New ‘virtual makeup’ can spruce up your next videocall


Thanks to things like masks and not leaving the house people aren’t wearing makeup nearly as often as they used to. Even if you’re doing a videoconference, it might not seem worth it to get out of your comfy clothes and do a full face of makeup.

Fortunately, L’Oréal has a fix for that. The company recently announced a set of new augmented reality (AR) filters that it is calling “virtual makeup.”

It is a simple way to give yourself a fancier look without ever having to pick up a brush.

L’Oréal Goes Digital

Few things are as bad for your self-confidence as looking at the preview of your video during a Zoom call or Facetime session. Something about the angle seems to turn us all into gremlins. L’Oréal’s new virtual makeup could help with that.

The company’s new filters use AR to apply things like eye shadow, lipstick, and fake eyelashes over your face. It works a lot like a Snapchat filter so users should be familiar with the technology.

The filters are available for free through third-party apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Google Duo. At this point, the makeup filters aren’t integrated into more “professional” platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. That doesn’t mean L’Oreal won’t try to expand its offerings, however.

In the meantime, users can also access the filters through Snap Camera. This makes it possible to use them in apps like Zoom and Houseparty even though they aren’t natively supported.

In a statement, the company says, “We believe you are beautiful as you are, but in a world where the camera is always on, if you want to play around with some filters then we think that is ok too.”

Future Vision

In 2018, L’Oréal raised a lot of eyebrows (even the drawn-on ones) when it decided to purchase an augmented reality filter company called Modiface. Flash forward to 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic and that decision looks like a stroke of genius.

Of course, the new filters aren’t much more technologically advanced than something you’d find on Snapchat.

The more interesting thing to note is that a major brand is encouraging people to use the filters unironically during their videocalls. Most people who use Snapchat’s AR filters do so for comedic effect. L’Oréal clearly wants users to put on its virtual makeup to boost their confidence and enhance their appearance.

It will be interesting to see how consumers respond to the idea. Although it might take a while for people to adjust to the idea of turning on a filter strictly for the viewing pleasure of themselves and their fellow videochatters, it might just work. After all, it’s a lot easier than putting on real makeup and that’s something many people do every day for the same reason.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given everyone an excuse to dress down. L’Oréal wants to make sure people don’t have to go out of their way to look presentable—even if the gimmick is only on-screen.


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