The world has seen massive upheaval in recent months with all industries, including the health and beauty sector, being affected. During lockdown no shops were open, so online sales of beauty essentials went through the roof, and now lockdown is easing we're slowly starting to settle into a new normal.
The next issue the beauty industry must tackle is that samples and testers in shops are banned (due to obvious health-related reasons). This is a problem because a recent study by L'Oréal found that 58-percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new beauty product if they can physically try it first.
Enter augmented reality, with a number of brands now offering virtual 'try-on' tools on their websites.
If you've ever wondered what you'd look like with a different hair colour, or want a try a new shade of blusher but aren't sure what new shade to go for, these virtual try-on tools are for you.
From the comfort of your sofa, or on the train to work, you can try on thousands of makeup products without needing to worry who used them before you.
We've collected the best virtual try-on tools below:
Finding the perfect lipstick or eyeshadow just got easier with Bobbi Brown's virtual try-on tool. You can try on products such as BB's Luxe Eye Shadow, Long-wear Cream Shadow Stick, or Crushed Lip Colour. Bobbi Brown gives you the choice of uploading an image of yourself, using your front-facing camera, or on a model.
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You can now try on a large range of Charlotte Tilbury's makeup products using your camera's front-facing camera. The website promised the experience is "as if you are in the store applying it yourself!", and while it's not quite that realistic, it is very useful. You can try all the shades and find your perfect makeup match with the magic of AI. This experience is mobile-only, and it is live view-only, meaning you can't upload a selfie. There are hundreds of products to choose from, however, from Matte Revolution lipstick to the Award-winning Beauty Light Wand highlighter.
Looking for some lipstick, eye shadow, or mascara from MAC, but don't know which shade to pick? Good news, you can now try on over 200 shades with the virtual try-on tool. MAC's virtual tool gives you the option of uploading a selfie, live view using a webcam, or trying on a model. There are hundreds of MAC favourites to choose from, including Powder Kiss Lipstick, Dazzleshadow Extreme eye shadow, and In Extreme Dimension Waterproof Mascara.
Maybelline offers one of the most comprehensive virtual try-on tools, allowing you to test out a massive range of makeup online. As you can see from the list above, the tool includes almost the entire Maybelline range. What's perhaps more impressive is that the tool also allows you to try on 'looks', which combines different products (eyeshadow, lip gloss, mascara, and foundation, for example) to give you a complete makeover. You can choose between looks such as '90s Glam' and 'Date Night'.
Whether you're thinking about changing up your hair colour or trying out a new lipstick, L'Oreal's virtual try-on tool will allow you to sample on hundreds of shades with zero commitment. This slick tool gives you the option to try the products in live view, or upload a selfie. We find the AI recommendations really helpful, for example, when trying a certain hair dye, a message popped up saying, 'Shade not recommended. Based on your current hair colour, we don't recommend this hair colour for you.' That's very useful information to have before permanently dying your hair.
Looking for a quick and simply online tool to try out a new hair colour? Head over to Redken's virtual try-on area where you can sample every colour under the sun. We really like how quick and simple Redken's tool is, giving you the option on trying different colours live, or by uploading a selfie.
Okay, this one is a little different. Instead of using virtual reality and AI for makeup advice, you can talk to an actual person over video (or audio) call from the comfort of your own home! You can talk to Boots No7 advisors, who will help you create a flawless base for your face and offer new lipstick shades to help you look and feel good. Best of all, it's free of charge! Appointments will last between 15 and 20 minutes, and are available to book from 10am to 6pm on Monday to Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sunday.