In Japan, Cosmetics Get a Digital Makeover

Intel India Writer

Lazy, Time-starved and Rushing to Look Pretty? There’s a Tech Solution for That.

This time ladies, you’ve got no excuse to say you didn’t have enough time. Tech companies are partnering with cosmetic giants like Shiseido, L’Oreal and Benefit Cosmetics to build quick, ingenious and almost incredible ways to apply everyday makeup.

Here’s what some of them do.

Receive Bespoke Makeup Tips from a Magic Mirror

Yes, a magic mirror. Except that you are Snow White not the wicked witch, hence the appropriately named Snow Beauty Mirror.

Built by Panasonic, the mirror scans the user’s face to detect blemishes such as dark spots, sun damage and wrinkles, and then sends the data to a special printer. A sheet of makeup matching the user’s skin tone and incorporating concealer and foundation is then printed and can be applied directly to the skin.

The mirror was created after discovering that consumers typically discontinue a product within days if it requires them to change their makeup routine.

Put Makeup on Virtually for Video Conference Calls

Shiseido teamed up with Microsoft Japan and Skype for Business to create TeleBeauty, an app that makes a video conference user look like she is wearing makeup.

This product came out of a survey of telecommuting women. According to the results, respondents expressed annoyance at having to put on makeup for one or a few online meetings, disliked their private space being visible through the camera, and were uneasy with how they looked due to poor room lighting or camera quality. Now, said Hiromi Anno, head of corporate communications for Shiseido, “women are free from putting on makeup only for video conferences,” saving them time and effort.

Natural make-up
TeleBeauty users can choose from four looks — Natural, Trendy, Cool and Feminine. This is Natural.

The app, which asks women to “be the boss of your own time”, offers users a choice of four makeup patterns (natural, trendy, cool or feminine) besides improving their skin tone and blurring the user’s background.

Feedback has so far been positive, and Shiseido is deciding on its next move. While the beauty company believes makeup apps will play a larger role in the future, it maintains that makeup will always be needed.

Kohei Iwasaki, a Tokyo-based makeup artist, sees the potential of the app. “It’s wonderful,” he said. “It will be liked by women who have no time or no makeup skill, and help women have a full life.”

TeleBeauty allows video conferencing users to appear as though they are wearing makeup.

Know the Best Eyebrow Shape for Your Face in Real Time

Another app, Brow Genie by Benefit Cosmetics, requires only an uploaded photo of yourself to map your eyebrows to reveal the best eyebrow shape for your face.

There’s also a virtual makeup tester called L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius, which allows users to try out various makeup styles on their face in real time. Makeup fans have been fiercely divided in their reviews of the app, prompting makeup artists to consider that perhaps digital makeup is somewhat of a love it or hate it concept.

But is All This – Just Another Beauty Fad?

Iwasaki has expressed reservations about the wider impact of digitally inspired makeup products like the Snow Beauty Mirror.

“The smart mirror lets you know your skin condition and the makeup sheet is easy and quick to apply, so teenagers in particular will probably love it,” he said. “But high-tech products deprive us of beauty, fashion and humour. To keep those senses, people need to use their hands and think about the makeup they apply.”

Wedding makeup expert Tessa Aruga believes that the digital makeup trend overlooks the fact that makeup is art. “We have to study the face and the moisturiser base before any makeup is applied.

Then comes the illusion: making the face small, letting the cheekbones pop, and highlighting contours,” she said. For Aruga, this personal touch of layering and experimenting with makeup as one might do to create a painting, and working with the individual to ascertain their makeup preferences, cannot be replaced.

Regardless, Japan has once again shown how to tap on technology to transform everyday experiences into new ones. The ones above poise women to look and feel their best at all times, both on screen and in real life.


Top image: Getty.


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