These 5 AR Beauty Tools Can Make Your Online Shopping Easier

No more guessing

We all know that shopping for makeup online comes with a bit of a risk. Choosing between taupe and natural brown or fair over neutral fair is a familiar gamble beauty lovers face when browsing through the products’ shade ranges online. With recent developments in technology, however, some brands now offer online augmented reality beauty tools that let you see how a product looks on you virtually. It takes the guessing out of the shopping — a definite win for us. Here are some you can check out now.

Google Shopping

ICYDK, the Google app has its own augmented reality beauty tool. You can virtually try on items from brands like L’Oréal, MAC Cosmetics, and Charlotte Tilbury. You can also browse through Google Shopping and receive recommendations for beauty products — as well as clothes and other categories. The shade-matching tool comes in handy with showing how a complexion product looks but don’t expect virtual reality levels of realism. The same feature is also available on Snapchat and Pinterest; more on that here.

Our verdict: It’s like a personal shopper you don’t have to verbally interact with. This AR beauty tool takes the peer pressure of having to purchase an item because of a sales assistant’s spiel, but it does have an ad-like feel to the experience.

MAC Cosmetics Virtual Try-On

MAC also has its own virtual try-on feature found on its official websites. As of writing, you can only sample lip colours and eyeshadows. Still, with MAC’s vast array of products, there are a lot of options to check out. To use this AR beauty tool, simply head over to the product page and click “Try It On”. You’ll need to enable the live camera or upload a selfie for a true match, but there are also models to stand in your place. Then, you can scroll through the 800+ options from the brand’s menu of lip and eyeshadow shades. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for foundation shade-matching in the near future.


Our verdict: We prefer using the tool on our phone because the phone camera offers a clearer and more realistic image compared to a laptop camera which tends to wash out your complexion.

Sephora Virtual Artist

Perhaps the most contentious AR beauty tool on this list, Sephora’s Virtual Artist feature has been around since 2016. It mimics Sephora’s in-store makeovers using augmented reality and facial recognition, where you can pick from Sephora’s makeup smorgasbord and see it applied on your face. You’ll need to download the Sephora app, of course, to try this feature. Aside from product try-on, you also get step-by-step tutorials on the trendiest looks of the moment.

Our verdict: Despite its age, Sephora’s Virtual Artist feature still needs some fine-tuning. The eyeshadow looks need to be more ~subtle~ or less stark so we can gauge the true quality of the products used.

YouTube AR Beauty Try-On

Beginning with lipsticks, YouTube’s AR Beauty Try-On ad feature (currently still in testing) allows viewers to “swatch” products while following a beauty video. It started with MAC Cosmetics products in 2019 (watch the video above in the mobile YouTube App so you can personally try it) and has yet to expand its available brands aside from NARS. Also, you’ll need to use your phone for this because the feature is not available on desktop.

Our verdict: Since we use video reviews to gauge the pros and cons of a product, this augmented reality beauty tool is actually very handy! Hopefully, this feature will expand to include other brands to make it more useful to users and not merely for ads.

YSL Rouge Sur Mesure App

There are a lot of lipsticks floating online and in stores. A lot. But sometimes, there’s a specific lip shade you can’t find anywhere. Here’s some good news: YSL Beauty is currently testing the Rouge Sur Mesure, a digital app connected to a Bluetooth-operated device that allows you to make personal lip colours. You design the colours in the app and have it “printed out” through the device for your use.

It’s not really “online shopping” per se, but it does use technology to show how the lip colour looks on you through an uploaded picture. It brings you into the creative process while adding that personalised touch. The only drawbacks are the device and colour cartridges go for USD299 and USD100 respectively, and you can’t mix and match the cartridges from other sets. Bummer.

Our verdict: It’s a splurge, for sure. But if you like the idea of being your own makeup developer and not buying a new lipstick ever again, it might just be worth the investment. 

Which AR beauty tools are you willing to try?

(Cover photo from: Taan Huyn via Unsplash)

While you’re here, find out which lifestyle tech essentials we’ve been lovin’ and eyeing lately.

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