From roller coasters to video games, new virtual reality technology seems to be the new hip thing in tech. But while VR literally transposes you into the experience through special goggles or a headset, augmented reality apps (think Pokemon Go!) seem to be equally on the rise, especially since they too change how we experience reality.
Augmented reality apps are relatively a new and budding concept, so it's no real surprise that beauty giants like Shiseido, Sephora, and OPI want in on the action. These innovative apps usually allow consumers to make better buying decisions through interactive technology, allowing them to try on virtual makeup and nail polish shades before they actually buy in stores.
“Augmented beauty technology is definitely revolutionizing the beauty industry,” says Parham Aarabi, CEO of augmented beauty app ModiFace. “This comes in the form of apps that show makeup on your live video, or through technology that appears as mirrors in stores.”
Now, if you’re curious to know just how augmented beauty reality works, Shiseido’s new Telebeauty app proves to be a good example. Partnering up with Microsoft Japan and Skype For Business, the revolutionary app takes makeup application to next level, by applying non-straying virtual eye shadow, foundation, (bye bye blemishes and dark spots) and lipstick to the user's video image during teleconferences. This supposedly takes away the frustration of finding (and applying) the right makeup before Skype calls.
Augmented beauty reality also comes in the form of anti-aging simulators, as Modiface has created an app that allows users to track and monitor any skin health changes through smart phones. Similarly, Map My Beauty uses augmented reality to become the world’s first "selfie-powered beauty coach." This works by providing users with how-to lessons on creating the perfect selfie, helping bridge the gap between beauty education in-store and online.
“There is a lot of quality beauty content out there, (YouTube tutorials, Instagram gifs, online editorials) but none of it is personalized to unique consumers features. Even professional makeup courses online are powered by tutorial videos alone,” says Daily.
“With our selfie-powered beauty coach technology, consumers can learn about makeup essentials and trends right through their selfie.”
But while these apps definitely take beauty to the next level of technology, some believe that they can have the opposite effect on mental health. According to the Dr. Lisa Strohman, clinical psychologist and founder of the Technology Wellness Center, augmented beauty apps are causing adult women to experience higher levels of anxiety, making it harder on their confidence and self-esteem levels.
“While these apps can help women make better buying choices, they also create an unrealistic expectation of body image,” says Dr. Strohman. “Continuously altering how we look through these kinds of apps can make women feel like they aren’t good enough, encouraging self-harm and eating disorders.”
However, app founder Annabella Daily believes augmented beauty reality can have an empowering element to it, as her brand focuses on consumers celebrating their uniqueness, and gaining control over their self-image.
“We are really focused on serving the teen consumer, and letting them know how hard it is to feel confident and beautiful when you are growing up,” says Daily.
“We give our users all of the tools they need to gain control over their image and their purchasing decisions.”
While augmented reality apps may have some setbacks, we can't help but be in awe about how such apps are starting to revolutionize the industry. Sure, we've all tried those fun snapchat filters, but augmented reality is something industry professionals think is the future of the beauty sphere.
“I think augmented reality is all about how you bring the one-on-one element to the online experience,” says Daily. “This allows consumers to learn, discover and experiment on their own time, wherever they are. Besides, AR video, messaging, and gaming will be key elements in capturing the next generation of beauty consumers.”
We want to know: Would you try virtual makeup? What augmented reality apps do you want to see going forward?
If you are a woman, a person of color or LGBTIA+ identified and are a part of a start-up company, this is the competition for you. The SoGal Global Pitch Competition is being hosted in over 25 cities and will culminate in a final contest in Silicon Valley as well as a "3-day immersive educational bootcamp." This could be an unprecedented opportunity for you, your business and for the future of entrepreneurial diversification.
We all know how important diversity is for the world and for any business entity. But the statistics need to catch up with these ideals, because diversity isn't just a moral imperative it can also have an impact on the success and efficiency of a business. So if the ethics isn't enough to get you interested, maybe these statistics will.
- Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity are 35% more likely to have above-average financial returns
- Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have above-average financial returns
- Bottom quartile companies (in both gender and racial diversity) are less likely to achieve even average returns
- In senior executive teams in the US for every 10% increase in racial and ethnic diversity EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) rose 0.8%
Despite the fact that diversity is good for business, funding as a woman or a minority is incredibly challenging, but this competition could be someone's game-changing opportunity.
SoGal is a global education and empowerment platform focused on diverse investors and entrepreneurs. Their mission is "to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship and venture capital." A tall order, given that 2.2% of VC funding went to women in 2018. Compounding the gender gap with race shows an even poorer picture: in the past decade only 0.1% (yes, that is a decimal) of funding was allocated to black women.
It is a straight up fact that companies with higher levels of diversity perform better, so why is it so hard for diverse start-ups to get funded? Oh right, racism, sexism, homophobia, implicit biases, inequality, classism... the list goes on, but thankfully that's where SoGal comes in! According to Kelley Elizabeth Henry, director of SoGal, "We're done waiting for these statistics to change; we're taking action to point investment capital toward these diverse-led startups. [...] We will change the future of entrepreneurship."
To enter this competition all you have to do is be a part of a pre-Series A startup (raised less than $3M) and have at least one "woman or diverse" founder. After you apply to pitch, you'll have to be able to make it to one of the "regional round location," which range from the more typical options of New York and Los Angeles to global locations such as Nairobi or Bangalore. And, if you're really playing to win, you better earmark February 28 to March 1 of next year, because that's when the top teams will be in San Francisco duking it out to the very end. And by "duking it out," I mean participating in "curated educational programming," talking to press and getting "facetime in front of top-tier investors." Though not everyone can win, the experience in itself looks to be well-worth the time it takes to fill out an application form and huff it to the nearest large city for the first round.