By implementing facial mapping technology (which tracks 64 facial points) into the app, it is able to map make-up onto consumers' faces. The concept allows them to see themselves in the app's virtual mirror from different angles in real time, while also taking the surrounding lighting conditions into account – creating an unusually high level of verisimilitude.
Products available to test include lipsticks, eye shadows and mascaras, selected through the app's menu. Alternatively, users can scan L'Oréal's product barcodes in-store with the app to test that product.
Put together by the brand's internal make-up artists, a range of complete looks which replicate those of its key beauty ambassadors are also available to try out – such as US actress Eva Longoria's smoky eye, or Ethiopian model Liya Kebede's nude lips.
Chosen looks can be saved, shared with friends via social media, or bought directly via the app.
Makeup Genius, which was created in collaboration with American 3D animation specialists Image Metrics, is currently available in the US, France and China, but L'Oréal is planning to roll out the app in other countries in the near future.
For more examples of brands using virtual reality to sell beauty, see Beauty Retail Trends 2014, Selling Beauty Online, Virtual Immersive Commerce in the Post-Digital Macro Trend and Data Tracking & Human Response Monitoring. See also Product Hubs: Experimentation & Co-Creation.