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L’Oreal Paris responds to pandemic with first digital make-up line

The cosmetics brand has launched a digital-only make-up tool that enables social-media users to try on different looks.

by Omar Oakes
L’Oréal Paris: launching 10 filters

L’Oréal Paris has launched a digital make-up line that works on live video using AR tech.

The digital make-up tool, a first for the brand, enables social-media users to try out different looks on Google Duo, Snapchat and Instagram.

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“Signature Faces”, created by Virtue, Vice’s creative agency, will work via the Snap Camera in Snapchat, enabling users to virtually wear the products on video chat services, as well as on Instagram and Snapchat.

L’Oréal Paris is also releasing one “exclusive look” on Google Duo, making it the first beauty brand to be used directly within Google’s video conference system.

There are 10 virtual filters across three themes: “volumising capsules”, “plump shot” and “fire match”, with which people can experiment with varying make-up textures.

Pascal Rotteveel, executive creative director, Western Europe at Virtue, said the idea was born from the insight that consumers, particular younger “Gen Z” people, wanted to socialise more on video calls, but “we weren’t utilising these platforms to the best of their abilities when it came to self-expression”.

“We then wondered, what if you could have a digital beauty case that enables you to express yourself in online social encounters, in ways you could never do in real life,” he said.

The pandemic has rocked the beauty industry this year as supply chains have been disrupted, bricks-and-mortar retail spaces were forced to close and the collapse in air travel hammered duty-free shopping. McKinsey has estimated that global revenue for the beauty industry could fall by up to 30% this year.

The crisis has put fashion brands under pressure to launch online beauty tools, which may have been seen as a “nice to have” rather than a priority for cosmetic giants like L’Oréal.

The Signature Faces collection was co-created by Val Garland, the L’Oréal Paris global make-up artists and 3D artists Ariel Lu and Sylvain Gaussens.