The democratisation of augmented reality in the cosmetics sector

The first social network to have democratised augmented reality is Snapchat in 2015. Since then, many brands are using this strategy. In particular cosmetics companies have seen a big potential for them to improve their customer experience. They use more and more screens in physical shops in order to allow consumers to virtually try cosmetic products.

How user experience has been transformed by the augmented reality in the cosmetic sector?

L’Oréal is a pioneer in the use of virtual reality in the cosmetics sector. In 2014, they launched the first app which allowed the users to try a makeup simulator. It’s a revolutionary idea in the world of e-beauty. The prospective customers are able to test makeup products of the brand’s thanks to an augmented reality process, directly on their smartphone. The users are able to test hundreds of looks without any constraints, in an hyper-realistic way. They also were able to buy the product directly from the application.


Augmented reality


Main target audience

The two main points of this system are a non-intrusive and useful way to target the millennials and also to find the next makeup trends by collecting data from the most tested products and developing innovative and updated products. However, the number of users of this application, as well as their profile remains limited compared to the channels like social networks which focus on a wider target audience.



Physical shop: the way L’Oréal implement this service

Another use of this system is made directly in the physical shops. We can see the example of L’Oréal with their nail polish. They created a screen which scans the user’s hand. As soon as it is it scanned, the user can choose the colour of the nail polish he wants to try, and he can see it directly on the screen.

It helps consumers in their buying decision process and also attracts the millennials target audience, which is very familiar with augmented reality – for example through social media and video games.

Makeup tutorials in the physical shops

Another way to attract consumers in physical stores are the makeup tutorials. Nyx, a young cosmetic brand, adopted this strategy by including beauty influencers. They have makeup bars in their physical shops, with makeup and screens.


The customer can choose their favorite influencer on the screen to start a makeup tutorial, with only Nyx products, and they can reproduce it live thanks to the tools that are available on the makeup bar.

We can see that screens are more and more present in physical shops in order to improve the user experience. Beauty influencers and the growth of video usage, consumers are helping this strategy and it permits to reach a younger target.

In order for augmented reality marketing to be effective and reach its audience, it must meet four basic principles:

  • Interactivity is first and foremost necessary to attract the customer.
  • The playful aspect is also very important as is the social aspect.
  • In addition, the device must be easy to use.
  • Integrate existing devices, smartphone app, video games, glasses …

If for the moment some of these projects seem more science fiction than the future, augmented reality is still in its infancy and seems to have good days ahead of her.

Axelle Perrot, Marine Dib, Ophélie Demortier, Cécile d’Onofrio, Pauline Rispe, Flore de Calonne