New app lets consumers test cosmetics without purchasing products

A new app called Try It On enables users to test cosmetics virtually. Using facial recognition technology and specialized algorithms, consumers can snap a selfie, scan a bar code on their phone and instantly know what they’ll look like.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (REUTERS) – For some women, a trip down the beauty aisle in a drug store can be a hair raising experience.

Sarai Garcia is trying something new. Instead of wondering how this lipstick will look, she’s trying it on – virtually.

Garcia is using a new app called Try It On, that could potentially revolutionize the way women purchase cosmetics.

The app allows you to snap a selfie or upload a photo, and then scan the bar codes of makeup products. And in just two seconds it shows you how the product looks on you.

Creator Ruth Gal says developing a program that defines every person’s features and truly shows how the properties of different cosmetic products will look – is a major achievement.

Gal and her team at EZface, an Israeli based company, worked with technologists and the latest facial recognition software to develop the app.

“We are analyzing the facial feature and also we are analyzing the pigmentation from 26 different dots on the face and we are doing an average skintone. And then we extract the eye color and hair color in order to gain specific characteristics for each customer. Then we blend together all those parameters with the attributes from the products.”

To do that, a lab has to figure out each product’s individual weight, degree of coverage and the intensity of effects like shine, matte or a velvet finish.

A computer algorithm stores the properties and identifies them by the SKU number, enabling consumers to scan and see how they look in particular shade.

Gal says there are no lighting or softening effects added to the image, so users get a life like snapshot of how a particular item will look on them.

Try It On works with 12 cosmetics brands sold in drug stores including Revlon, L’oreal and Cover Girl … And it works with nail polishes as well.

“We can mix and match between brands, shades, products,” explains Gal.

“So we can get a full look and decide what is the best for us. And we can compare between different looks.”

The app recently launched in the U.S. and is featured in Rite Aid drugstores as well as Walmart.

Rite Aid District Manager Kaitlyn Mullins expects the app to help stores reduce returns and wasted inventory.

“I think this will greatly impact sales. Some of the consumers, they try on colors, open them up, and this will help us prevent that and drive customer satisfaction,” she said.

The app also features coupons for products and lets users upload images to Facebook and Instagram, to get second opinions.

Gal and her team are already looking ahead. Try It On plans to expand its range of products to include hair color and will feature specific daytime and evening looks.

They’re hoping that EZface will make it easy for everyone to look their best.