A first-of-its-kind app helps visually impaired users more accurately and easily apply makeup, marking a significant step towards inclusive beauty.
Earlier this week The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) UK & Ireland launched its Voice-Enabled Makeup Assistant (VMA) application, a first-of-its-kind, artificial intelligence-powered mobile app to help visually impaired users more easily and confidently apply makeup. ELC’s ambition for the launch of VMA is to support the visually impaired community by further enabling self-expression and self-empowerment through their relationship with makeup.
In the UK alone, the National Health Service estimates that more than 2 million people are living with sight loss, of whom 340,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted. ELC developed this app while connecting with visually impaired consumers who expressed the need for technology that can empower them with more independence to apply their makeup with confidence. The launch is the first iteration of the app, intended to be continuously optimized and improved over the coming months.
VMA’s pioneering smart mirror technology is driven by ELC’s Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence capabilities and was developed using machine learning. VMA uses voice instruction technologies to assist the user in makeup application; users receive audio feedback and tips on whether their lipstick, eyeshadow, or foundation is evenly applied. Using AI, ELC’s VMA identifies makeup applied on a user’s face and assesses the uniformity and boundaries of application and coverage. VMA 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, 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,” said Monica Rastogi, Executive Director, Corporate Cultural Relevancy and Inclusion and Diversity, The Estée Lauder Companies UK & Ireland. “The launch of our Voice-Enabled Makeup Assistant is an important step in our journey towards makeup accessibility for all by removing barriers to engaging with beauty products and services.”
The VMA App will initially be available via the Apple App Store in the UK and esteelauder.co.uk. The Estée Lauder brand in the UK will be the first to adopt and promote this technology. It is targeted to launch on the Google Play store within the year and across other ELC brands and markets in the near future.
Future versions of the application will offer expanded services, with the goal of providing new features, including looks to choose from, and makeup education tools to help visually impaired users better utilise ELC’s products and services.