The Future of Beauty Part One: AR and VR

June 28, 2017


The first part of the Future of Beauty series tracks our predictive consumer trends and the innovations that indicate a gradual adoption of augmented reality and virtual reality into mainstream beauty. From aiding the path to purchase to enhancing our personalisation options, how far do these futuristic advancements impact the industry?


AR and VR innovations in beauty

Since Snapchat introduced its “Lens” feature in September 2015, using real-time face detection technology to add filters onto snaps, we’ve been experimenting with turning ourselves into dogs, fairy princesses even Santa. But some of the social network’s most popular filters are those that beautify  –  subtly perfecting skin and retouching imperfections like a professional airbrusher.

In June 2016, L’Oreal Paris became the first beauty brand to sponsor a lens on Snapchat to promote its Silkissime Eyeliner and launched a second in October 2016, highlighting the serious opportunity which filters can provide for advertising.

Now, a whole host of augmented and virtual reality apps allow us to try on make-up from the comfort of our own homes, offices, during our commutes… So we can realistically see if a certain product or shade will suit us. Including whether that baby blue eyeshadow should really make a comeback. We expect such offerings to boost online cosmetics sales as VR provides a possible solution to the risk of purchasing an unsuitable product, like the wrong shade of foundation.  

VR-Enabled Seamlessness

Future of Beauty AR Rimmel

Rimmel London released a free AR app called Get The Look which allows users to try on any make-up look they like, from friends to celebrities. The user simply takes a snap of the style they want to try out, and the app will find matches within Rimmel’s cosmetic library and superimpose these onto their face  –  they can then order the bits they like via Google Shopping.


Future of Beauty VR WAH nails

London-based nail brand WAH Nails opened a flagship store in Soho offering manis, pedis, cocktails and the chance to discover female-founded make-up brands. As part of the launch, the brand collaborated with creative studio DVTK to design the Virtual Reality Nail Designer. Customers can put on a VR headset and imagine their perfect nails into reality  –  after picking a design, shoppers can either purchase the products in-store to recreate the look at home, head downstairs to the nail bar to one of the WAH beauticians or have it printed on by the in-store Art Pro Nail Printer.


Are virtual makeovers a challenger to procedures?

As well as being a new avenue of exploration for promoting beauty products, social media filters and auto-editing technologies could also pose a threat to the beauty industry. When consumers can augment their appearance without going through the hassle of applying and removing make-up  –  not to mention the fact that these tools are largely free  –  using a filter or app can seem like the best option for a quick selfie. According to Foresight Factory data, the need for beauty products decreased more among Snapchat and Instagram users between 2014 and 2016 than among the general population (general population at 3%, social network users 5%). Though the difference is slight, this may suggest that a dependence on beauty products could be displaced by a greater reliance on technology for appearance optimisation.


One of our own at Foresight Factory finds serious affinity with the possibility of appearance augmentation via technology  –  find out Why Shiseido’s Telebeauty Needs To Be A Reality in Emma’s post.



Written by Emily Cullen

As Trends Manager at Foresight Factory my role revolves around spotting and quantifying new consumer trends, with a particular focus on Health, Beauty and Food innovation. I am also responsible for managing our team of Trends Strategists, and through this helping to ensure the smooth and high quality delivery of content to clients.

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