Woolworths launches augmented reality beauty experiences

Woolworths has launched what it is calling augmented reality beauty experiences. In short, you’ll now be able to buy beauty products online and “test” the look of them on your face before purchasing. While this isn’t a new experience, it is the first to be offered by South African retailers.

I’ve actually blogged about something similar before, in 2016 Urban Decay launched their Vice Lipstick app, which also used Augmented Reality to help your try on lipstick shades:

The Urban Decay Vice Lipstick App

The Woolworths experience works the same in that you visit the website either on your phone or internet browser and utilised the “Virtual Try On” service. Virtual try on lets you test out a bunch of lipsticks, eye shadows and mascaras. You’ll be able to see what they look like on your face and determine if the colour suites. Only select products are available in the virtual try on:

make up products

There is a lot of marketing blurb around assessing textures, but I really don’t think you can in the try on service. While the service utilises light to give you a feel for gloss effects etc I’m not sure I’m convinced it is a true reflection. I wanted to see how this would work and what the overall experience would be like, so gave it a whirl. I do love me a bit of AR with my make up and Woolworths has made it really quick and easy to use:

Using it with an uploaded picture

The virtual try on service lets you upload a photo of yourself and edit it accordingly to see what the image would look like. This is the photo I used for the tests:

multiple photos 1 IG story

I then tested out lipstick shades to see what it looked like:

woolworths lipstick virual try on

I also tested out eyeshadow shades, but honestly I think this one is a bit misleading and highly pigmented online, the likelihood of it being THIS blue on application in real life is probably slim:

virtual eyeshadow try on

While it works well for lipsticks and eyeshadows, to test colour, I’m not 100% convinced by the mascara test, which lengthened by lashes significantly and added more. Now any woman knows a good mascara works wonders, but this did feel a bit too Instagram filter like for me (as did the eye pencils you can test):

Testing out the live camera mode:

You can also use a live camera mode to test out the products in real time with your camera. Rather than using my far superior Logitech BRIO, I opted to test on my Mac. The live cam lets you move around, talk and get a feel for the make up, but as you can see, lighting is really important:

live camera test

Some tips

I think this is a great offering from Woolworths and will help you colour test. However, augmented reality in these sorts of applications is a little bit flawed. A few things to remember:

  • Make sure you have good lighting when you use the live camera or upload a photo, to ensure you get the most “natural” tone possible to match up the make up.
  • Remember the colours are HIGHLY pigmented in augmented reality, they’re likely not as striking in real life.

This is a great way to make a more informed make up decision online and I’m excited to see it roll out. Hopefully it will help a few ladies in the purchasing decisions! 

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