The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) is the latest beauty company to introduce tech for inclusive beauty.
Its new app, called Voice-Enabled Makeup Assistant, or VMA, is an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered mobile app to help visually impaired users more confidently apply make-up.
VMA uses a smart mirror technology, driven by ELC’s augmented reality (AR) and AI capabilities and was developed using machine learning.
It is said to work with voice instruction technologies to assist visually impaired users, with the user receiving audio feedback and tips on whether their lipstick, eyeshadow or foundation is evenly applied.
Using AI, ELC’s VMA identifies make-up applied on a user’s face and assesses the uniformity and boundaries of application and coverage.
It identifies any areas on the face that may require more accurate application and audibly describes where touch-ups may be needed.
“We are committed to building innovative technology solutions that make beauty truly inclusive to everyone. We are thrilled to bring the experience of independently applying makeup to the millions of people that are visually impaired,” said Michael Smith, Chief Information Officer at The Estée Lauder Companies.
“Technology is a powerful tool to drive inclusion and we are delighted to be first to market with this pioneering app.”
“As a company, we are deeply committed to playing our part in creating an inclusive beauty industry,” added The Estée Lauder Companies UK & Ireland’s Executive Director for Corporate Cultural Relevancy and Inclusion and Diversity, Monica Rastogi.
“The launch of our Voice-Enabled Makeup Assistant is an important step in our journey towards make-up accessibility for all by removing barriers to engaging with beauty products and services.”
This is the first iteration of the app, according to ELC and the Estée Lauder brand in the UK will be the first to adopt and promote the technology.
It will initially be available via the Apple App Store in the UK and esteelauder.co.uk.
It is targeted to launch on the Google Play store within the year and across other ELC brands and markets in the near future.
ELC said future versions of the application will offer expanded services, with the goal of providing new features, including looks to choose from and make-up education tools to help visually impaired users better utilise ELC’s products and services.
Beauty ups its accessibility
ELC is the latest big beauty player to ensure its inclusivity drive encompasses those with mobility or visual impairment.
At US tech event CES last week, L’Oréal unveiled a computerised, hand-held make-up applicator, HAPTA, created to help those with living with fine motor skills limitations apply colour cosmetics.
The first version of the levelling device will be piloted with L’Oréal’s Lancôme brand with a lipstick applicator, followed by additional make-up applications in future.
Away from the tech-o-verse, recent years have seen cosmetics companies improve their offer for consumers living with disabilities.
In 2021, Procter & Gamble’s Olay launched Easy Open Lid, featuring a winged cap and an extra-grip raised lid, as well as a high contrast product label and Braille text reading ‘face cream’.
The design works with Olay’s Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Face Moisturizer, Retinol 24 Face Moisturizer and Collagen Peptide 24 Face Moisturizer.
Meanwhile, indie brand Kohl Kreatives specialises in inclusive beauty tools.
Brushes in its Feast Your Eyes six-piece kit have a non-rolling cuboid handle and support for identification for those with visual impairments, its Flex Collection of brushes bend all the way forwards and backwards.
Brand Vamp Stamp, meanwhile, which allows users to stamp-on a winged eyeliner, was created by Beauty Blender co-founder Veronica Lorenz after a benign spinal cord tumour affected the feeling and strength in her hands.