French cosmetic giant L’Oréal has acquired 100 percent of Canada’s ModiFace, a beauty tech company renowned for its augmented reality and artificial intelligence apps.
The acquisition, L’Oréal’s first tech purchase since it was founded in 1909, is part of its digital acceleration strategy to provide its 34 international brands “with the most innovative technologies”.
Founded by Parham Aarabi 11years ago in Toronto, ModiFace has developed 3D virtual make-up, colour and skin diagnosis technologies which are now used by “nearly all the major beauty brands” including Sephora, Benefit and Estée Lauder.
For example, most of the current apps enable customers to try on beauty products such as lipstick or eye shadow on their phones, online or in-store augmented reality mirrors before making a purchase.
L’Oréal chief digital officer Lubomira Rochet said the company was thrilled to welcome ModiFace to “become the heart of our [L’Oréal] digital services R&D”.
“With its world-class team, technologies and sustained track record in terms of beauty tech innovations, ModiFace will support the reinvention of the beauty experience around innovative services to help our customers discover, try and choose products and brands.
“We at L’Oréal and ModiFace want to pioneer this new page of the beauty industry and serve our customers with innovative services and experiences.”
Aarabi said L’Oréal’s acquisition of his start-up “provides an incredible opportunity to innovate on beauty augmented reality (AR) and artifical intelligence (AI) at an unprecedented scale… which will shape the beauty industry for the decades to come”.
ModiFace will be part of L’Oréal’s Digital Services Factory, a dedicated network to design and develop new digital services for the group’s brands.
The company will however remain based in Toronto close to the University of Toronto where it has established many research partnerships
Although Modiface is L’Oreal’s first tech aquisition, the company launched the Makeup Genius app (which has been downloaded more than 20 million times) in 2014 and customised a ModiFace app to create Style My Hair for customers to virtually try on different hair styles and colours in January.