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The AR makeover: how AR is changing the beauty industry

May 3, 2021

AR for Beauty Industry

Up from $483B in 2020 to $511B in 2021 — and with an annual growth rate of 4.75% worldwide. What are we talking about? The beauty industry, of course!

Including makeup and skincare, the beauty industry is expected to exceed $716B by 2025 (source:, thanks to the expansion of cosmetics marketing through digital channels and the attraction of more customers willing to pay higher prices for higher quality.

From luxury brands and big corporations to smaller and drugstores businesses, the next trend in selling makeup and skincare online is Augmented Reality. But let’s start from the beginning!

In the context of the low-touch economy, we’re living in, selling beauty products online to new customers who never tried your brand can be hard, if not impossible. Customers are very picky about choosing the perfect shade based on their skin and preferences, and for a long time, offering this opportunity online has been impossible.

However, thanks to AR technology and Face Tracking features (like the one you can see on Instagram filters, for instance), it’s effortless to allow potential buyers to have virtual makeup try-on to check if a shade is the perfect one for their skin tone or even offer online beauty consults.

The power of AR applied to the beauty industry

Many popular brands such as Chanel and Sephora are already offering their customers the opportunity to virtually try the makeup on before deciding whether to buy a specific lipstick color or not; of course, these companies have a huge budget to invest in these technologies, and for this reasons, it is relatively easy to them to integrate AR on their website or apps.

But what about smaller brands or even beauty startups who are maybe investing all their money in developing innovative cruelty-free, organic makeup — which is actually a growing trend in the industry?

Thanks to platforms like Aryel, they can now easily create and share compelling AR experiences online, with an eye on the budget.

How? This is easy to explain: thanks to the Face Recognition feature, they only have to create an AR campaign that features the right makeup shade and applies it on the lips, cheeks, or eyelids when the user’s face appears on the camera.

AR-enabled virtual makeup lets buyers experience the product look on them with just screens in front of them; customers can try and buy entire collections without leaving the try-on screen.

This way, users can have fun playing with all the different makeups, share their selfies with friends, make the brand go viral, and gain popularity and engagement.

Selling makeup online is the new black

But why is it so important for brands to sell beauty products online?

Not only because of Covid-19 — even if it for sure pushed this trend forward — but the makeup and skincare industry was already riding the online trend for a while when the pandemic mess happened.

For example, Rihanna exclusively launched her brand online. The popular Kylie Cosmetics, in 2020, was the most popular U.S. consumer beauty brand with 151 million cross-platform actions on social media brand content (source: statista).

It’s easy to see why social media marketing across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter is the honey pot for modern beauty brands and why integrating WebAR experiences into this marketing mix can be a real game-changer, even for smaller brands.

Also, AR allows beauty brands to collect data on consumers across several parameters, such as skin type, tone, product preferences, make-up styles, and past purchases, which are all important insights for brands to leverage.

With this information, they can easily showcase the right products to their users based on their own preferences, driving increased spending on beauty products.

Targeting Millennials

Millennials and Gen Z would rather buy and discover new beauty products on Youtube or Instagram than in a retail store.

Given that this demographic is digital-native, AR-enabled virtual makeup experiences are the perfect way to engage them. After all, trying out entire collections without leaving the house is a super convenient customer experience. It leads to a better probability of purchase and higher spending on cosmetics.

Last but not least, AR can make the makeup and skincare customer journey way safer in these hard times; potential buyers can try products at home, without having to touch or apply to skin testers that hundreds of other people tried before them making the whole experience more hygienic.

The beauty industry is experiencing a cultural and digital transformation, and AR is definitely going to be one of the major trends we will experience in the next months.