Nail brand Essie is teaming with L’Oreal’s ModiFace tech business to bring virtual try-on nail salon services to consumers, and will include QR codes at select retailers so they can try on colors before buying in-store.
The web-based tool, known as Essie On Hand, leverages primary camera technology to track nail shape and finger movement with a consumer’s smartphone, using augmented reality to display a true match of the polish color shade.
An app isn’t required, and shoppers can also add products to their cart and checkout with select Essie retailers from the site. More colors are in the works, and the company intends to release exclusive try-on features for some collections before they’re available for purchase.
It is launching first with 75 gel couture colors that can be “applied” in two steps: The first try-on captures the result of using the couture color, while a high-shine top coat is displayed in the second step. Consumers can upload their own photos for matching or they can use a hand model, selecting from different skin tone filters and nail shapes.
Building out its virtual try-on services has been a key strategy for L’Oreal, which acquired ModiFace in 2018, as it seeks to serve consumers during this age of contactless beauty. This is its first foray into a back-facing camera AR experience.
Carolyn Holba, general manager for Essie Worldwide, said the On Hand service is making discovering Essie colors fun, easy and accessible, while ModiFace COO Jeff Houghton touted the partnership’s reinvention of the nail industry.
The company has launched its own digital innovation fund, Prima Ventures, which will invest $20 million in emerging tech startups that are looking to reshape the future of online and in-store experiences. Learn more.