EMILY HILL tests the world's first e-makeover range from L'Oreal

Digital make-up because you’re virtually worth it: EMILY HILL tests the world’s first e-makeover range from L’Oreal

  • L’Oreal’s digital line insists you can use the ‘virtual’ make-up on video calls
  • Brand advertises that its Signature Faces collection provides ten different looks
  • It works using augmented reality tech that layers make-up looks on to real world

Virtual life, I’d say, has not been all that fun to date. Having been held hostage in my flat for several months due to the virus, I emerged, blinking into the light, and will now be living with my parents in rural Norfolk until restrictions lift.

Zoom calls, FaceTime dates and Skype catch-ups with everyone else I love will hopefully feel less lonely if I’m not so sick of my own face.

So I was excited to learn that L’Oreal has launched the world’s first ever digital make-up line. Its bold premise is you can use this ‘virtual’ make-up on video calls, showcasing looks that can only be achieved through technology. I could revolutionise my tired aesthetic and project a new vision of myself to the world — I just had to get to grips with the tech.

Emily Hill (pictured) tests the world’s first e-makeover range from L’Oreal that works using augmented reality tech that layers make-up looks on to real world

On its website, the brand advertises that its Signature Faces collection provides ten different looks on video calling platforms, Snapchat and Instagram, co-created by its global make-up director Val Garland, the star of BBC show Glow Up who has worked with everyone from Kate Moss to Lady Gaga. She joined forces with creative agency Virtue and 3D artists Ariel Lu and Sylvain Gaussens.

On Instagram, these digital looks are easy to apply. You simply follow the brand’s account @lorealparis and tap on its filter icon. (It looks like a smiley face with two little stars.)

A model magically appears wearing ‘pearl capsule’, which makes glowing beads appear where her eyeliner would be, ‘glossy plump lips’ which gives her smile an iridescent gleam, and ‘fire match’ which gives her eyeshadow in the sort of outré hues last seen on air hostesses prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

But don’t just watch the model showcasing them, you can then do the same for free thanks to the ‘Try It’ function. Beads, gloss or shade is applied to your face on screen and you can turn your head this way and that, fluttering your eyelashes, popping your lips, the ‘make-up’ staying with you whatever you do. (You can go through exactly the same process on video messaging service SnapChat or by downloading its laptop app SnapCamera.)

The brand advertises that its Signature Faces collection provides ten different looks on video calling platforms, Snapchat and Instagram

It works using AR (augmented reality) tech, which basically means technology that layers virtual objects (the make-up looks) on to the real world (you). To participate, all you need do is grant L’Oreal access to your camera via whatever platform you are using to adopt it — be that on the Signature Faces L’Oreal page online, Instagram or Snapchat.

This isn’t the first time make-up brands have allowed you to try on make-up virtually. Mac, Maybelline and Bobbi Brown are favourites of mine, in terms of seeing if an existing product shade suits.

What’s different with L’Oreal’s Signature Faces is that the looks are only virtual — so you’re essentially having fun in ways you’ll never actually experience in real life.

My favourite ‘product’ is called ‘Fire Match 2’, which gives me the most amazing eyelashes. Now I know what I’d look like with a drag queen’s skill and daring — and I love it!

Then there are the different digital lip offerings, including ‘glossy plump lips’, which gives me a shiny trout pout that glimmers as I turn my head side to side. ‘Rouge Signature’ turns my surroundings pink, as well as my lips a very fetching shade of red.

Which left me very excited to use this on a video date. On Google’s video calling app, Google Duo, it says there is a filter to apply the blue-eyed air hostess look — I can’t for the life of me find it. But after multiple agonised phone calls to people who aren’t as technologically inept as me, I finally discovered that it’s very simple.

You invite your friends to a video call (they have to download Google Duo, too). While you are waiting for them to arrive, you click on the circle at the bottom of the screen with three dots. ‘Effects’ (not filters) pops up with a little face. Click on that and lots of little circles appear below. You swipe with your finger until you see the L’Oreal logo and a pair of lips.

It turns out you can’t apply the blue eyeshadow, but you can apply magic lipstick and, trust me, it does radical things to your face. The shade shimmers as you smile, catching the light as if your lips are now made out of scarlet lamé.

I phone my hottest male friend to test it out. ‘My God! What have you done to yourself?’ he says in what I think is a great reaction, before he spoils it by adding: ‘You look like a hooker.’

There’s no doubt, though, that this is revolutionary. Take the digital product you can apply to your hair. L’Oreal’s product dyes my hair turquoise and, if I liked that, I could buy an actual product called Colorista Semi-Permanent colour for £5.99 at Boots. I won’t, because I now know that blue hair would be a catastrophic mistake for me.

L’Oreal revolutionised beauty in 1973 with the slogan ‘I don’t mind spending more for L’Oreal. Because I’m worth it’. Now it’s offering us all playful, futuristic visions of ourselves — for free.

Soon enough, I hope, it will create a digital product that makes me as beautiful as Eva Longoria. In the meantime, I now have the most fabulous lips and eyelashes — at the mere click of a button.

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