L’Oréal buys Canadian AR firm ModiFace

Cosmetics giant L’Oréal has ramped up its digital acceleration strategy with the purchase of beauty-focused, augmented reality and AI firm ModiFace

  • By Fernando Moncada Rivera | Friday, March 16th, 2018

The purchase of ModiFace comes as part of L'Oréal’s digital acceleration strategy, which aims to integrate innovative technology into the customer experience

On March 16, L’Oréal announced the acquisition of ModiFace, a Canada-based augmented reality (AR) and AI firm specialising in the beauty sector. The purchase comes as part of L’Oréal’s digital acceleration strategy, which aims to integrate innovative technology into the customer experience.

“ModiFace will support the reinvention of the beauty experience around innovative services to help our customers discover, try and choose products and brands,” said Lubomira Rochet, Chief Digital Officer at L’Oréal, in a statement.

“We at L’Oréal and ModiFace want to pioneer this new page of the beauty industry and serve our customers with innovative services and experiences.”

Augmented reality works as a powerful selling tool because it enables customers to quickly cycle through different options with minimal hassle

ModiFace has been riding a wave of increasing popularity for its AR products in the beauty industry. From phone apps and e-commerce modules to in-store ‘magic mirror’ displays, brands are using ModiFace to allow customers to try products without having to actually apply them.

AR works as a powerful selling tool because it enables customers to quickly cycle through different options with minimal hassle. The firm uses facial recognition software to overlay virtual makeup onto a customer’s face in real time. L’Oréal’s rival conglomerate, Estée Lauder, uses ModiFace across all its brands.

As of last year, ModiFace was providing its technology to 84 brands around the world, fetching between $200,000 and $500,000 annually from each. ModiFace has stood out from competitors by developing its technology across multiple platforms, rather than just sticking to one or two.

However, this is not L’Oréal’s first foray into AR: last year, the beauty giant, which owns brands Maybelline, Urban Decay and Yves Saint Laurent, teamed up with YouCam Makeup to integrate its makeup collections into the AR phone app.

The purchase of ModiFace also comes as part of L’Oréal’s aggressive digital strategy, which, in 2016, saw a 31.9 percent increase in digital spending and led to a partnership with Founders Factory, a London-based incubator for start-ups.