Augmented Reality: Innovation for Cosmetics and Beyond

The beauty industry is constantly advancing in skincare and makeup that either feature new formulas or new technology to help us with our makeup application. One area of modern technology that has expanded in cosmetics is augmented reality (AR). As us beauty addicts and makeup beginners use multiple apps to help with our image, cosmetic companies are using AR software to help anyone find their best look for the day. While it is true that Modiface is used at big retailers like Sephora, other apps were made to either match foundation shades or help with our beauty routines.

For any makeup lover, one of the most essential products to use is foundation. However, with so many skin tones, it is difficult to find your perfect shade, whether it’s in-store or online. Since it is so hard to match the right shade, it is estimated that over 9 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong one. Corporations use the AR color matching technology to assist consumers in finding their foundation match.

One of the most notable foundation matching device programs is CAPSURE. This was created by the color companies, Pantone and X-rite. The CAPSURE device can be used to be match to the perfect foundation shade to your skin tone. In addition, other businesses created similar technology to help anyone find their match without leaving their home. Last year, online cosmetics retailer, MatchCo, developed their phone app to scan your skin in order to create a unique foundation shade. While this kind of technology is helping us find our perfect shades, no look is complete with foundation alone. Because of this, AR has made it possible for us to try on variations of makeup at any place and at any time.

The Match Co

Through the use of AR, cosmetics can be put on your face virtually with any look of your choice.  These looks even echo  a few of the Snapchat filters you know and love. In recent years, Plum Perfect worked with IMAN Cosmetics to create an AR app that not only helps us find the perfect foundation shade, but also analyze hair color, eye shape, and face shape to help preview the best makeup look. Similarly, the app, Map My Beauty, scans your face and marks the locations eyeshadows, contour products, and blushes should be applied on your face. This is advantageous to any makeup novice simply because trying a new-look was ambiguous before the AR technology was invented. Being easy to use, AR has expanded to larger businesses where it continues to grow and innovate the cosmetic market.


In 2014, L’Oreal created the AR app called, Makeup Genius, that allows you to try on makeup virtually before deciding on your look. Part of their business model, Makeup Genius recommends products to buy for your look. Moreover, to help with skin care, Oil of Olay launched a Skin Advisor app that uses your photo and studies certain areas of your face that are starting to age. The app then tells you which skincare products to use.

L’Oreal MakeupGenius

This pattern of expansion is innovating the way we use and purchase cosmetics, and there is no doubt that even more apps will be created to help us with our makeup and skincare routines that influence future purchases.


Catherine DeGroot

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