Make Up Genius: the virtual beauty app milking the market
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Even now, VR and simulation still seem pretty crazy to me. From the simpler apps that show 3D previews of sofas in your living room, to the fully-immersive video games where you’re literally afraid to turn around; the market seems boundless. One industry that was quick to jump on the trend was cosmetics. Cue the birth of the ‘Beautifying’ apps. These touch-up apps allow users to cover their spots, apply makeup and alter their features, all under the guise of helping you achieve ‘flawlessness’. In reality, they do nothing more than reinforce how unachievable this creation really is. They provided the desired results, and while some insisted on stamping their logo in the corner *cough* Retrica *cough*, the services remained, for the most part, free. While these apps are marketed as the ‘behind the scenes’ of Instagram, it was only a matter of time before the focus shifted from being ‘consumer-driven’. L’ Oréal… I’m looking at you. L’ Oréal were the first (though to be fair to them, won’t be the last) makeup brand to capitalise on the idea with their “virtual makeup tester” app, Makeup Genius. You can just see the development team twitching after seeing teenage girls wearing virtual eyelashes; every selfie representing another lick of mascara going unsold. As they slammed their fists onto their desks shouting “No more free samples!”, a new (unofficial) motto was born: “You try it? You buy it.” Makeup Genius allows you to virtually apply a variety of their products onto your face in real time, with the option to purchase them through the app if you like them. It shows you their latest celebrity catwalk looks, with the option to select it as a whole, try it and then buy it for yourself. The most interesting feature is the side-by-side comparison they offer. With your image divided down the centre, you get to see a fully decorated face, alongside a makeup-free half designed to remind you how shite you feel without all of it. Awful, but smart.
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