- Augmented reality (AR) and Broadway have aligned with Perfect Corp.'s release of virtual beauty filters tied to the musical "War Paint." The filters, which are available in the app YouCam Makeup, showcase beauty looks inspired by Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, the rival beauty titans played by Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole in the show, according to a press release.
- On YouCam, makeup enthusiasts can browse and shop a selection of cosmetics products from various brands to recreate the "War Paint" looks in real life. The free YouCam app is the most downloaded AR beauty app. Perfect Corp. has drawn over 400 million downloads worldwide.
- In other YouCam news, the app is enabling users in the U.K. to virtually try on 30 shades of Estée Lauder's new Pure Colour LOVE lipstick, per a press release. At Estée Lauder's Carnaby Street store and its counters at Selfridges, the brand's beauty advisors will show customers how to install and use the YouCam app, giving them a chance to virtually try on the lipstick shades before purchase.
The success of Pokémon Go opened the eyes of marketers to the potential of AR, and its consumer-facing implementations continue to multiply. In particular, the beauty industry has seized on AR as a powerful tool to encourage product experimentation and motivate purchases.
Brands also view AR-driven apps from Perfect Corp. and its competitor Modiface — which has developed Sephora's AR arsenal — as vehicles to acquire young millennial and Gen Z customers that might not be shopping in traditional retail strongholds like department stores. "It's just a way for you to grab a customer that maybe has never tried on your lipsticks or your eye shadow," Richard Carriere, senior vice president of business development at Perfect Corp., recently told Racked.
Perfect Corp. and Modiface are locked in a fierce battle to win over beauty brands and have been seesawing announcements of advancements to gain the attention of those brands. On April 6, Modiface introduced AR live streaming technology for Facebook and YouTube for makeup wearers to see how they look with makeup in real time, which the company said was a first in the beauty segment. Sephora plans to incorporate the live streaming technology into the Sephora Virtual Artist app it developed with Modiface.
Perfect Corp.'s partnerships with "War Paint" and Estée Lauder further shows how AR can be leveraged to bridge off- and online customer experiences. The YouCam parent recently tried similar promotions ahead of the release of Paramount Pictures' "Ghost in the Shell" film. The overwhelming majority of beauty purchases still occur at brick-and-mortar locations, but digital tactics such as these are increasingly viable as a way for brands to drive store visits and transactions.
AR is not without fault in the beauty segment. Beauty consumers and journalists have lamented AR-powered makeup placement as clunky and unrealistic in appearance. Testing out the Sephora Virtual Artist app, Ashley Carman at The Verge complained the app didn’t do a great job of overlaying the makeup on an image of her face and said the lipstick was slathered on lightly in the digital rendering.