When “digital makeup artist” MODA first caught the internet’s attention at the beginning of 2014, it was approached with the disclaimer that it could be an early April Fools’ joke due to its suspicious timing and literally unbelievable capabilities. Essentially the make-up version of Cher’s virtual wardrobe in Clueless — now also a thing — MODA allows the user to select a full beauty look from a library of pre-set makeup combos. No idea what suits your own facial features? The “Uniquely You” mode can suggest a look that will. No hand-eye coordination? No problem. After deciding on your look, stick your face into what looks like a turn-of-the-millennium iMac and it will be 3D-printed — from primer to contour to neon lipstick — onto your face in just 30 seconds.
This type of technology is to empower the customer to want to purchase products, but it is also there to explore and learn more about a brand, have fun with the AR simulations and be educated on possible purchasing decisions.” It might also give customers the opportunity to pass up the in-store process entirely. While Sephora is like Disneyland for many young adults, experimenting with unconventional looks is more of a struggle when you already don’t fit the stereotype of an upwardly mobile makeup shopper — or might not have the money to buy a single lipstick. In a multi-billion dollar industry, augmented and virtual experiences can bring beauty back to self-expression rather than dollar signs.