Trying on makeup with robots

Will virtual makeup testing replace real-life makeup swatching? Elizabeth Meade discusses the pros and cons of online makeup tools by undergoing her own digital makeover.

Elizabeth Meade
8th November 2020
COVID-19 has caused a lapse in makeup sales due to the necessity of makeup-swatching: an impossibility in a situation in which even sharing a square metre of air is a cause for concern. As a result, some websites have created online makeup testing tools, in which a user uploads a picture of themselves to which an AI can apply makeup. Do these tools work? Is this the future of makeup testing? I gave myself a 21st-century makeover with the Maybelline site in order to find out.

Since any published product review must feature an honest opinion based on personal experience, I will preface with my initial thought: when my younger self imagined 2020 living, I imagined that I would be at Astronaut School right now, flying an antigravity spaceship. I did not imagine that I would be sitting on a bed as an online bot put makeup on my digital face. That said, despite the lack of predicted technological advancements, online makeup testing is still an incredible tool for seeing how different shades look on your face.

The tool allows you to try on multiple products at once, and has a slider so you can compare the made-up side of your face to the clean side

When I uploaded my picture, the online tool applied the products in exactly the right places -- similar to the computer vision software used in robotics competitions to detect colors and markings, the program can identify parts of your face, even with glasses. The tool allows you to try on multiple products at once, and has a slider so you can compare the made-up side of your face to the clean side. It's also mess-free -- you don't have to clean makeup off of your wrist or face.

Given the popularity of such software, it shouldn't be long before the original formula has been improved upon and more widely distributed

The one downside is that it does not allow you to remove makeup -- I had to reupload my picture if I wanted to start over. I also wish that a generic version of this software were available, designed for general experimentation with colors rather than to sell a product. However, given the popularity of such software, it shouldn't be long before the original formula has been improved upon and more widely distributed.

Featured Image: L'Oréal Paris USA YouTube channel
All other images courtesy of Instagram

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AUTHOR: Elizabeth Meade
Science sub-ed and Chemistry major. Avid reader. Chaos theorist. Amateur batrachologist and historian. Rock fan. Likes cybersecurity and cooking.

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