Beauty apps have come a long way in the past few years, evolving from awkward, slow user experiences to genuinely impressive technology. The latest app to drop is L’Oréal Professionnel's Style My Hair, an "augmented reality makeover experience".
We've tested virtual reality 'try on' apps before, those that promise to shade-match your blusher or eyeshadow but in reality end up giving you pixellated and off-colour selfies. What makes L’Oréal's any different?
First things first, it's been in the works for 10 years, with the industry's go-to tech provider ModiFace trialling AR technology to achieve the most sophisticated result. With a team made up of scientists, engineers and innovators, the Canadian tech company has collaborated with L’Oréal to bring us the most advanced and realistic 3D hair and face simulation.
So what does the app do, exactly? "With this cutting-edge technology, hair strands can be now easy to find and track, performing a strand-by-strand hair detection, per frame, in live video, for any hair type and structure." To break that down, the app finds each strand of hair and applies the colour of your choosing – from pastel pink to vibrant blue – even picking up the flyaways around your face.
What began solely as a makeover tool became an interactive conversation between client and hair stylists. Once you've found and saved the colour you love, you can store the data in the app and send on to one of L’Oréal's salons, for your hair colourist to analyse and apply at your next appointment.
“Style My Hair is reaching a new level. This new technology is really going to change the way we interact with our clients, by enabling them to test live all the colours they want and spot the best ones according to their skin tone," L’Oréal Professionnel hair artist, Matthew Collins, explains. "It will give the most realistic idea of how your new colour will look like on you and represents a key tool for hairdressers to upgrade the diagnosis session.”
While the model in the app's campaign has long, straight hair, the app works across all hair textures, styles, lengths and colours – from afro hair to cropped cuts. The shades on the app are divided into categories, from 'On Trend' pastels to vibrant 'Colourful' purples and reds to an array of blondes ranging from champagne to cream soda. There's also 'Warm Browns', 'Cool Browns', 'Reds' and 'Coppers'. As well as all-over colour, you can trial an ombre look, and grown-out colour. A handy slider allows you to see the before and after shots, too, so you can compare your ideal shade with your current one.
While the app certainly isn't perfect, it's the most advanced we've yet to use and forthcoming updates promise we can trial looks inspired by styles seen at awards ceremonies and in our favourite films. Natalie Portman's Closer powder pink bob, anyone?
Style My Hair is available to download now.