Cosmetics retailer Sephora adds to its mobile app augmented reality feature to allow shoppers to virtually try on eye shadow.

The Sephora Virtual Artist can now make over mobile users with eye shadow.

Sephora USA Inc., No. 129 Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, announced this week that its iOS app feature called “Virtual Artist” now allows consumers to try on thousands of eye shadows in addition to the lipsticks and false eyelashes that were already available in the app.

Here’s how it works: A consumer either takes a picture of herself, uploads a photo, or accesses the camera feature on her smartphone in the app. The app identifies the location and shape of her eyes. From there, she can select up to three shades to place on the lid, crease and outer corner of her eye. She can swap out the shades to find her favorite look. If she is in camera mode, the consumer can move her face and the color will move with her like a mirror. A shopper can save an image of her favorite eye shadow combinations in the “My Looks” tab and then send those images to friends for feedback.

The eye shadow addition to the app comes after a year of successfully deploying virtual lipstick and eyelash try-on features. Since Sephora’s Virtual Artist launched in January 2016, consumers have tried on hundreds of millions of shade combinations, says Bridget Dolan, vice president of innovation at Sephora.

Plus, consumers have “favorited” 2.2 million SKUs and shared their looks 110,000 times from January 2016 through October 2016, Mary Beth Laughton, vice president of digital told Internet Retailer when the publication included Sephora in the 2017 Hot 100. On average, consumers try on 50 products per time in the app, she says.


“Client feedback has surpassed even our expectations,” Laughton says. “As beauty junkies, our internal team knew it was fun and engaging, but the client response is incredible.”

Sephora also added an experts looks and a tutorial feature with its app update. Expert Looks allows a consumer to choose between seven on-trend looks created by Sephora’s makeup artist experts, such as Smoky Eye, and have that look overlaid on her face.

Virtual Artist Tutorials allows a shopper to select a look or technique, such as contouring, and see it applied step-by-step to her face. The app splits the screen so a consumer can see her face with and without the look. At the end of the tutorial, the app lists product recommendations so she can do the look at home. That feature may prove popular as 67% of millennial women said they are more likely to buy makeup if it comes with a tutorial for how to create popular looks, according to a survey of 175 women ages 18-35 conducted by cosmetic market research company Poshly Inc. in October.

Overall, the retailer aims for Sephora Virtual Artist to make beauty shopping faster, more intuitive and more fun, Laughton says. Virtual Artist achieves this because the feature speeds up the time and expense of finding the right color, and leads to sales, Laughton says without sharing specific details. 78% of millennial women said they are more inclined to purchase a makeup product online if they could virtually see what it looks like on their face before purchasing, according to the Poshly study.