who will now have to find another company that’s thinking about AR beauty.
This is a trend in which technology is slowly causing what I term a ‘beautification’ of society. Beginning perhaps with YouTubers and other social media users sharing beauty tips online, it is now progressing to the point where A.I. and augmented reality will help you choose your optimal look (‘smart mirrors’ coming soon) whether it’s fashion, a new hairstyle, or cosmetic surgery. Eventually these will merge with techs like gene editing and 3D printing to pretty much enable anyone to look like anybody or anything they want. I recently reported that genetically modified faces might be here sooner than we might think.