Pooja Yadav

Maybelline's fresh take on makeup bridges real and virtual worlds

What makes the brand's approach distinct amidst the familiar landscape of virtual makeup trials on e-commerce platforms?

L'Oreal’s cosmetics brand Maybelline New York has recently collaborated with Microsoft to introduce a novel approach to video calls on Microsoft Teams – virtual makeup. Through this integration, Maybelline is taking a significant stride into the digital makeup world.

The Maybelline Beauty App in Microsoft Teams, designed particularly for hybrid work settings, assists users in refining their personal appearance during meetings. To provide users with a range of makeup options for virtual gatherings, Maybelline has partnered with Modiface AI and the Geena Davis Institute. 

While some users might perceive it as a mere filter, many women can discern the nuances of various looks and styles. Maybelline’s tool can be seen as a "virtual makeup kit" crafted specifically for the digital sphere. Users can select from a collection of 12 makeup styles that align with their preferences. 

Maybelline's fresh take on makeup bridges real and virtual worlds

Zeenia Bastani - general manager Maybelline New York & NYX Professional Makeup, elucidates, "Our consumer lives in both realms—what she calls 'IRL' or in real life, and the virtual space for work and other activities. Naturally, blending these two spheres is something we, as a brand, take into account. This concept emerged as a means to provide our consumers with an approach to preparing for video calls using virtual makeup. We want to empower them to seamlessly adapt their personal style and experiment with new looks." 

How does Maybelline's AI-powered app enhance real-time virtual makeup exploration?

Bastani explains that the app, powered by Modiface technology, effectively employs AI to generate real-time makeup effects. The breakthrough lies in how Modiface leverages this advanced technology, enabling users to instantaneously envision themselves with diverse makeup styles, hairstyles, or hair colours. 

"Whether using their own photos or engaging in a live video feed, consumers can experience these transformations in the present moment. On our platform, Modiface empowers users to experiment with different makeup styles, ultimately elevating the overall user experience." She states.

Discussing the significance of AI and brand's authenticity, Bastani reveals that AI can indeed enhance a brand's offerings. It facilitates personalised experiences for consumers. Nonetheless, it is essential for brands to maintain transparency about their utilisation of AI.

"Our objective is to maintain authenticity throughout this endeavour." She affirms.

Online makeup try-on tools have been around for a while, but today's advanced facial mapping technology is a far cry from the exaggerated experiences you might recall from sleepovers.

Numerous Indian beauty brands, including My Glamm, Organic Harvest, St. Botanica, Mama Earth, Derma Co., and Sugar Cosmetics, have been providing customers with AR/AI-enabled shopping experiences. Established global brands like Lakme, Maybelline, and MAC have also been active in this digital makeup world for a long time now.

While virtual makeup trials have been a staple on e-commerce platforms for quite some time, what sets the brand's approach apart?

Bastani points out that presently, virtual makeup is embedded within the shopping journey, residing predominantly on e-commerce platforms. What Maybelline is embarking upon is a shift from its exclusive presence as a shopping tool to enabling consumers to integrate it into their daily lives. 

"It's not limited to a mere try-on before purchasing; instead, it allows users to experiment, test, and engage with it in their real-life virtual interactions. By doing so, Maybelline is extending its utility beyond just a purchase tool."

The transition broadens the initial user base and underscores its role as more than just a shopping aid. Users can actively interact, experiment, and engage with the virtual makeup, fostering familiarity and encouraging them to adopt the look they've explored when they find themselves in their real-life situations.

Will the realm of digital makeup become a new trend in India?

"Certainly, digital makeup and virtual beauty tools are gaining popularity worldwide. The trend of digital makeup apps and tools is beginning to surface in India. With the growing integration of technology in various sectors, we can anticipate this trend to grow over time," says Bastani.

Additionally, Bastani notes that influencers have become integral to marketing campaigns for companies and brands. 

Bastani delves into the significant influence wielded by beauty influencers in shaping trends. Despite the growing presence of AI, she holds firm in her belief that the impact of influencers will remain steadfast. “In India, endorsements from people we admire hold significant weight. As a society, recommendations from friends, family, dermatologists, makeup artists, and others are crucial in the realm of beauty products." She affirms.

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