It’s the future of beauty: augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) giving us freedom to play with every beauty product imaginable from the comfort of our own couch. Though we can’t yet experience the scent and the texture of a product through our smart devices—future generations will reap the benefits of these technologies—we can see what hundreds of different shades look like on our specific skin tone, and the ability to “try before you buy” greatly impacts what we choose (and don’t choose) to add to our carts, both in stores and online.
One company on the forefront of this sector is Perfect Corp, which developed and runs the hyper-realistic YouCam Makeup App. “The advanced AR and AI technology of the app allows users to experience and discover beauty through true-to-life virtual try-ons,” says Adam Gam, U.S. chief marketing officer of Perfect Corp. “Users immerse themselves in an experiential beauty universe where they can virtually apply hundreds of color cosmetics.”
As a result of mask mandates in the first half of 2020, the eye makeup category experienced an immediate surge. “The saying ‘your eyes are the windows to your world’ has never been truer than in this past year,” says Gam. “With face masks becoming the new ‘it’ accessory, eye makeup is where users can truly express their personalities. Consumers have taken to getting more creative than ever with their eye makeup looks, as eyes have become the ‘focus feature’ on the face.”
From March 2020 to March 2021, 33 percent more YouCam Makeup users sampled the eyeshadow color feature. “Our most popular tested eyeshadow colors in 2020 were a light pink and mauve smoky eye pattern consisting of pink, light pink, burgundy, light brown, and mauve colors [these is one palette we love if you want to give the trend a try],” says Gam. “In the first quarter of 2021, we saw a shift in shades toward more daring colors, and the dark smoky eye combination of gray, dark gray and black colors was the most popular look.”
However, despite the mask-wearing and subsequent decline in lipstick sales, we were shocked to find out that lipstick was YouCam Makeup’s most-used virtual try-on product throughout all of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. “Users can apply hundreds of lipstick colors in a safe and convenient environment that encourages experimentation and product trial,” Gam says. “Virtual technology also addresses the growing global health concerns surrounding hygiene and physical testers, which are now being replaced by safer, more convenient, digital try-ons.”
Two try-on categories that weren’t as in-demand during this time frame are highlighter and contouring. “We noticed an average 17-percent decline in testing face highlighter and a 7-percent decrease in testing contouring makeup,” Gam explains. “Due to mask wearing, in addition to a more relaxed lifestyle this past year, people are testing less face makeup in general. Overall, we saw the highest increases in usage of our lipstick, eyelash and mascara, and eyeshadow categories, suggesting that users are focusing on playing up their best features—eyes and lips—rather than focusing on full-face makeup looks.”
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