Best beauty augmented reality apps to try: Sephora Virtual Artist, Makeup Plus, YouCam, and the like

Best beauty augmented reality apps to try: Sephora Virtual Artist, Makeup Plus, YouCam, and the like

Clean as a whistle

Text: Emily Heng

Of all the things to describe the current pandemic, we can safely say that 'ironic' is not one you hear often. And yet, it is precisely the word we're going for. You see, we Singaporeans— many of the kiasu and kiasi nature — have engaged in everything from toilet paper hoarding (jk) to social distancing in a bid to stem the transmission. We've been vigilant. We've been watchful. And yet... we are still using free makeup testers at Sephora.

Cue the notorious DJ record scratch. That's right, we're talking about the tester lip gloss, mascaras, and blushes left out in the open aka surfaces that have touched other people's faces before landing upon yours. A prime playground for Covid-19? We wouldn't go as far considering how we're sure there are sanitising measures put in place. In the spirit of safeguarding out health, though, it's probably best we avoid 'em entirely and instead, turn to AR apps to do the job. Yes, that's augmented reality offerings that project makeup on your face so you'll get a good gauge of what that luxurious AF lippie really does for you. Here's to a more fruitful — and socially responsible — shopping sesh, folks.

Sephora Virtual Artist

Developed in collaboration with recognised AR developer, ModiFace, Sephora's Virtual Artist app lets you sample a bevy of eyeshadows, lipsticks, and more in a span of seconds. Simply hold up the front-facing camera to your mien, and the app does the rest - scanning your face and allowing it to detect your features for precise placement. The beauty empire's extensive product catalogue is, naturally, a huge draw, with cult-favourites and up-and-coming labels available for sampling.


Meitu Makeup Plus

Makeup Plus might have risen amongst the ranks for its easy-to-use photo-editing functionality, but it appears there's a lot more to this nifty app than one might think. Yes, that includes VR elements, with Meitu teaming up with various beauty giants in the vein of L'Oréal, Maybelline, and Estée Lauder to allow for (close-to) effortless makeup testing. And that's not all. You can even get a skincare consultation utilising the same technology, where superior facial recognition software is able to detect and diagnose problem areas. Colour us intrigued.


YouTube AR Beauty Try-On

Yes, even YT is in on this VR business. The initiative began in 2019, where a lipstick try-on feature was implemented into various makeup tutorials. While this has only rolled out on the mobile app and primarily only features M.A.C. Cosmetics, we have high hopes that there'll be more to come in 2020. To activate this function, keep an eye out for a "try it on" button while watching your favourite makeup tutorials. Click on it, and watch as the video lapses into a split-screen with various lipstick options to select from below.



Is it too soon to bid adieu to the classic movie makeover montage? We think not. Especially since YouCam has burst onto the scene, at least, with the app essentially allowing you to don a whole new face thanks to its comprehensive list of services. We're talking live hair colour tryouts, foundation finders, and detailed skincare analyses to rival professional consultations.


L'Oreal Makeup Genius

It's hardly a surprise that this beauty conglomerate has a try-on app of their own. Accessible via their site and as a mobile app, you'll be able to give Bobbi Brown, Giorgio Armani, Clinique, and Charlotte Tilbury products a whirl with just a few clicks.