Cosmetics giant L’Oreal buys AR beauty company ModiFace

loreal buys modiface ar makeup samsung galaxy s9
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Cosmetics juggernaut L’Oreal has bought Modiface, the Canadian augmented reality (AR) beauty company that powers the makeup filters on the Galaxy S9‘s Bixby Vision.

We’ve had our eye on ModiFace for some time now, since it first looked into the tech in December 2015. Interest in using AR to see physical changes on one’s face in real time has exploded in the last year, with ModiFace’s software coming to both iOS and Android. The tech works similarly to Snapchat’s filters, applying a layer of makeup directly over your face’s image on your screen, and tracking your head movements in real-time so you can see your digital makeover from multiple angles.

ModiFace’s tech rapidly became industry-leading, powering multiple AR makeup apps, including those by Sephora and Benefit. With the Galaxy S9‘s Bixby Vision featuring this tech as well as the ability to buy the makeup you “try on,” it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the cosmetics world is taking a strong interest in the potential of AR.

This isn’t L’Oreal’s first foray into tech-savvy business — the company previously launched a smart brush that told users how to care for their hair, and recently showcased wearable tech that warned wearers when they’ve had enough sunlight. L’Oreal has also worked with ModiFace in the past, when the two companies collaborated on L’Oreal’s “Style My Hair” tool, which allowed users to see the effect of different hair dyes.

L’Oreal, along with other cosmetics companies, has long been curious of the application of AR in advertising cosmetics when combined with increasing online sales and social media marketing. MAC’s Virtual Try-On Mirror is one example of the tech being used in this way.

The amount that L’Oreal paid for ModiFace has not yet been disclosed, but given L’Oreal now spends 38 percent of its marketing budget on digital campaigns and the broad application of ModiFace’s tech, it’s unlikely that it skimped on the purchase.

“With ModiFace we’ve acquired … the stock of inventions they’ve already created, but more than that, the ability to look at reinventing the beauty experience in the years to come,” L’Oreal’s chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet said.

L’Oreal’s acquisition of ModiFace is likely to be a major blow to other manufacturers who have previously used ModiFace’s technology in their own apps and websites.

Mobile

Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

G’day, Google: U.S. users can now give Assistant a British or Australian accent

U.S. Google Assistant users can give their Assistant a different voice. Google has updated Assistant with the ability for users to give it either a British or Australian accent, which could make it a little more personal for some.
Music

Tune in to the best internet radio stations for your listening pleasure

Even in the streaming era, radio stations get some of the best exclusives and curate some of the finest handpicked playlists around. Here are the best internet radio stations, for your listening pleasure.
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Computing

Microsoft’s latest patent paves the way for Andromeda dual-screen mobile device

The latest patent discovery from Microsoft showcases a new hinge design for quickly opening a dual-screen mobile device with a single hand. Could this be additional proof surrounding the rumors of the company's Project Andromeda device?
Mobile

Need to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think, but we'll walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice, and identify several other apps and external voice recorders that can help.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Mobile

Apple is spending $1 billion to hire up to 15,000 new employees in Austin

Apple has announced a series of expansions across the U.S. -- including a massive expansion to the company's Austin campus that will see it spending $1 billion to accommodate for up to 15,000 new employees.
Outdoors

Google Maps makes it easier than ever to find a Lime bike or scooter

Google Maps has added a new feature that helps you find a Lime bike or scooter in just a few taps. The feature currently works in 11 U.S. cities served by Lime, with more coming next year.
Mobile

Quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed

Looking for a few accoutrements to make your smartphone even better? If you, or someone you know, is a sucker for accessories, you'll want to check out our collection of quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed.
Mobile

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.