Beauty brands are often advised against creating costly virtual try-on apps with the goal of users finding shades that match their skin tone. With low traction and user-experience ratings, these apps are not the best use of a digital war chest. Collectively, these apps have received a low 2.7 rating. L’Oréal Paris, however, has managed to beat the odds with a rating almost twice the average. The app, featured as a Flash of Genius in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty, is downloaded more often than average, as the 697 total reviews can attest.

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Why? A read-through the user ratings reveals that users like the fact that makeup colors move with facial expressions, in lieu of the “painted on” appearance other apps create. They praised the realistic look and the precise virtual application. Online shoppers especially like the app, saying it saved them money because they would only buy products they knew would look good on them.

So perhaps the takeaway for beauty brands considering an augmented reality app is to create something with unbelievable precision and natural finish, or bag the experiment altogether.

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