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courtesy of YouTube

You’ll soon be able to try make-up virtually via YouTube tutorials

TextAlex Peters

Through augmented reality, customers will soon be able to try on make-up digitally

Beauty is big business on YouTube. In 2018, beauty-related content generated more than 169 billion views on the video platform, a massive increase from the 59 billion views just two years before. And now YouTube is looking to build on that success by adding another dimension to the traditional beauty tutorial and review formats.

This week the Google-owned video platform announced that it will be introducing a new AR feature that will allow users to try on make-up virtually. Accessible through the YouTube app, “AR Beauty Try-On” is designed to be used in split-screen while viewers watch a make-up tutorial so they can follow along, almost literally. With the tutorial playing at the top of the screen and a stream from your camera at the bottom, you will be able to try on different make-up from a specific brand, applying a variety of shades onto your face.

The feature is currently in early development stages, although YouTube says it has tested the experience out with several beauty brands earlier this year. While only 30 percent of viewers activated the AR experience in the YouTube iOS app, those that did spent over 80 seconds on average trying on lipstick virtually. MAC Cosmetics is set to be the first brand to launch an AR Beauty Try-On campaign.

YouTube is not the first to offer a virtual make-up try-on experience. Earlier this month, L'Oréal announced it was integrating ModiFace, its AI-powered AR platform, with Amazon so that mobile users could test out different shapes of lipstick. “Thanks to a precise colour rendering, enabled by our unique AI-powered technology, shoppers can easily try-on thousands of lipsticks available on Amazon and purchase the shades that fit them best,” said Parham Aarabi, CEO of ModiFace.

Social media apps including Snapchat and Instagram have also experimented with virtual make-up features in the last few years, as have SephoraUlta and Target. Welcome to the future.

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